On Wednesday, June 17th, we were honored by a visit from our friends Shihan Maximiliano Ferraiolo and Sensei Luciano Paparella who taught and trained with us for the evening.  Accompanying them were Sempais Mike Spineti, Benoit Poirier, Justin Mancini, Marisa Leone and Antonio Alves.  It goes without saying that it was a great class.  Everyone learned a lot and we thoroughly enjoyed training together, but there was a duel purpose to the evening.  Sensei Luciano is one of Canada's branch chiefs representing WKO ShinKyokushinkai and was also there to welcome us to the organization!  Sensei John made the official announcement at that evening's class and the exciting news was welcomed with open arms by all the students.  Here is a note from Sensei John on this new chapter in our dojo's history:



After spending the last 5 years as an independent dojo, it is my honour to announce that West Island Karate and Karaté de L'Île are now part of the World Karate Organization (WKO) ShinKyokushinkai.  The WKO is based in Japan and is under the leadership of former world champion, Kancho (President) Kenji Midori.  I had been interested in joining the WKO for some time, but had decided not to make my final decision until actually meeting and training with Kancho.  Kancho Midori is an exceptional, humble, hardworking karate-ka...a prime example of what we should all aspire to be as karate-ka.

The WKO is the largest Kyokushin organization in the world and has branches throughout the globe.  This is an opportunity for all our students and instructors to network and grow through seminars, camps and tournaments.  I have had the chance to meet many members both here in Canada and in Europe, and was struck by the energy and spirit these karate-ka have, as well as their camaraderie.  They are all a family and have always welcomed me as a member of the family.  The WKO is an open organization meaning that all members are encouraged to work with all other organizations and foster the spirit of Kyokushin.  Kancho Midori and the WKO are the primary catalysts in the campaign to have full-contact karate added as an official Olympic event in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

I recently attended the historic European Full Contact Karate Camp in Belgium.  I experienced something truly amazing and came back with a renewed strength and energy.  I knew I wanted to continue to be a part of this organization.  I will do my utmost to spread this energy throughout North America in concert with the North American ShinKyokushin Karate Organization, and continue collaborating with all Kyokushin organizations.  Thank you to all the North American branches for accepting my dojos and me into your family.

John Kalaidopoulos