Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
Thank you for your support for the further development of WKO. In Tokyo, after the end of the rainy season, which was longer than usual, we experienced an abnormal heat wave which continued until the end of August. I hope that you are all doing fine in your country and region.
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) still affecting various factors worldwide, I believe that we are carrying out our activities, especially competitions and trainings, while focusing on preventive measures to avoid infection. Through social media, I am able to follow the activities being carried out in the world, based on the appropriate preventive measures that fit the infection status of the country and region. The photos and videos of the WKO members training hard, gives me courage and energy.
The duel in budo is a one-on-one battle, in a life and death situation. By forming rules in the battle and competing with each other, skills and techniques were developed and polished at a rapid pace. To become stronger, quicker, and more skillful. Even in this difficult time with COVID-19, I would like for everyone to have a positive mindset, and in the limited conditions, do what you can to train and polish yourselves. Through such process, I believe that you will evolve into a new self that can face the challenges of the post COVID-19 world.
The other day, I was invited to participate in my second EKO online meeting, and this time, I attended the meeting with Yuji Shimamoto, who manages his own dojo now. In the beginning, we shared reports of our current situation, and then confirmed the current status and plans for the postponed 1st WFKO World Championship and 7th World Karate Championship in Weight Categories. Even when we were far apart, I felt connected with my important friends, and my heart was filled with happiness and relief. Thank you for the kind invitation.
As WKO Japan, we will organize the 52nd All Japan Open Karate Championship on November 21-22 in Tokyo. The decision to organize this event was made for the competitors who continued their training despite the COVID-19 related difficulties, and the strong wish to prepare an opportunity and stage for them. This tournament will be held without spectators for the first time in history, and will be organized under strict conditions to prevent infection. In the upcoming preparation work, I believe that there will be various organizational restraints, which may be a burden on the competitors and related people, and may cause a sense of discomfort, but I request for your kind understanding and support. Due to such factors, this tournament will need to be prepared with great teamwork by the related people, even more than past events. This year, many Full Contact Karate tournaments were canceled and postponed. This tournament is open to not only WKO Japan, but all organizations and groups, so it would be best if many competitors can make good use of this national competition held at the highest level.
On the other hand, we will not be holding the Dream Festival for this year. Please understand that this judgement was unavoidable, and was made with great regret. Various factors were considered in the decision-making process, such as the large number of junior competitors, the long preparation period that is necessary, the difficulty in predicting the infection rate during the autumn/winter season, the difference in the approach and mindset towards COVID-19 depending on the prefecture, and the sense of caution towards the transportation to city areas, and it was important to announce this information at an early stage. I feel very bad for the competitors who had this tournament as their goal for this year, but I wish for your understanding towards this extremely difficult situation, and that you will change your mindset to further develop yourself for the next tournament.
Lastly, the modern society we live in is full of uncertain elements. With the advancement of social media in the world, our eyes and hands are overwhelmed with information. Through our continuous training, let us establish an unwavering mind and self, and enjoy our one and only life as victors.