Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
Time flies quickly, and it is already 1 month into the year. In Japan, we are still in the cold winter, but we also feel the warm welcome being prepared for the Olympics in the summer. Although the competition and event may be different, the scenes in various media, of the athletes doing their best to prepare for the world’s highest stage, touch my heart very much. I sincerely wish for them to leave no regrets in their preparation, and challenge for their dream in their best condition. As for our Full Contact Karate, with the holding of the 1st World Fullcontact Karate Championship on May 30-31, we would like to widely promote to the world, the presence and world standard of the competition, and the great performance of the competitors.
As a part of the new year events, we held the annual Kagami Biraki training at the Gokokuji Temple where Sosai Oyama rests in peace, on January 12. More than 300 members, including the Japan Region Branch Chiefs/Contacts and the All Japan National Team members, took part in the training in respect of Sosai Oyama, the founder of Full Contact and Kyokushin. By starting our year with this training, we are able to clear our minds, and return back to our origin, which we should never forget. We sent our Kiai to Sosai in heaven, prayed silently in front of his grave, and promised our continuous efforts throughout the year.
I attended the 1st European Fullcontact Karate Championship that was held in Belgium on January 18-19. I wish to express my sincere respect towards the organizers, Shihan Koen Spitaels, Shihan Martin Michel, and all of the related people. I am also glad that the selection tournament for the above-mentioned World Championship was prepared and organized in cooperation with the other organizations in the region. “Tournaments create organizations, and develop people”. Based on this idea, we promoted the building of the world organization, in parallel with the preparation for the World Championship, and it is good to see this materialize in Europe. This is due to the long-term effort and patience by the WKO Europe Region and EKO Board Members that led the overall project and tackled various difficult issues in cooperation with the WKO and non-WKO members, and I sincerely appreciate their great work. During the tournament, we were able to have meals and meetings with the non-WKO members in the Europe Region, and it was good to see them encourage their competitors. I believe that the exchange between Full Contact Karate groups in Europe will accelerate, and I will be looking forward to seeing a strong and united Europe team at Osaka in May. In addition, I received a report that Russia established a Full Contact Karate organization in December 2019, and that the competitors representing the region have been selected at the 1st unified tournament. I would like to express my sincere appreciation towards the steady activities and promotion in the regions around the world.
The trend to standardize Full Contact Karate in the world will gain momentum in 2020. The 1st WFKO Board Meeting will be held at the opportunity of the tournament in May, and WFKO will mark its official founding. In such times of change, we need to be careful in determining what we need to adapt to, and what we need to maintain, so that we can move forward on our ideal path. The above-mentioned origin. We need to maintain a strong WKO identity in our hearts and minds. Being the strongest, increases the presence in the Full Contact Karate world, and enables further development as a great organization. Our main policies of nurturing youth, social contribution, and international exchange, are supported by our strength. Such strength is built and guided by the leadership and teachings of the instructors around the world. As we expect our competitors to make use of each moment of each day and train very hard, we need to be passionate and have strong resolve in our teachings, even more than the competitors expect from us.
I sincerely hope for the great performance of the WKO competitors around the world at the World Fullcontact Karate Championship in May.