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Message from WKO President ( July 2015 )


Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,

First of all, I would like to start my message by expressing my appreciation to all of you for your warm support for our organization.
The competitors who will participate in the 11th World Championship, the highest level tournament in the Budo Karate world, will be decided very soon. Although we have recently focused the management of the organization on the inclusion of Full Contact Karate in the Olympic Games, if the ultimate stage for the sport aspect of Karate is the Olympic Games, then it can also be said that this World Championship, is the same for the Budo aspect of Karate, which acts as an opposite.

The exchange of direct attacks with bare hands and bare feet, polished and trained to the limit. This tournament, with the participation of strong competitors from all over the world, can be said to be the pride of WKO, and the symbol of our identity within the Full Contact Karate world. I would like for the competitors to train their mind, technique, and body to the limit, and gather at the grand stage to decide the world’s No. 1 in Budo Karate. In order to make this possible, I have high expectations for you to make use of each day, to put yourself through hard training, and polish yourself for this great event. In response to such efforts on your side, we will do our best to prepare a wonderful stage for you.

As I have mentioned earlier, the promotion of Full Contact Karate for the Olympic Games is steadily spreading across the world. In early June, I was invited and participated in the Full Contact Karate Camp co-organized by the Full Contact Karate Organization of Belgium and the Netherlands. It was a very significant camp, for there was a record setting 450 participants from Kyokushin and other groups. The unity of members, regardless of organizations, seemed to be what everyone was waiting for. The smiles on everyone’s face, showed such happiness. I was convinced that this movement will continue to grow, to various regions around the world. As an extension of such activities, I can clearly visualize the establishment of the International Federation (IF) for Full Contact Karate. During this camp, WKO events such as the celebration of the 6th Dan promotion of EKO President Koen Scharrenberg, and the EKO Grading Exam, were held and both events were very touching. Donatas Imbras and Muzaffer Bacak, both who have continued their hard training despite their retirement from competition, challenged for the exam, and with high Kumite skills, they both passed their test for 4th Dan. The motivation they demonstrated, as top level international competitors, to pursue lifetime training, was a great example and inspiration to Karateka around the world, and I would like to sincerely congratulate them on their achievement. In addition, the role played by EKO President Koen Scharrenberg is very important, and a heavy responsibility. Due to a long competition career, he has struggled with injuries. However, even in such situation, he attends and does the best he can in trainings. I believe that such approach is the reason for the strong support he has in Europe, a region with a long history and full of great competitors, and I would like to express my deep respect for his positive attitude. I have high expectations for his further success, as one of the important leaders of not only Europe, but of the entire world. I would like to take this opportunity to once again express my congratulations to him on his 6th Dan promotion. As a result of such activities, this meaningful camp was a great success for Full Contact Karate, and for WKO. I would like to express my appreciation to Shihan Koen Spitaels and Shihan Gilbert Cleveringa, who both did their best to prepare and organize this great camp.

Lastly, I just returned to Japan from Switzerland. Due to an invitation from Branch Chief Peter Steinmann, I observed the recent Swiss Open 2015. It was a high level tournament, due to the participation of Nazar Nasirov, the Russian ace, Vladimir Artyushin and Dmitriy Moisseyev, the strong fighters from Kazakhstan, and Andrius Draugelis from Lithuania. Nasirov and Artyushin, who faced each other in the Final of the Men Heavyweight Category, both overcame injuries and returned to competition. I was touched by their bout, for I was able to imagine the hard times they needed to overcome to return as a competitor. I have high expectations for their great performance, with their highly trained mind, technique, and body, at the upcoming World Championship. I would like to congratulate Nasirov (Heavyweight) and Moisseyev (Lightweight) on their victories. Shihan Steinmann worked very hard to organize this Swiss Open to a great success. I would like to congratulate him on the great success of this event, which has developed into a high class international tournament held in Europe during the early summer. I also wish to express my appreciation to the warm hospitality and welcome I received from Shihan Steinmann, my close friend, and other members of his branch, during my stay in Switzerland.

I was very much energized by our WKO Branch Chiefs during my overseas visits in June, due to their strong passion and hard effort towards our mission to make Full Contact Karate an Olympic Sport, and the main role they play in supporting the stage for worldwide compromise in the Full Contact Karate world.

Kenji Midori
WKO President