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June 10, 2011

Peace Bell Project

The International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) is recognized as the international federation governing Traditional Karate throughout the World. It currently has 58 member countries representing approximately 1.5 million athletes, instructors, judges and officials.

Traditional Karate is recognized as the “original” Japanese martial art. Unlike other kicking and punching sports, Traditional Karate is an activity that has as its roots the Japanese foundation of Budo – the development of mind, body and spirit to its fullest potential.

Under the direction of Master Gichin Funakoshi, who is recognized for the educational organization and pedagogic development of Traditional Karate into the modern century, the fundamental precepts were cast and the foundation built for future generations. Among these precepts is one of his most famous statements concerning the goals of Traditional Karate;

Simply stated; “The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory nor in defeat but in the perfection of the character of its participants”.

This brief, but profound statement created the life work of the Founding President of the International Traditional Karate Federation, the late Master Hidetaka Nishiyama, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 80 years. Master Nishiyama dedicated his life to the further development of a training system that would ensure future generations would not lose sight of the ultimate goal of their training – that of the path of self development.

Master Nishiyama would often say that our job as instructors is not for today but rather for future generations. To ensure that the gift we received from Sensei is never diminished or lost, we must continue to study and work to secure the same opportunity for future generations to learn and follow the path of Traditional Karate for self development. In this regard he saw the role of the ITKF as the guardian of this principle.

THE PROJECT

In order to symbolize continuing human development through Traditional Karate training through a permanent fixture that will become a part of this continuum and represent ITKF’s role in the protection of these principles, the ITKF in conjunction with its National Federation member from Poland has launched a very special fundraising project. The funds raised will be used to commission the forging of an ITKF World Peace Bell to be dedicated at Dojo Stara Wies during the 2012 ITKF World Championships in Warsaw, Poland.

The ITKF World Peace Bell will be dedicated to protecting the principles of human development through Traditional Karate training and the pursuit of human excellence in mind, body and spirit. These principles contained in the foundation of Bu-do, if successfully pursued will result ultimately in the respectful, tolerant and peaceful coexistence of all people.

WHY A WORLD PEACE BELL?

The first Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations on June 8, 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan on behalf of the people of Japan. It was cast from coins donated by the delegates from sixty nations participating in the Thirteenth General Conference of the United Nations Associations held in Paris in 1951. In presenting the bell to the United Nations, Mr. Renzo Sawada, Japanese Observer to the United Nations, said, “The bell embodies the aspiration for peace not only of the Japanese but of the peoples of the entire world.”

The inscription in Japanese on the bell reads, “Long Live Absolute World Peace.”

Since then, there have been more than 20 bells forged and dedicated to the notion of World Peace.

The ITKF believes that through the endeavour of human development to its highest potential and character, such a state can be reached. Thus, the International Traditional Karate Federation has dedicated itself to continual improvement of its knowledge, experience and understanding of human development through Traditional Karate training. The ITKF World Peace Bell at Dojo Stara Wies will symbolize its continuous commitment to this goal.

WHY DOJO STARA WIES?

Dojo Stara Wies was an initiative undertaken by the Traditional Karate Federation of Poland sparked by the influence and passion of Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama. Its purpose was to present a permanent home for the pursuit of the Traditional Japanese Martial Arts. The integrity of its design symbolizes peace, harmony and effort. Its structure symbolizes a purpose and evidence of all that is possible – not what is impossible.

Through special arrangement with the ITKF’s National Federation member from Poland, the ITKF will use Dojo Stara Wies as one of its Regional Training and Research Centers. Consequently, it is fitting that the first ITKF World Peace Bell will be located at Dojo Stara Wies. It is the desire and ambition of the ITKF to continue this tradition at other permanent regional structures that may be built in the future as a symbol of the dedication and commitment of ITKF in furthering the life work of its Founding President, the late Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama. It was his belief that Budo was not for one culture or country, but for all countries and people in the world.

100 GUARDIANS

The ITKF World Peace Bell will be specifically commissioned and forged for this dedication. It will hang in a specially designed structure that will maintain the design integrity and visual appeal of the surrounding buildings at Dojo Stara Wies.

In addition, a commemorative Japanese style garden will be groomed adjunct to the Bell. This garden will also be designed and designated as a Peace Garden and will contain the commemoration plaque and recognition of the 100 Guardians selected for this project.

“For whoever wants to study karate, one must first provide an understanding of the essence of karate, then follow with an understanding of its correct use.”

From “Karate-do Kyohan” by Gichin Funakoshi

100 people will be chosen from applications received from Karate-ka around the world who have steadfastly and unselfishly committed themselves to further the principles and growth of Traditional Karate through the ITKF. Each must have demonstrated their understanding of the principles embraced by the ITKF, committed to their growth and evolution, and demonstrated their perseverance in protecting these principles for future generations. In this manner, they will be recognized as the 100 Guardians, ensuring “The Tradition Continues...” for the future.

Through their efforts, each will have a connection to the ITKF and its Founding President, Master Hidetaka Nishiyama either as a peer, colleague or student. Once selected, each candidate who is selected will be asked to contribute $500.00 USD for the project. This carries forward the tradition of individual financial donations from people around the world that helped forge the first World Peace Bell donated from Japan.

A biography of each of the 100 individual Guardians selected will be written and published in a book that will be displayed permanently at Dojo Stara Wies and will protect the legacy of this project.

Former President Lech Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize Recipient has agreed to dedicate this Bell at a special ceremony at Dojo Stara Wies to be held in conjunction with the XVI ITKF World Traditional Karate Championships to be held in Warsaw, Poland in November, 2012.

This project epitomizes the efforts of the ITKF and its individual members. It will stand as a permanent reminder of the connection between people around the world and the positive possibilities that can be achieved when this connection is harnessed and used for the advancement of society. It will forever symbolize the essence of Traditional Karate – the pursuit of excellence of human spirit through the understanding of Budo and the self development gained through training.



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