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ITKF Chairman's message - Let's Visit the FACTS
OR "A meat-ball in the role of a tiger"
From: ChairmanITKF [email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 6, 2013, 11:26 pm
To: ITKF Members
Subject: ITKF Chairman's message - Let's Visit the FACTS
To All National Federation Members of ITKF:
Character assassination is the lowest level of human behaviour. In contrast to the principles of Budo, taught by Sensei Nishiyama and preserved through the fundamental principles of the ITKF, where respect is paramount – character assassination is the outcome of ego and a lack of character – all of which are characteristics that all of us seek to change in the pursuit of human development through Traditional Karate training.
First, I want to thank Mr. Rokah for the opportunity to respond to the many untruths that are contained within both his and his good friend and advisor, Mr. Kwiecinski’s communications that they have spread around the world as truth. In English, we have a saying that those who tell lies try to tell them at least three times in the hope others will believe it is truth”. I am very glad that they have now tied themselves together so that I need only address these issues once.
There are a number of very bold lies that are being presented as truth. I know there is confusion among the friends of these two individuals as they have been pressured by personal relationships to support the notions promoted by these two people. However, what they have said is quite false. I will clarify their main points of attack.
1. Self-appointment as Chairman & Technical Chairman: This is the boldest lie of all. The ITKF Constitution does not allow for self-appointment of any kind. The President/Chairman is elected by the Board of Directors, so is the Chairman of the Technical Committee. The ITKF Constitution states that the office of President & Chairman are one in the same. It is very usual for the President of an organization to act as Chairman of the Board. For example, in Poland Mr. Kwiecinski is both the President and Chairman.
The Board of Directors elected me to both positions. The Board of Directors can certainly make any changes to that circumstance. Mr. Kwiecinski voted as a Board member in favour of that situation. To change it, one only needs a majority vote of the Board of Directors. Hardly a self-appointment.
2. How people are appointed: Such a statement illustrates the lack of involvement of Mr. Rokah in the ITKF and his capacity to understand organizations. The Board of Directors of the ITKF are elected by the various regions of ITKF. The Constitution is very clear in terms of the number of Directors allowed from each region. That number depends on the number of ITKF National Federations within the region. The executive members are chosen from among these elected members, as is the President/Chairman. The President/Chairman has the authority to appoint special committees, but they do not have a vote on the Board of Directors. This process was demonstrated in 2010 – the last election process for ITKF. The next election will be at the ITKF World Congress in 2014. So, in reality – if Mr. Rokah wants to become involved in the ITKF there is a right way to do it. But, it is not what he is doing. And, he needs to educate himself as he does not understand the difference between a Style Organization and the purpose of the ITKF organization. Thus, he treats them as one and the same.
3. Training with Sensei Nishiyama: The attack on my technical qualifications issued by Sensei Nishiyama to me, does not insult me – but rather gravely insults Sensei Nishiyama as it questions his capacity to discern and issue these qualifications. I began my training with Sensei Nishiyama in the early 1970’s. Mr. Rokah states he began his with Sensei in 1981. Mr. Kwieicnski began his in 1991 – although his claim has changed over the years. For nearly 10 years of my training Mr. Rokah wasn’t even around – for nearly 20 years Mr. Kwiecinski was not even part of any of Sensei’s organizations.
But, more importantly, every single Dan rank that I have achieved (From 1st – 7th Dan) has been achieved in front of Sensei Nishiyama and presented to me by him. The Technical requirements are the same for each level regardless of whether it is the result of training on the Dojo floor in Los Angeles (which by the way, I have trained at Central dojo in LA) or on a dojo floor in Siberia. That is what an educational training system is all about – it contains the same requirements that must be demonstrated at every level achieved! There are very few people in the world who have received every Dan ranking from Sensei Nishiyama as I have. Certainly neither Mr. Kweicinski – who up until Go-dan was part of Fudokan-shotokan under the examinations of Dr. Ilya Jorga; or Mr. Rokah who achieved his Sho-dan in Israel under a different examiner (the name I do not know) and, according to the records left by Sensei Nishiyama, to this date has not yet completed his Roku (6th Dan) requirements. Yet, he claims this rank. So, who is self-appointed?
