A look back in history:
The establishment of JFKO and the holding of a unified Championship. For many years, there was no organization to integrate and unify the Full Contact Karate competition. Kyokushin and other forms were blooming of course, but divided in many organizations that were far from used to working together. Everybody who has ever practised kyokushin karate knows that within every karateka lives the wish to have a united movement. As was the wish of Sosai Oyama, to whom we all own our gratitude and ......
Such reality, the absence of a united working-together-effort, was an obstacle for further recognition of kyokushin and other forms of full contact karate. Despite its long history of half a century, and the many practitioners and fans across the world.
This was the situation, when a historical movement towards unification started in Japan. JFKO (Japan Fullcontact Karate Organization) was established in March 2013 as the first national organization to unify Full Contact Karate, with the affiliation of 219 groups and organizations, including several international organizations with members in 92 countries and regions. With its activities centred on the three pillars of:
① the firm establishment as a competition category,
② to increase recognition within society,
③ the establishment of an international organization, and with the inclusion of Full Contact Karate in the Olympic Games as its ultimate goal (if this road appears to be definitely blocked, looking toward SportAccord as an opportunity).
The formation of the organization was initially started and mainly led by the World Karate Organization (shinkyokjushin karate) in particular by its Japan Region. WKO and its leader Shihan Kenji Midori took the initiative, because of its strong infrastructure and possibilities for (financial) support. However, from the very beginning WKO made it very clear that it was aiming towards an ‘open’ organization, admissible for all full contact organizations.
The 1st All Japan Fullcontact Karate Championship was held the following year in May 2014. The tournament was a great success, with top level competitors from various organizations competing to become the champion of 4 men and 4 women categories. The level and scale of the tournament has increased each time with the 2nd and 3rd tournament, and the event has firmly established its place as the tournament to decide the true Japanese Champion in weight categories.
As of July 2016, the number of groups and organizations in JFKO has increased to 283, which amounts to 2/3 (two-thirds) of the groups/organizations in Japan. For the 1 million signature-collecting campaign held from October to November 2014 to promote Full Contact Karate for the Olympic Games, despite the short period of approximately 1 month, 1,033,095 signatures were collected across the world, once again demonstrating the potential power of Full Contact Karate.
Further steps toward the establishment of the WFKO
JFKO has chosen 2016 as the first year of the NF era. The NF (National Federation) refers to the competition federation for each country, and JFKO is the NF for Japan. With the Japan model as reference, various countries have established competition federations of their own, such as the BFKO (Belgium), KFKO (Korea), NFKO (Netherlands), and others.
Such countries are organizing tournaments and seminars, regardless of affiliation of organization. In June 2016, the European Fullcontact Karate Camp was held in Belgium and attended by top instructors from all around the world. 450 members from 29 countries and 12 organizations participated in this grand event. In June 2018, another European Camp was organised in Buttgenbach, and again many great champions and teachers were present. These events were like a great family reunion and formed a strong basis for more harmony, understanding and appreciation of each other’s organizations.
Through such activities, the goal to establish the WFKO (World Fullcontact Karate Organization), composed of the NF of various countries across the world, and the preparation work for such establishment was progressing and nears its completion and formalisation in the World Tournament in May in Osaka. This will be a great, unique event, open to all organizations and possibly the start of a new era in full contact karate, that would make Sosai Oyama proud and happy.
As members of Full Contact Karate, we will join our hearts, and continue our efforts with passion, for the Karateka around the world, and for the children practicing Karate and their great dreams.