WKF Structure

WKF mourns passing of Karate icon Rob Zwartjes

2021-12-15

WKF mourns passing of Karate icon Rob Zwartjes

The World Karate Federation is deeply saddened to learn the passing of Mr Rob Zwartjes.

A pioneer of Karate in the Netherlands and one of the most respected Karate masters in the world, Rob Zwartjes passed away Tuesday at the age of 89.

Mr Zwartjes devoted his life to martial arts and was recognised with WKF’s highest rank of the 9th Dan at the 2010 WKF World Congress in Belgrade.

He introduced the style of Wado-Ryu in the Netherlands after studying the discipline under Wado-Ryu’s founder Grandmaster Hironori Ohtsuka. He is regarded as one of the main figures in the development of Karate in Europe.

Member of the Technical Commission of the World Karate Federation and the European Karate Federation among many other top responsibilities, Mr Zwartjes won the world title in team Kumite at the 1977 World Championships in Tokyo.

He acted as the national coach of the Dutch team from 1971 to 1980 before moving to advisory and teaching positions. His experience, vast knowledge of the sport, and his geniality made him a pivotal personality of the sport in the Netherlands.  

The global Karate Family will forever remember Mr Zwartjes’ boundless energy, sharp mind, and passion for Karate.

WKF and EKF President Antonio Espinós said:

“The passing of Shihan Rob Zwartjes represents an irreparable loss for the whole Karate community. He was one of the greatest icons of the sport and his enthusiasm, brilliance, and devotion to developing the sport in the Netherlands and beyond will forever be missed.   

“The WKF and the EKF join the Dutch Karate Federation in extending their deepest condolences to Mr Zwartjes’ family and friends at this difficult time.”