But more importantly, at the same time I was training to achieve my technical ranking, I was also training to achieve my qualifications within ITKF. Unlike Mr. Rokah, who does not hold one single qualification in ITKF – I have held the highest ITKF qualifications possible, in all categories, for more than 20 years – well before the passing of Sensei Nishiyama.
To discredit my technical qualifications or ranking gained directly from Sensei Nishiyama is to discredit him and call into question all technical qualifications issued by him – including those held by Mr. Rokah and Mr. Kwiecinski. Is that what Mr. Rokah really wants to do?
It is interesting for me to note that only last year in San Diego, Mr. Rokah presented a proposal to ITKF to suspend the organization in the United States – AAKF, and replace it with a new organization that he was creating. His request was denied – perhaps that is a reason for him to attack today.
It would seem to me that those who claim to be following and representing Sensei Nishiyama’s philosophy and direction so closely, should follow Sensei’s rules in the organizations he established absolutely. But that seems not to be the case in this instance. Rather than work properly within the organization, these people simply want to create their own. This attitude of self-entitlement begs the question of who wants to self-appointed.
I want to squash another lie that is being circulated and now promoted by Mr. Kwiecinski – the non-recognition of Mr. Tabassi’s 7th Dan (AAKF Treasurer). His claim is, that I, as Chairman of the ITKF, initiated the action to remove recognition of Mr. Tabassi’s 7th Dan. Nothing is further from the truth! The fact is that the Senior Technical Advisors of the AAKF (the ITKF National Federation in the United States) requested in writing that ITKF initiate an investigation since these Senior Technical people did not have any knowledge of any successful examination by Mr. Tabassi for the level of 7th Dan and did not believe it was correct.
Indeed, as the investigation revealed, a Dan Registration had been issued personally by the ITKF Dan Registrar using the stamp of Sensei Nishiyama’s signature (not his actual signature because he issued it immediately following Sensei’s passing). It was also issued contrary to the Technical Qualification Requirements of ITKF – that is, every Dan certificate issued for 6th Dan and above must be approved by the ITKF Technical Committee. However, the ITKF Technical Committee voted unanimously to revoke this rank. Now, Mr. Kwiecinski has conveniently withdrawn his vote and used this in an opportunistic fashion as a character assault on the Chairman of ITKF.
4. Style Organizations: Perhaps the most disappointing to me is the reference Mr. Rokah makes to Sensei’s Style organization – HNKI. His lie regarding the formation of this organization is most hurtful as it involves the family of Sensei Nishiyama and threatens to drag them into a debate unnecessarily. HNKI is not a new organization. Rather, it is a name change of Sensei’s original style organization Japan Karate Association International of America. The name change was requested following the presentation of the President of HNKI, Yumi Nishiyama (Sensei’s oldest daughter), at a meeting in Poland in 2010.
Mr. Rokah did not even have knowledge of Sensei’s style organization, so he could not have included me as a ‘professional courtesy’ as he wouldn’t know where to begin in discerning one organization from another. Rather, following Sensei’s passing, I wrote an overview of the organizations that Sensei had created and how each inter-related and operated within the other. I shared this information with Sensei Fusaro – who was Acting Chairman of AAKF (the US was a member of JIA, previously), and Mr. Kwiecinski. And, of course with Canada as we were a charter member of the JIA along with the United States. I did this to continue the style organization of Sensei Nishiyama separately from ITKF.
