World Karate Report: Now is the time to strengthen the foundation of our WKO, to prepare for the inclusion of Karate in the Olympic Games.
Photographs & Report by WKO Executive Director Yasukazu Koi
After participating in the Spain Camp in April, President Midori observed the European Championship (Belgium) and Asian Championship (Kazakhstan) in June. His journey around the world has worked to further deepen the bond within WKO. In this report, I have organized the events held during the first half of this year.
This year, after the end of the busy period due to the last World Championship, WKO members in Japan have actively visited various events and camps around the world. Executive officials of WKO, including President Midori, attended the main selection tournaments for the World Cup in Lithuania scheduled next year. This spring, President Midori participated in the Spain Camp (held by Branch Chief Jesus Talan), and in June he attended the European Championship (in Belgium) and the Asian Championship (Kazakhstan). Shihan Jesus Talan is one of the top overseas teachers who continue their hard training, and recently he is carrying out his good technical training mainly in Europe. In Spain, there is a history in which Shihan Talan and Shihan Escalera have operated the national organization in cooperation, but recently their strong partnership does not work as smoothly as before. Therefore, the recent visit was a very good opportunity, in terms of development towards the realignment of the national organization.
The European Championship was held in Belgium, and President Midori, General Secretary Miyoshi, and Branch Chief Tsukamoto attended the event. Their visit was very successful, not only in terms of further deepening the friendship with the local executive officials, but also for analyzing the power and capability of the European competitors participating in next year’s World Cup. The elections for the EKO Board were held prior to the tournament, and Mr. Koen Scharrenberg was reelected as President of the Europe Region. In recent years, the relationship between Japan and Europe has been very strong with mutual trust, and Mr. Scharrenberg has played a large role in building this close partnership. This time too, after the tournament, both parties took off their neck ties and further deepened their friendship. At this opportunity, Branch Chief Tsukamoto, the champion of last year’s World Championship, seemed to have strengthened his friendship with the European WKO officials, and learned a lot about organizational matters, as one of the future leaders of the new generation who will powerfully support WKO.
The Asian Championship, the last visit during the first half of this year, was held in Kazakhstan. At the election last year, Shihan Sujoto of Indonesia was elected as the new representative of this Region. Thus this tournament was the first and biggest event under the new administration. Vice President Kobayashi was also a member of this mission, and he passionately held a referee training seminar to improve the judging skills of the region. In Asia, the partnership between South East Asia and Central Asia had not been smooth because of the difference in their ethnic characteristics and histories. Therefore, at past conferences and meetings in Asia, Japan often had to play the role of mediator to coordinate their ideas and suggestions. Mr. Sujoto, the new Regional Representative, succeeded in promoting reconciliation within the delicate Region with his strong leadership and faithful attitude. The Conference progressed quite successfully, and regional personnel matters such as Vice Presidents (Branch Chiefs Kairtay Sarmanov and Keiji Okumura) and Referee Committee Chairman (Branch Chief Medvedev) were decided. It was recognized that in order to realize 100 member countries in WKO in the near future, the further development and strengthening of the Asian Region is vital, and the Regional Conference also confirmed the democratic organizing ability of the Region.
Thus, such steady overseas visits by WKO officials are helping WKO grow into a strongly bonded democratic organization. To realize the “Inclusion of Karate in the Olympic Games”, the goal of our WKO, a quick and important decision will be required in the near future. For that purpose, now must be the time for us to strengthen the foundation of our organization.