2024/07/11

 

 On Sunday, July 7th, the 4th Challenging Persons Karate event was held at the Okinawa Karate Kaikan (hosted by the Okinawa Prefectural Special Needs School Graduates’ Parents Association Liaison Council).

 

Mr. Kunihiro Arakaki, Executive Director of the Okinawa Prefecture Karatedo Rengokai declared the opening of the event. Greetings followed by Mr. Mitsuhiko Gushikawa, Chairman of the event and Secretary General of the Okinawa Prefecture Karatedo Rengokai; Mr. Denny Tamaki, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture; Mr. Kunio Arakaki, President of the Okinawa Dento Karate-Do Shinkokai; and Mr. Minoru Nakazato, President of the Okinawa Prefecture Karatedo Rengokai.

 

 

The purpose of this event is “to encourage intellectually-challenged individuals to participate in their community through the Okinawan traditional karate, and to promote their self-reliance and growth through karate as a lifelong sport.” Participants included individuals from their teens to their fifties who attend local dojos and employment support facilities within the prefecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year, due to the impact of soaring prices, there were no participants from mainland Japan. However, Rikutarou, the official character of the Okinawa Dentol Karate-Do Shinkokai, came to cheer on the participants, adding to the lively atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 After the group photo session in a friendly atmosphere, the actual competition began. Participants showcased their powerful performances.  I have great respect for the perseverance and positive attitude of all the participants who trained hard every day for this event, overcoming their disabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some participants were seen practicing repeatedly right up to their performances, and their dedication was truly impressive. 

 

 This event is a rare opportunity where both karate practitioners with and without intellectual challenge come together to preserve and promote the Okinawan traditional karate, which is a source of pride for Okinawa. I hope that more people will take a part in this event.

To all the participants, the Sensei who planned and managed the event, and members of Okinawa Prefectural Special Needs School Graduates’ Parents Association,  thank you for your dedication and organizing such a wonderful event.