It was important to bring this information forward because it influenced a number of important elements going forward. For example, legally, upon Sensei’s death, all technical and intellectual rights of Sensei Nishiyama transferred to his immediate family. No one has any rights to Sensei’s image, intellectual property or technical writings without the express consent of the family. I worked with the family to create a method whereby Sensei’s students could continue his legacy, while protecting the rights of the family. This was discussed many times with Mr. Rokah, Mr. Kwiecinski and Nelson Carrion. When Yumi Nishiyama (Sensei’s oldest daughter) announced the proposal in Poland in 2010, both Mr. Carrion and Mr. Kwiecinski blindsided her and rejected the organization based on the name JIA – which included the word “America”. They stated they could not accept the term “America” if the organization was going to be world-wide. Yet, they had been intimately involved in the discussions of the proposal for a full year prior to Yumi Nishiyama coming to Dojo Stara Wies for the presentation and had never raised this point previously in any discussion. This sparked another year of discussions. Yumi tried to set up conference calls on a regular basis and sent out notices for these to Mr. Kwiecinski and Mr. Rokah, but in the end – it was only she and I and the family’s copyright lawyer who participated in the calls. Thus, a lot of time was wasted trying to include the very same people who are now complaining.
Indeed, the final outcome was the reference Mr. Rokah makes to certificates used in Canada because this was the final method all of us had agreed upon as a means of participation in the organization. Indeed, even the price of each certificate was agreed upon by all. Now they claim no knowledge. How bizarre! It was also the original method used by Sensei Nishiyama for participation in the JIA. However, in the end none of them – Mr. Kwiecinski, Mr. Carrion, nor Mr. Rokah have chosen to participate. Only Canada has kept its commitment to the family and to the organization of Sensei’s style line, HNKI. The others have announced a new organization that they are creating – Traditional Karate Institute. Thus, they want to eat off of the family name without any regard for the rights of the family. National Federation members will have to decide if this represents morally and ethically correct behaviour.
5. ITKF is not a Style Organization: In its Constitution, ITKF is based on National Federation membership. However, at the foundation of the technical achievement and qualifications are Eligible Style Organizations. Everyone participating must belong to a recognized Eligible Style Organization. These are the Traditional Karate style organizations or schools – of which there are many. I have stated many times that there is not “one model of airplane, but in order to be considered an airplane and to fly – the model must follow certain principles of flight.” The same applies to the ITKF. Its members are bound by a philosophy of protecting the integrity of the foundation of Traditional Karate – at its base, a philosophy defined by Budo. None of the behaviour displayed in the emails that have been circulated by these individuals represents that philosophy or any respect to the concept of ITKF.
In Canada, we faced a situation whereby an individual wanted to sit on the National Technical Committee claiming he was a very high rank. When we asked for his credentials, he produced a poem written by his grandfather. When queried as to how a poem represented credentials, he answered simply, “My grandfather created his own style and this was the certificate he gave me.” Thus, without recognized systems of training that match technical criteria, anyone can be a legend in their own mind. Consequently, the Technical Standards of ITKF become a universal method (if adhered to absolutely) of ensuring a high technical standard of Traditional Karate within our organization. If one states such criteria is unnecessary it usually means one of three things; the person won’t, can’t, or doesn’t want, to follow the requirements. What results is anarchy wherein anyone can claim, do, or proceed in any manner they wish. After all, they are a legend in their own mind.
Both Mr. Kwiecinski and Mr. Rokah claim to be experts on Canada. Yet, Canada very strong financially and assisting ITKF in every way, for many years without crying. Canada has hosted both world championships and continental championships on more than one occasion. Canada has produced a number of World Champions and Continental Champions. I am not sure of what his point is. Is it that Canada doesn’t have 200 clubs and 30,000 members – does the United States, the country in which he lives? Is he even on the Board of Directors of his own Country’s organization? It is very easy to criticize.
Mr. Kwieicnski, Mr. Rokah, Mr. Carrion and others are free to establish their own style of training. But they should stand on their own feet. The organizations that I follow are based on the fundamental rules, policies and organizational structure that was established by Sensei Nishiyama himself. These organizations represent his vision of what is needed to protect Traditional Karate for future generations. The creation of a new organization is not the vision of Sensei Nishiyama, nor will it be the voice of Sensei Nishiyama, as the rules will not reflect what Sensei established and felt was necessary to protect Traditional Karate. New rules will only reflect only what individuals who create them want in their own time. Sensei’s vision stretched much further.
