Very little was known in Malta about the traditional Japanese martial arts, let alone about Karate-Do.
The first lessons of karate (Wado-ryu) were given by the servicemen of the 41st HM Commando Group, held in Hamrun Band Club.
The classes then moved to Birkirkara’s Prince Cinema in Valley road. The Wado-ryu instructors of the newly made Prince Sports Centre Birkirkara, primarily managed by Mr.Henry Rota, were the servicemen Pvt.Edge Cutler and Sgt. Smith. Along the years, Karate classes also evolved to another location – St.Andrews military gymnasium. Both Judo and Wado-ryu Karate were taught. The Judo lessons were conducted by the members of the Malta Judo Association whilst Karate lessons where still under the instruction of Pvt.Edge Cutler and Sgt. Smith.
The UK military forces left Malta and Karate classes were taken over by Mr. Paul Mifsud, 1st Dan Black Belt in Wado-ryu . Those who lived back in these days may remember another name – Mr. Abraham Mendez, 3rd Dan Karate-Do and Judo, who helped a great deal in the teaching process to the local enthusiasts.
The club in Birkirkara was closed and the sportsmen led by Mr. Paul Mifsud continued their Karate training in Paola.
14th February 1979 – the Maltese Karate Association was created, with their first nominated President Mr. Envic Galea, who is currently acting as General Secretary of the Malta Judo Association. An interesting fact is that, similarly to the origins of Karate-Do, where the Judo master Sensei Jigoro Kano had helped Sensei Gichin Funakoshi to introduce Karate-Do in Japan, the Maltese Karate Association was created with the colaboration of the Malta Judo Association.
The first members of Malta Karate Association Committee were Mr. Envic Galea, Mr. Ino Grech, Mr. John Tonna, Mr. Paul Wright and Mr. Adriano Santacesarea.
The Karate-Do style of preference on the islands was shifted from Wado-Ryu to Shotokan. The first lessons in Shotokan Karate were held at the Mtarfa Military Barracks under the tuition of 6th Dan Japan Karate Association Sensei Katsutaro Takahashi . The first Maltese Black belts were graded – Mr.Paul Attard, Mr.Ino Grech, Mr.John Tonna, Mr.Paul Wright and Mr.Adriano Santacesarea
1984 – 1995
A new Sensei Colin Williams, then 5th Dan in Shotokan, took over as the new chief Shotokan Karate instructor. He visited Malta every season holding tuition and examinations, as well as continued to grade more Maltese 1st Dans in 1984. In addition to Mtarfa Dojo other branches were opened: Naxxar, Paola and Msida clubs.
Grading of the first Maltese 2nd dans – Mr. John Abela, Mr. Jesmond Schembri, Mr. John Aquilina and Mr. Mark Micallef.
Birkirkara Karate Club was founded.
TO DATE – Sensei Santo Torre, then 6th Dan Shotokan Karate master, (now 8th Dan), eventually took over as an international consultant to Malta, and maintains this post today.
The Malta Karate Association was transformed into the Malta Karate Federation. The first Committee members of MALTA KARATE FEDERATION were: Mr. Anthony Zammit as president, Dr. Frank Vella Bardon, Mr. James Galea, Mr. Richard Despott, Mr. Lino Debone and Mr. John Gonzi. The First Technical Board: Anthony Zammit as Director, and members – Mr. James Galea, Mr. Richard Despott and Mr. Jason Edwards.
The classes in Mtarfa club were ceased and the athletes moved to B’Kara Karate Club
the MKF got accepted as a full member of Malta Olympic Committee (IOC). The same year the International Olympic Committee recognized the World Karate Federation (ex WUKO) as the organization representing Karate-Do worldwide within the IOC.
MALTA KARATE FEDERATION athletes participated in the WKF World Championship for the first time.