Thank you for your daily efforts to further develop and promote WKO. It is now spring in Japan, and we are in the middle of the cherry blossom season. In Tokyo, where the WKO Headquarters is located, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and the pink color of the cherry blossoms give us peace in our mind, and the feeling of a new beginning. I hope you are all doing well in your country and region.
WKO is starting to move towards the next World Championship in Weight Categories that will be held next year in Kazakhstan. The 3rd All Japan Fullcontact Karate Championship scheduled for May 21-22 will be the first selection tournament for the Japan National Team, and the fierce battle to reach the world No.1 in weight categories will kick off across the world. All of the competitors participating in the selection tournaments have a chance to become the World Champion. I wish for all to have strong resolve, and a clear image of yourself winning the selection tournament, participating in the World Championship and winning your category. I also wish to add that such strong determination needs to be backed by action. Yes, the need to continue and pursue hard training. Competitors will need to make use of each day, and overcome the challenge of going through the hardest training in the world. Do not give up even in the most severe circumstances, and the perseverance of such hard work and strong resolve will lead to further growth and development. The fierce battle between such Karateka, with strong hearts and minds to become the world No.1, will touch the hearts of the spectators. I have great expectations towards your hard work, and I wish you the best in your preparations and training.
The Karate Dream Festival 2016 International Championship is also scheduled for August 6-7. Until now, this tournament was for all members practicing Karate, in which categories were divided into age, gender, weight, events (Kata/Kumite), and especially intended for advanced competitors, but from this year, in addition to the categories from the previous event, we have decided to introduce the Rookie Category, which will be for beginner/intermediate level competitors. The details of the event, including the change of name (formerly known as Dream Cup), will be announced to all concerned at the appropriate timing. Since the tournament this year will be open to overseas members, a midsummer karate festival for all Karateka will be realized, and the number of participants may surpass 2000, making it a mega tournament. I will be looking forward to the participation of many competitors from various countries across the world.
Lastly, a dojo was recently established in Macau, making it the 93rd affiliated country and area for WKO. The Asia Region is recently very active, and this is a great development. I am also happy to receive an observation report of Guam, which joined WKO in 2013, in which they seem to be carrying out their activities very passionately. Let us continue our efforts, so that we can reach our goal of 100 affiliated countries/areas.
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