We are now reaching the end of the year, and I am sure that all of you are quite busy. When looking back at the main events of WKO this year, the great success of the 5th Karate World Cup in Lithuania, and the establishment of the Japan Fullcontact Karate Organization, a worldwide plan from Japan for the inclusion of Karate in the Olympic Games, come to mind. I believe this was a year where we were able to make a big step forward as an organization. Also, there were notable trends in world sports, such as the fact that although Karate was not included in the 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo was decided as the host country for the great event. I hope 2013 was a good year for you too.
I recently visited the Pakistan Branch as my last overseas trip for this year, and in addition to training with everyone, I observed the national tournament. Although my arrival in Pakistan was late at night, I was greeted at the airport by many students and related people, and I very much appreciated this kind gesture. Everyone seemed to love Karate and training. The competition level was quite high as well. As for the tournament, the Full Contact organization of the country, led by Branch Chief Arshad Jan, is established and active, and there were many participants from other Kyokushin factions. Although short, it was a very fruitful visit. I am looking forward to the further development of the Pakistan Branch, and I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the kind hospitality and warm welcome during my visit.
2014 will be the 50th anniversary of the founding of Kyokushinkaikan, and the 20th anniversary of the death of Sosai Oyama. To mark this memorable year, the 1st All Japan Fullcontact Karate Championship (May, in Osaka) will be held, as part of the activities for the “Inclusion of Karate in the Olympic Games”. To unify the competition, with the skills and techniques of each organization as a strong foundation. To firmly establish Full Contact Karate as a competition and achieve international recognition, so that one day, Karate, especially Full Contact Karate, can make the next step and become an Olympic Sport. This is my dream.
Lastly, I would like to express my deep appreciation and respect to the continuous efforts of the Branch Chiefs and Contacts worldwide. The Branch Chief system, a strategy established by Sosai Oyama to enlarge and spread the organization, is still functioning effectively. The current number of affiliated countries is 86. We are gradually coming close to our dream of reaching 100 affiliated countries. To respect the individuality of Branch Chiefs, and for each of them to continue their activities in their respective region, based on economic independence. I imagine that behind these steady activities, there were hard times and distress, that cannot be described in words. Since such strong individuals unite under bond and trust, a strong organization full of originality and uniqueness is formed. Such an organization, is full of potential for future development and growth, and does not fall apart, for each and every one of us is strong. As I have repeated in the past, WKO does not belong to one person, but is an organization built by all of us. In 2014, we Kyokushin Karate-ka need to take a look at ourselves beyond the borders of organizations, and take steps toward a further future. Although it has been 20 years since Sosai Oyama passed away, Kyokushin is one. We have indeed split in different organizations, but during all this time, I firmly believe that we shared the same heart. In order to return to the day where all of us laughed together, I would like for all of us to do what we can, each day, and each moment. I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.
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