I agree with Mr. Rokah that this is a very important time for ITKF. It is a time, not unlike the early 1980’s (before Mr. Kwiecinski or Mr. Rokah’s ever arrived on the scene) when the IOC recognized WKF (ex-WUKO) for the first time. Many countries left ITKF. They followed money, because the WKF had left the principles of karate for the temptation of Olympic participation – the money! It would have been easy for Sensei to “cave in” – to sell out, to change the organization to be more “current”. Yet he didn’t. He was very clear on this point – the preservation of Traditional Karate for future generations. Over and over he would state the point, that our job was not for now – but for future generations. I was part of his ITKF team at that time and we spent many, many hours discussing the “why, what and who” of ITKF. Everything he predicted has come true. I know this fact only because I was with him at that time, as was Dr. Vladimir Jorga and others. We have lived through this before – the challenge of people to modify ITKF to “better suit” a WKF relationship. That was certainly not the vision of Sensei, or reason for ITKF to exist. Could it be that this current behaviour and internal conflict is simply outside forces at work, using internal means to destroy ITKF once and for all? An interesting question that only time will answer.
Michael Crowe was also part of our ITKF team at that time. He said something quite profound to me before he recently retired. He stated, “Sensei created these organizations in a particular way, with particular rules, for a particular purpose. He did not create them to be ignored. He did not create the rules to be broken. He created them in order that his organizations would live beyond his lifetime and, in fact, beyond anyone’s lifetime. Those who want to continue his legacy should pay particular attention to these things because these organizations are Sensei’s words and voice. Those who want something different should leave – as others have left before. But, if there are new rules, new organizations, or a new way – it is not Sensei’s way, because those changes will have destroyed what’s left of Sensei’s voice and therefore his vision.”
Finally, I want to draw a parallel example between the ITKF and a National Federation. Because in reality, National Federations have clubs or regions as members, whereas the ITKF has countries and continents as members. So, in your respective country, if there was a club that was to host a national championship, but refused to adhere to the rules of your National Federation – would your Board of Directors still sanction it? Would your Board of Directors allow a sanction of a national championships to be supervised by judges who did not hold current or proper qualifications within your national federation? Would your Board of Directors allow such a club to call a meeting claiming it represented your National Federation and try to usurp your National Federation’s authority? If there was an instructor in that club who claimed a particular rank – but refused to fulfill all requirements of the rank or register it with your National Federation – would you still allow that instructor to have the qualifications associated with that rank – without going through the process? The answer is obvious – of course not! Yet, that is what was being asked of ITKF.
All of these issues were identified to Poland in April – well before the World Cup. The issue of ITKF qualifications was identified to Mr. Rokah well before Sensei passed away. It was reiterated within the past few years to him again and again. The correction of these issues was very easy and could have been handled quite differently. Instead, these deficiencies were ignored on all accounts, no corrective action was taken. Instead, these issues were escalated to international entertainment via the Internet, with unsubstantiated and unrelated accusations. Why? Why were they not simply corrected? Within the question lies the answer that National Federation members should be seeking to overcome this situation.
There is a right way and a wrong way to make internal change in ITKF. What has been proposed by Mr. Kwiecinski, Mr. Rokah, Mr. Carrion and others is the wrong way. Indeed, it is very unclear as to whether they are unhappy with the Style Organization or the ITKF Organization. They continue to confuse issues which reflects their lack of understanding. But, the assumed deficiencies of either organization are not real deficiencies of the organizations. Rather, they are the desires of individuals who want a different organization or status, who have a sense of entitlement to still eat off of the family name of Sensei Nishiyama and the brand of the ITKF without due process.
