First of all, I would like to express my deep appreciation to your sincere effort for the further development of WKO. In Japan, the mid-summer sun is shining brightly on us. I hope all of you are doing fine in your country and region, enjoying your daily training in great health.
As included in this Newsletter, I wish to report to you, the sudden passing of Branch Chief Wieslaw Gwizd (Poland), and I would like to express my deepest condolences to his family and WKO members in Poland. When I heard this sudden news in June, I was shocked and was in disbelief. I remember talking with Branch Chief Gwizd when he joined WKO, and we discussed our love for Karate and our dreams, and when I visited Poland, we trained together and I have many great memories with him. I still remember his pure love for Karate, his passion towards his students, and his kind heart to care for others. I can still see his smile when I close my eyes. Branch Chief Gwizd will always be in our hearts, in our road towards the future. May his soul rest in peace.
I had the opportunity to visit 3 countries, Canada, Kazakhstan, and East Timor, after the previous Newsletter.
In Canada, I attended the seminar organized by Branch Chief Camille Ohan, and enjoyed a Karate filled weekend, under the clear summer sky. Branch Chiefs from neighboring countries also attended the camp, and we were able to have a fruitful time together. I still remember the clear air, great nature, and the warmth of everyone. I have received reports that the Canadian Branch Chiefs are carrying out future-minded discussions in unity, with the goal to restructure the national organization, and I have great expectations for their future development.
In Kazakhstan, in addition to observing the annual Astana Cup, we confirmed the venue for the 6th World Karate Championship in Weight Categories scheduled for July 2017, and the current preparation work for the event. Facilities of high quality, such as the tournament venue, official hotel, and the seminar site were all secured, and the office staff that will prepare for the big event, were very capable members. I have high expectations that this big project led by Country Representative Kairtay Sarmanov, President Mukhamedzhanov of the national organization, and supported by the Branch Chiefs of Kazakhstan, will be a great success. Although further preparation work will be carried out in coordination with the WKO Headquarters in Tokyo, I would like to ask all Branch Chiefs and Contacts, for their kind cooperation and understanding towards the organizer, and to always have a sense of appreciation towards their hard work.
As you are all aware, our WKO is currently working to become an international organization with 100 affiliated countries and regions. We were recently blessed with an opportunity to hold meetings with government officials of East Timor (Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste), thanks to connections and support from our sponsor, and we discussed possibilities for future development of Full Contact Karate in East Timor. Shihan Sujoto, from neighboring country Indonesia, who is also the WKO Board Member for Asia, also participated in the meeting, and I wish to express my appreciation to his promise of future support for East Timor. We are getting close to our goal of 100 countries/regions. I will actively travel overseas and promote the affiliation of new countries/regions, and I would appreciate it if all of you can also make efforts to further spread WKO across the world. I wish to express my deep appreciation to the kind and warm hospitality I received in each country.
Lastly, the Karate Dream Festival 2016 International Championship that will be held soon in Japan, has developed into a mega tournament that will go down in history as the largest Full Contact Karate event in the world. Men and women of various generations will gather and participate in a total of 137 categories, divided by age, gender, weight, career, and events. 2,284 competitors from 22 countries and regions across the world, with a cumulative total of 2,557 participants, will compete to become the winner of each category. I would like for the competitors to do their best and leave no regrets in the tournament, and I also wish to express my deep appreciation and respect to all members related in the organization of the event. Let us join hands and organize the tournament in great success.
The fact that such mega tournament can be organized is due to the organizational capability of WKO. This organizational capability is built by the hard training and cooperation from our Branch Chiefs/Contacts and members across the world. Let us be proud that we are a part of WKO, the strongest and largest Budo organization in the world, and join hands to further develop our wonderful organization.