Date: September 16-19, 2016
Venue: uMlazi Indoor Spots Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
Organizer/Host: WKO Africa Region President Isaac Mashinini and WKO South Africa
The tournament held on September 17 was successful, with a total of 62 fighters from five countries (South Africa, DRC, Tunisia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) registered for the tournament. However, only 39 fighters from three countries (South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) participated on the day of the tournament. Unfortunately, three countries were unable to attend the tournament and have sent their apologies (DRC, Tunisia and Mauritius). The tournament was the WKO Africa Region final team selection for the 6th World Karate Championship in Weight Categories in 2017. The tournament was followed by a seminar and 4th Dan grading examination. Other non-WKO organizations that participated in this tournament included the So-Kyokushin Union of Zimbabwe, IKO Matsushima and IKO Kyokushinkaikan.
The referee seminar held on September 16, prior to the tournament, played a great role in improving the refereeing standards at the tournament. The referee seminar was led by Shihan Fujihara and Sensei Tsukamoto with the assistance of Shihan Mashinini, and covered various aspects, such as different fouls, commands by referees, overall alertness, and etc. Special feedback was also given after the tournament, on areas that needed further improvement.
Shihan Mashinini extended his gratitude to all the countries, fighters, spectators, WKO Japan delegation shihan Yasuharu Fujihara and Sensei Norichika Tsukamoto, branch chiefs and the tournament sponsor Sensei Seun “Puncho” Chauke for their support without which the tournament would not have been successful. Shihan Mashinini also gave special awards to WKO South Africa members to show acknowledgement to their contributions towards the development and growth of WKO in South Africa. Shihan Mashinini further congratulated all the fighters and the winners for their hard work in the preparation for this prestigious event. He encouraged all fighters to continue practicing and training hard in order to improve their standards and in preparation for the 6th World Karate Championship in Weight Categories in 2017.
A seminar was held on September 18, led by Shihan Fujihara and Sensei Fujihara, and assisted by Shihan Mashinini. Shihan Fujihara trained the examinees mainly in Kata to prepare them for the 4th Dan exam on the next day, and Sensei Tsukamoto taught Kumite techniques to the other participants. A total of 48 black belts participated in the seminar.
The grading exam was held on September 19, with 6 out of the 11 candidates passing the final Kumite exam. That being said, Shihan Fujihara, who had visited South Africa in 2008, praised the improvement over the years, and with Shihan Mashinini, encouraged those who did not pass the exam, to continue their efforts so that they would be able to pass the exam next time.