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World Karate Federation General Secretary OfficeNews Letter vol.20

Moved by the performance of the Japanese athletes

I attended the Karate1 Premier League- Paris 2016 held in Paris, which started on January 22nd (Fri). The first of 10 Karate1 Premier League tournaments scheduled in 2016, it turned out to be a splendid event, with over 900 athletes participating. The grand scale of the event, and the production which kept the audience enthralled, were thanks to the efforts of WKF Vice-President & Sport Commissioner Mr.Francis DIDIER and Chairman of French Karate Federation, Mr.Francis DIDIER. Not only is his management of the competition a testament to his directorial flair, but he is also a great lover of Japanese bushido who can talk for an hour about the movie The Last Samurai.

As for my impressions as a spectator, honestly, I forgot my position with the WKF, and simply felt proud to be Japanese.
The tension during the male kata final, Issei SHIMBABA vs. Ryo KIYUNA, and the female kata final, Kiyou SHIMIZU vs. Emiri IWAMOTO, was palpable, with the intense focus and great technical skill that went into the demonstrations capturing the audience’s attention.
Then the champion of the male kumite +84kg division, Ryutaro ARAGA, achieved a perfect victory, with other competitors unable to even come close to him, and at the Karate1 Premier League- Paris 2016, which is known for attracting veterans, I was touched to see the Japanese athletes displaying such skill in their matches.

Pre-Tokyo Olympics conference

Before the games, the WKF’s governing commissions, WKF Tokyo 2020 Planning Commission, WKF Kata Rules Commission, WKF Kumite Rules Commission, held a conference, where members from every country assembled.

I attended with WKF President Mr.Antonio ESPINÓS, but there was wide-ranging debate among each member commission concerning this year’s plans, particularly regarding the proposed match rules reform in anticipation of the Tokyo Olympics, the various events throughout this year where tests would resultantly have to be carried out, and other matters.

Along with the usual exchange of opinions among the member commissions, these matters will be hashed out during the various conferences held this year, and ultimately settled by the approval of the WKF board of directors. With the Olympics ahead of us, the WKF representatives’ practical work has begun.

World Karate Federation General Secretary
Toshihisa Nagura

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