Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
Thank you for your continuous cooperation and support for the further development of WKO. I hope that you were able to carry out your activities smoothly in January, the first month of 2022, a year full of hope. In Japan, although the weather is still quite cold, according to the calendar, February 4th will mark the beginning of the spring season, and with the blossoming of the plum trees, the weather will gradually become warm, and we will start to feel the coming of spring.
As WKO, we started our activities for the year with the Kagami Biraki training on January 9th. Since the training for last year was canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis, it had been 2 years since our last event. Approximately 220 members gathered at Gokokuji Temple, where Sosai Oyama rests in peace, and under the clear blue skies, and with our minds and bodies covered in our pure white dogis, we carried out Kihon with Kiai, and demonstrated our appreciation towards Sosai Oyama with special demonstrations. It was a great pleasure, especially in this COVID-19 crisis, where various activities are restricted, to gather at this sacred place with important comrades, and in the cold and strong wind, with the mind free, carry out Tsuki and Keri with Kiai.
The coexistence with COVID-19, which has continued for almost 2 years, has forced the postponement or cancelation of many international tournaments. The 1st World Championship, the global flagship of Full Contact Karate, was also decided to be canceled. For the 7th World Championship in Weight Categories, which we are planning to hold this September in Poland, I would like to realize this event by all means. Despite the various restrictions, it is important to move WKO forward, by holding selection tournaments in each region. I believe that WKO Poland, the host country for the event, is shouldering a heavy burden with the preparation work. Let us join hands, and overcome each issue and task, one by one, in order to realize this tournament. Although I have not been able to meet with the Branch Chiefs and Contacts around the world for almost 2 years, I am sincerely looking forward to the day when we will be able to happily reunite, after overcoming the global problems.
In the Full Contact Karate world, Japan led the movement by founding the Japan Fullcontact Karate Organization, and as the foundation of the international federation, various activities have been carried out. With the holding of the national championship 6 times, and the international championship in 2018, many groups and organizations have come together, giving shape to the united front. In March 2022, the 1st All Japan Youth Fullcontact Karate Championship will be held in Tokyo, at the Yoyogi National Stadium First Gymnasium. In this tournament, despite the COVID-19 crisis, 1,277 competitors from young children to high school students will participate, and in 58 categories divided by age, gender, and weight, they will compete to become the winner of the national championship at the highest level. Approximately half of the competitors are from WKO Japan.
I wish for them to represent WKO with honor and fight fairly until the end, and through a friendly rivalry with the strong competitors of various Full Contact Karate groups, demonstrate the greatness of Full Contact Karate to society, and also present the need for a glorious stage, through the inclusion of the competition into the Olympic Games. The formation of the united front, will become the foundation of this great dream for the future. I would like for the various regions in the world, to take the activities in Japan as an example, and build up the momentum towards the united front. On the other hand, in this trend of diversity, it is important for WKO, not to get caught up or swallowed in this movement, and maintain a strong color of individuality. To cherish the ideas and uniqueness of the instructors around the world, and by gathering and piling them together, let us further develop a wonderful organization.
For the students that train Full Contact Karate around the world, I would like for you to continue your trainings as much as possible, in the environment that is presented to you, regardless of the difficulties and restrictions you are faced with. I believe that you made the decision to join the dojo, with the intention to change yourself in a good way. The trainings are not always fun, and can be hard and tough at times. When faced with such difficulty, it is important not to worry, and simply go to the dojo, to meet your Shihan and comrades. With this one step, you will be able to find a new side to yourself, and I sincerely believe and hope that you will become victorious in life. On the other hand, it is important for the instructors to accept such feelings of the student, and guide them so that they can overcome the hard and tough trainings with happiness and enjoyment. The instructor full of passion, and a dojo full of smiles, and the collection and gathering of these, will become the individuality of WKO. Let us continue our efforts and movement forward, so that as an organization, we can have the strength to change all forms of suffering into happiness.