Spain, December 22nd 2021,
Dear KWF members, Shihan, Senseis, Senpais and all other Kyokushin friends,
We have come to the end of a year with harsh conditions. A year in which we had hoped that the COVID pandemic would come to an end. But nothing could be further from the truth. The opposite is happening. Many countries face the fourth wave of infections and are in lockdown again. People are still suffering, facing setbacks and personal loss, sometimes even losing loved ones because of this pandemic.
Following the martial way, is like scaling a cliff, continuing upwards without rest. It demands absolute and unfaltering devotion to the task athand.1 – Sosai Masutatsu Oyama
This second motto of Sosai Oyama says it all, to follow the Kyokushin way we must not give in, and we must persevere in our struggle against COVID. We cannot allow this elusive enemy to break our will to continue our quest on the path of Kyokushin.
Right now, it is important to ensure that we are not only physically healthy but also mentally and spiritually fit. Right now, we need to be aware of the strong connection between Zen and Kyokushin. As Sosai stated in This is Karate, “Karate is Zen. Without Zen, karate is nothing more than dancing2.” By pursuing a state of mushin or nothingness as Sosai refers to this3, we can banish all unwanted thoughts and distractions from our minds and throw ourselves fully into our Kyokushin. Only then we will overcome this difficult period and be ready for the future where COVID no longer defines our lives.
Once again, this year we were faced with losing another one of the founding fathers of contemporary Kyokushin. During my trip to the summer camp in Varna, I received the sad news of the passing of Hanshi Steve Arneil. Hanshi Arneil and I met in the early years of Kyokushin in the 1960s. Since then, we have made many memories on different occasions all over the world. I loved working with him and cherish the moments we had together. He will be missed.
Fortunately, there have also been good moments in this last year. You all have shown that we are not to be taken for one ride, and where the situation allowed, we held camps and tournaments. There have been exams all over the world during camps for higher grades. At the camps I attended, I found enthusiastic people who were happy that we could do Kyokushin.
Besides that, we have been able to organize two large and important championships: the European Championship and the World Championship, both in Poland. In this way, KWF has shown that we continue in the spirit of Sosai Oyama. In a responsible way we have done what we do best: Kyokushin. We could never have realized this without your enthusiasm, help and participation. Also, I want to pay my respects to all the participants. Despite all the limitations they were well prepared and therefore the quality of both championships was very high.
Last year we made a start with several reforms within the KWF. We have new statutes, and the headquarters of the organization is now centralized in Spain. This has many advantages and makes regulations and financial matters easier and more transparent. This will also make the KWF stronger and future-proof.
When we founded the KWF ten years ago in 2011, our ambition was to practice Kyokushin as Sosai Oyama intended and build a strong organization. In the last two difficult years, we have shown that we succeeded in that. We are an organization with a strong mutual bond. Karateka from all over the world are working, training and fighting together, to make Kyokushin bigger. Together we must walk the path of the warrior, work hard and not let us be distracted by additional issues such as money and power, degrees, profit and loss. As Sosai stated in his 8th motto:
The nature and purpose of the Martial Way is universal. All selfish desires should be roasted in the tempering fires of hard training.4 – Sosai Masutatsu Oyama
Together we live the Kyokushin life. Teaching Kyokushin all over the world, aiming to make the world a more beautiful place and making people stronger and happier in life through Kyokushin. That is what we stand for and it makes me proud to see you all working together to fulfill Sosai’s dream.
I want to thank you all for your good work and your loyalty, and I look forward working with you in the next year and meeting you soon in good health.
I wish you all happy holidays and a new year full of prosperity, health, and happiness.
1 Masutatsu Oyama, 2nd motto of eleven mottos of Mas. Oyama
2 Masutatsu Oyama, This is Karate, Revised edition 1978, 23 §1-2, 320
3 Ibid, §1
4 Masutatsu Oyama, 8th motto of eleven mottos of Mas. Oyama