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Message from WKO President (September & October 2021)

Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts, Thank you for your continuous cooperation and understanding of the activities of WKO. Due to the prolonged COVID-19 crisis, we need to follow and respect various restrictions in our daily lives,

Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
Thank you for your continuous cooperation and understanding of the activities of WKO. Due to the prolonged COVID-19 crisis, we need to follow and respect various restrictions in our daily lives, but I hope that you are doing well in your country and region. In Tokyo, we have entered September, and the temperature is just about right, not too cold, and not too hot, despite the days of long rain that have continued in this autumn weather.

In Japan, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have come to an end on September 5. Although the start of the Olympics synchronized with the sharp increase of infections in Tokyo due to the new variant, the series of events were carried out without any serious problems, thanks to the efforts of the volunteer staff and related people, and I would like to express my sincere respect towards their work, and my sense of appreciation towards the patience of the medical workers who are supporting this infection expansion period. I was deeply moved by the performance of the athletes, who believed in their mission and participated in the competitions, while diverse ideas and values blend and mix in this time to coexist with COVID-19. The hardship, the battle within them, and the efforts that they continued until that day, that moment. For the athletes that took part in the event, thank you for your inspiration and great performance.

As WKO, we are also moving forward in this time to coexist with COVID-19. The Japan Region will be holding the traditional 53rd All Japan Open Karate Championship and the Karate Dream Festival 2021 in December. Since it will be the first time to hold these 2 big events at the same time, we will likely be faced with unexpected situations. However, in order to honor the continuous efforts by the competitors and the passion of the family members that support them even during this COVID-19 crisis, we would like to realize the holding of the events, based on the maximum infection prevention measures. I wish for the competitors to do their best to prepare themselves, and leave no regrets about their performance at the tournament. I believe that such activities in the Japan Region will encourage comrades around the world and that this is the mission of Japan, the mother country of Karate. For the organization of tournaments, there will always be rules to secure the safety of the participants. Especially for the events that will be held during the COVID-19 crisis, let us take extra care in following the rules, and in strong unity, support the successful organization of our important tournaments.

The 3rd EFKO Full Contact Karate Camp was held in Romania on August 19-22, and I received reports that it was organized with great success, with many participants enjoying the training and various activities. I would like to express my sincere appreciation towards the key members, led by the President of the Europe Region, Shihan Koen Scharrenberg, and the main organizers, Shihan Koen Spitaels and the Romania Branch, and the senior Shihans from various organizations that took part in the event as instructors. The Full Contact Karate world is building the united front, at a gentle and gradual pace, and in big waves. In Full Contact Karate, which has its origins in Kyokushin Karate, even if the group or organization is different, through training and the direct punches and kicks, the feelings are exchanged and connected. The smile and sweat during the training is our lubricating oil. I am glad to see the Europe Region moving towards solidarity with the steady organization of camps. With the standardization of our competition, realized by overcoming barriers and bringing groups and organizations together, the greatness of our Full Contact Karate will surely attract the wide recognition of the international sports community. Let us continue this path with perseverance.

The comrades around the world were saddened by the news of the passing of Shihan Furko Kalman (Hungary) and Shihan Piyaratne Muthukumarana (Sri Lanka) in August. Both Shihans followed the orders from the late Sosai Masutatsu Oyama and did their best to promote and spread Karate in their country. They contributed greatly to the organization. The sudden separation, during this COVID-19 crisis, when international travel is restricted worldwide, is very sad and unfortunate. When I think of them, I remember their gentle smile and kind eyes, more than their strictness. I sincerely hope that they are with Sosai Oyama in heaven, and enjoying the Karate that they love. Shihan Kalman, Shihan Muthukumarana, thank you very much. I wish to express my sincere condolences, and may their soul rest in peace.

When we turn our vision to the world, the various problems in the international community are reported to us through the media. The recent situation in Afghanistan appears to be serious. I have received reports that the daily lives of Branch Chief Abasin Shinwari, the Country Representative of Afghanistan, and his students are in danger. I sincerely hope that their safety will be secured.

Lastly, we will be entering the last phase of this year. Time is passing by so quickly. In this prolonged COVID-19 crisis, the state of mind tends to become introverted. Since we are Budoka, at any time, we will continue our training, and cultivate an unshakable self. With a healthy body, let us foster a healthy mind, and become a bright light for our surroundings and build a good circle of people.

Kenji Midori
WKO President