The karate world has lost a great practitioner with the passing earlier this month of Greek Australian Shito Ryu Sensei Con Kassis (8th Dan); one of Australia's greatest contributors to the martial art at state, national and international levels for over 40 years.
Acknowledged globally as one of the most reputed Karate authorities in the world, his prominence and expertise were essential for the World Karate Federation as he was the chairman of the WKF Technical Commission and a member of the WKF Sports and Rules and Ranking Commissions. He previously had acted as a member of the WKF Referee Commission.
The World Karate Federation noted that Kassis played a crucial role in the development of Karate in Oceania, and held several high decision-making positions in the Oceania Karate Federation (OKF).
“Con Kassis’s passing is a tremendous loss for the WKF and the whole Karate family. His outstanding contribution to the progress of Karate has been unparalleled; so much so, that he is one of the key actors in making Karate the advanced and spectacular discipline that it is today.
“Moreover, he was a dear friend to many of us. He was kind, caring, and a wonderful human being through and through. He perfectly represented the many values of our sport, and he will be truly missed." said WKF President Antonio Espinós.
The Australian Karate Federation noted that it had lost 'one of its most influential Karate-Ka and friend'.
"Our deepest condolences to his wife Rosanna, his family, students, and friends.
"Con was incredibly passionate about traditional Karate. He was the direct student of Kenei Mabuni, son of the founder of Shito Ryu Karate. Con was well versed in other styles, driven by his devotion to learn, which contributed to his success as an acclaimed coach and international judge.
"Con’s technical skill and knowledge earned him the position of Chairman of the World Karate Federation Referee commission in 2010. His ability to educate and develop students and officials contributed to Australia developing one of the highest number of internationally qualified officials in the world." said Hani Zahra, President of the Australian Karate Federation
RESOURCE | ABOUT CON KASSIS
Con Kassis was born in Ioannina, Greece, on April 17, 1959. He first became interested in Karate at the age of 15, when he started to practice Shotokan Karate Do occasionally. It wasn’t until the age of 20 that he decided to take up Shito Ryu Karate Do. He became so devoted to learning, that rarely a day would go by without practice. In 1982, Con began to teach, and in 1987 he was introduced to Kenei Mabuni, an event which changed his life dramatically.
Master Mabuni decided to take Con as his personal student. Under his guidance, Con’s understanding of Karate began to mature significantly. At the age of 35, Con became the World Karate Federation’s youngest Kata Judge – at a time when only 25 officials in the world held this status, the highest possible for competition karate.
His passion for teaching grew immensely, and his achievements were to continue. He has produced countless state, national, and international champions in competition, and has become one of the most respected Karate teachers, not only in Australia, but around the world. He holds the rank of "8th Dan Shihan" in Shito-ryu has served as Vice President of the World Shito-ryu Karate-do Federation (W.S.K.F.) and now holds the position of Counselor in the above Federation.
In 2010 he became Chairman of Referee Committee of World Karate Federation (W.K.F.) and later Chairman of the Technical Committee of the World Karate Federation (WKF), a member of the WKF Sports Committee and of course Referee A', Kata & Kumite. It is worth noting that in the history of the World Karate Federation since its inception, he is the first non-Japanese to gain this position in the Technical Committee.
His success was undeniably derived from the many years of expert technical knowledge he received from the world’s foremost living authority in Shito-ryu Karate-do, Kenei Mabuni, 10th Dan Grandmaster.[Source: shitoryugreece.com]