The unsubstantiated “evidence” and documents that Mr. Rokah states were presented at their secret meeting in Poland and claims to support his and Mr. Kwiecinski’s need for drastic change are a classic tactic of misinformation. If there are legitimate accusations to be made regarding the organization and its Chairman why has neither Mr. Kwiecinski, as a long standing ITKF Board member, or Mr. Rokah, as an individual member presented the documents to support their accusations to the ITKF Board of Director’s for consideration and decision? The answer is clear – they simply wish to hijack the ITKF and do not wish to be put through any test of evidence outside of their own circle of friends.
There is only one duly elected Board of Directors of ITKF. There is only one duly elected Chairman of ITKF and it is neither Mr. Rokah, nor Mr. Kwiecinski. There is not a legitimate meeting of ITKF in Poland on August 17, 2013. The ITKF Board of Directors has never authorized an Extra-Ordinary Annual General Meeting of ITKF in Poland.
The next ITKF Annual General Meeting is the World Congress, scheduled to be held in 2014. I expect this situation will be addressed at the legitimate business meeting of the ITKF.
R. Jorgensen, Chairman
International Traditional Karate Federation
Avi Rokah message regarding the ITKF situation
Avi Rokah [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, July 6, 2013 2:30 AM
To: ITKF Members
Subject: Avi Rokah message regarding the ITKF situation
To my fellow members of the ITKF.
For those of you who don't know me (though I feel like I've had the pleasure of meeting so many of you), I have been practicing Karate for about 40 years now, and had the special privilege of practicing directly with Sensei Nishiyama from 1981 until his passing in 2008 many hours every day. During those years, I missed very few of his classes due travel for teaching seminars, but for the most part I had the honor of interacting with him and his students every single day. I feel like his Karate lives on through those of us who were with him enough to study his teachings closely, and am passionate about helping Budo Karate flourish, so that people will be able to enjoy the beauty it has to offer.
Normally, I do not like to get involved in the "politics" behind the scenes; but today's circumstances are special, and I feel the need to speak up.
The ITKF is in trouble, and not functioning the way we want it to as an organization. Those of you who were present at our conference prior to the world cup in Poland are aware of the ITKF's status, and we will discuss some more of the details in the near future. There is a lack of transparency in how the organization is run, in the finances of the organization, and in how people are appointed to various roles. At the end of the day, the responsibility for this situation rests on the organization's leadership; but the choice to fix it is in all of our collective hands. All of us are fighters by nature, so we should not be passive as things deteriorate. We should all seek a path back to normalcy, a way to get the shape of our organization back on track, and leadership that can help us get there.
Mr. Rajeev's letter made some disparaging comments about Mr. Kwiecincki, so I'd like to address those. I believe Mr. Kwiecincki has been a strong promoter of Karate in Poland, and has managed to organize it in an admirable way. For those of you who haven't had the opportunity, I strongly recommend a visit to Poland to see with your own eyes what a remarkable infrastructure and functional organization they have built. I've known Mr. Kwiecincki since 1991, when he came to train with Sensei Nishiyama and myself and slept on my dojo floor for 6 months. I've watched him cultivate the Polish federation since those early days, and his accomplishments there are visible for all to see, and speak louder than words. Through these many years, he would come to train with Sensei Nishiyama and myself at least twice a year for a month each time. Nishiyama's Karate lives on with Mr. Kwiecincki, and I can say firsthand that he is an excellent teacher as well as leader. His passion for Karate is remarkable, and he acts with transparency and purity of thought and heart; never seeking confrontation, but just the best way to improve things.
By contrast, in all my years of training with Sensei Nishiyama, I cannot recall seeing Mr. Jorgenson visit the dojo once -- certainly not for any meaningful duration of time. I have had the opportunity to watch him teach seminars firsthand, and I do not feel he faithfully represents Nishiyama's Karate, though he claims to. I am not comfortable with his self-appointment as technical director and president of the ITKF, nor with him teaching people, under the pretense of channeling my Sensei.
