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Message from WKO President ( October & November 2020 )


Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,

Thank you for your cooperation for the further development of WKO. Japan is in the middle of autumn, a beautiful season highlighted by the autumn leaves. I hope that you are all doing fine in your country and region. As in the saying that a sound mind is found in a sound body, I trust that even in this prolonged situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), you are actively continuing your training, and that you are enjoying each fruitful day in good health.

With the varying levels of COVID-19 infection around the world, I believe that social and economic activities are being carried out, based on the idea to coexist with COVID-19, while following the guidelines of each country and local governments to prevent infection, and by implementing creative and original ideas from the private sector. It is apparent that different measures are being taken in the world, with some regions actively organizing tournaments, while other regions are left with no choice but to close their dojos, due to the serious concerns toward the further escalation of the infection. Even if the situation in each region is different, the world is united in this battle against COVID-19. Despite the distance between us, we should always keep in mind our special bond, and with our hearts connected, let us continue our movement forward.

In Japan, the 52nd All Japan Open Karate Championship that will be held on November 21-22 is quickly approaching, and with our announcement of the tournament draw several days ago, the battle to decide the open weight No. 1 for Karate in Japan has started. Organizing a tournament during this COVID-19 crisis will require measures against various difficulties. Analyzing the present and projected COVID-19 infection levels. The coexistence and confirmation of infection prevention and competition safety. The gathering of necessary information in society and the flexibility to make adjustments depending on the situation. After repeated consideration and preparation, we were able to overcome numerous difficulties, and realize the organization of this tournament. The effort, desire, and motivation of the competitors, who continued their training despite the COVID-19 crisis, and the affection and friendship of the comrades, who have supported them. I wish to acknowledge such purity, scoop it up, and pursue what can be realized. This tournament will be organized for the competitors at the highest level, who are in need of a championship at the highest level.

This tournament was announced in August. In consideration of the difficulty in predicting the infection level during the autumn/winter season, the decision was made to hold it without spectators and organize pay-per-view live streaming to minimize the risk of cancelation, and efforts were made to make the announcement at an early timing. This was due to the strong will to eliminate any anxiety by the competitors toward the cancelation or postponement of the tournament, allow them the maximum time to prepare and train, and also provide the Full Contact Karate world with energy and a sense of hope. I have heard that in rural areas, there is still a high level of caution towards COVID-19, and that some competitors, despite their will to participate, could not do so due to the policy of their company or school. With the feelings of such competitors in our hearts, we will do our best to organize a successful tournament. I also wish to report that despite the COVID-19 crisis, we were able to receive strong and warm sponsorships from many companies and organizations, and I would like to express my sincere appreciation towards the kind support. Thank you very much.

As Branch Chiefs and Contacts of WKO, we are united by the responsibility and strong resolve we share as the leading figure in the Full Contact Karate world, and the continuous pursuit of our principle to master our mind. Many non-WKO competitors will be participating in this tournament. I expect that they will participate in the tournament with confidence in their preparation, and with strong determination, represent their organization with honor. I would like to express my appreciation towards the participation of the non-WKO competitors, and I will be looking forward to seeing their strong efforts at the tournament. It has been 1 year since the 12th World Open Karate Championship, which was won by Yuji Shimamoto and Juri Minamihara. It is said that unexpected developments occur at the tournament after the world championship, but this is due to the regeneration within WKO, which has the world championship held every 4 years as its core of activities. For the WKO Japan Region competitors, I expect you to demonstrate your strong desire and motivation towards victory, even more than past tournaments, and with a sense of appreciation towards the people supporting the event, do your best to defend the title for both men and women. For all competitors, I hope that you will make use of each moment of each day and leave no regrets in your training, and prepare yourself in the best condition for tournament day.

Lastly, this tournament will be organized in a pay-per-view live streaming format. I believe that the performance of the competitors at the All Japan, viewed by the comrades around the world, and the comrades of all generations, including children and seniors, will energize the Full Contact Karate world. The relevant details, such as the platform for the live streaming, will be announced as soon as they are finalized. I would like to request for your viewing of the tournament, and your encouragement and kind support towards the competitors.

Kenji Midori
WKO President