End of year letter from Shihan Kenny Uytenboghaardt
Dear Kyokushin member
As we now draw to the end of 2019 I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the year and wish you all the best for the festive season.
This year has certainly been a remarkable year for KyokushinKai globally and in South Africa. With 2019 being a World Tournament year there was much excitement for the International Karate Organisation as we saw several countries and the world’s best full-contact fighters prepare and compete on this international stage.
I was once again proud to see the innovative decisions taken by Kancho Matsui to support the Olympic movement with the growth of our semi-contact stream as Japan prepares for the Olympics in 2020. Fortunately, the semi-contact format is not new to South Africa and I’m sure our students will take to it with ease when the time comes. This format not only offers a platform for full contact fighters to improve their techniques but also for a wider uptake in our youth for both practice and competitive purposes.
Our support for the 2020 Olympics continues and this was again evident with the support we had from the (JKF) Japanese Karate Federations this year. With the global attention on Karate, the opportunity to grow our structures with more dojo’s and more students are significant. I’d like to remind all our members that our contribution to world peace and social development was a vision of Mas Oyama and the aforementioned creates the opportunity to do just that.
I’d like to congratulate our athletes who performed so well this year, myself and the other world leaders were particularly impressed with the performance and standard of our competitors at the World Tournament and I look forward to seeing the progress of our students as we now begin the journey to the 13th World Tournament. This is off course in the distant future, but we will build on our current standard and use the next phase of local and international events as stepping stones.
2019 has been a historical year for Kyokushinkai South Africa as we saw a unified team delivered to Japan with the support of KSA (Karate South Africa), SASCOC and some local government structures. I was particularly proud to see the Protea colours officially issued to our South African Team for the first time.
The past three years have seen Kyokushin Karate in South Africa present itself as an organisation which is legitimate, well-structured and rich with opportunity for investment. We have embraced the digital era, improved communication and aligned ourselves with the required institutions. We have done so with no compromise to the values of KyokushinKai karate or the leaders of Kyokushin in South Africa who continue to drive the vision of Mas Oyama. Kyokushinkai South Africa, our administrative arm, is now well-positioned to offer prospective investors an exceptional value proposition. This was evident this year as we saw television, print and social media coupled with effective database structures in play.
Not only did Kancho Matsui the Chairman of IKO this year remind us of the Kyokushin values and traditions of Mas Oyama such as etiquette, respect and self-discipline but also of the need to continually advance our training through technical improvement. Next year will see us focus on these technical improvements.
I now take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors, students, teachers and supporters for their support this year and wish everyone a safe and festive season.
Shihan Kenny Uytenbogaardt
International Karate Organisation