A few years ago we (Mr. Kwiecinski, Mr. Jorgenson and myself) tried establishing the HNKI (Hidetaka Nishiyama Karate Institute), as a way to go back to the true meaning of Karate as taught by Sensei Nishiyama. We included Mr. Jorgenson as a professional courtesy, and since then he's made it difficult for us to make progress with this association. To make things worse, we recently found out he's been charging members of Canada's Traditional Karate Federation a fee for HNKI certificates without informing Mr. Kwiecincki or myself. We don't know where this money has been directed. Again, the lack of transparency is troubling.
Perhaps the easiest way to assess the differences between Mr. Kwiecincki and Mr. Jorgenson is to examine the organizations they head. Poland's Karate Federation is a remarkable organization with a free-flow of ideas, great discussions and conversations, and a humility and openness in its leaders. I don't feel the ITKF shares these qualities as it is today (it feels micro-managed: discussions are regularly shut down, dissent is squelched, and transparency is non-existent), but I would very much like to see it get there.
For all these reasons, I feel we are at a crossroads. We need to choose leaders that we can put our trust in, with whom we can work to make the ITKF everything we know it can be -- a shining example of a great Karate Federation: technically, organizationally, and financially. We are planning to meet in Poland on August 17th to decide on a specific course of action, and I really hope to see many of you there so we can have an open discussion about our problems and how to fix them. I look forward to our gathering and the positive outcomes it will bring.
He writes: "But, more importantly, every single Dan rank that I have achieved (From 1st – 7th Dan) has been achieved in front of Sensei Nishiyama and presented to me by him. The Technical requirements are the same for each level regardless of whether it is the result of training on the Dojo floor in Los Angeles (which by the way, I have trained at Central dojo in LA) or on a dojo floor in Siberia. That is what an educational training system is all about – it contains the same requirements that must be demonstrated at every level achieved! There are very few people in the world who have received every Dan ranking from Sensei Nishiyama as I have. Certainly neither Mr. Kweicinski – who up until Go-dan was part of Fudokan-shotokan under the examinations of Dr. Ilya Jorga; or Mr. Rokah who achieved his Sho-dan in Israel under a different examiner (the name I do not know) and, according to the records left by Sensei Nishiyama, to this date has not yet completed his Roku (6th Dan) requirements. Yet, he claims this rank. So, who is self-appointed?"
As an individual dealing with the martial arts from 1965, when I start Judo at the age of 20 years, I have the opinion, and if I am wrong please correct me, that a budoka shows his technical level every single moment in every single point of view. In the above picture from a Summer Camp at San Diego, California, the stance of Mr. Jorgensen proves his technical level. There is no budoka over 2nd or 3rd dan who is standing with completely outstretched knees! This is the biggest mistake of self-defense. A budoka's body is every moment in readiness to react and the base for instantly reacting is the "a bit" banded knees! Where is the seventh dan??? I do not see it!!! Of course he has melted his belt to the ... railings of the terrace!!!
I have seen again this film!
Let me introduce to you the president of Greek WUKO Branch for ten years Mr. Tsuku-tsuku (right), 6th dan in Shito-ryu Karate-do of Tommy Morris! He received every dan from 1rst to 6th from the ... chair you see (namely from the same ... Siberia with Mr. Jorgensen!), and he wore karate-gi only for photos! He was president and also technical director of Shito-ryu in Greece!!!
Mr. Jorgensen writes: "There is only one duly elected Board of Directors of ITKF. There is only one duly elected Chairman of ITKF and it is neither Mr. Rokah, nor Mr. Kwiecinski. There is not a legitimate meeting of ITKF in Poland on August 17, 2013. The ITKF Board of Directors has never authorized an Extra-Ordinary Annual General Meeting of ITKF in Poland. "
We note: There is no elections in the Minutes of the 2010 General Meeting!
We ask: Where is the current ITKF Constitution with dates and the signatures of the ITKF-Member Federations!!!
And about the money: The whole story brings me courage, because I believed that such stories only in Greece happen!
So, I can loudly yell to Mr. Jorgensen what is the last fashion to yell to the Greeks politicians:
"Bring back the stolen!