MAT CHAT MONDAY
We got to know a World Class Kumite athlete! This week, we are going to meet a World Champion Kata athlete in the form of Rika Usami!
This powerhouse has managed to claim Gold medals in Japanese National Championships, Asian Championships, European Championships, World Championships and if there was a Universe Championship she'd probably medal that too!
Her training journey began when she was 10 at the influence of her brother who was training Karate at the time. She only had to see a female martial artist on TV to realise that was what she wanted to do. She competed in small local tournaments at the age of 12 but didn't hit the big leagues until she was 15 and with her heightened determination she won her first tournament at 17. That's 7 years to win her first tournament! That's some perseverance right there!
In an interview in 2012, Rika Usami mentioned the three most important elements she attributed to her success. They were, physical preparation, strength training and technique. Usami went on to explain, “Strength training is the starting point for my techniques, and it’s actually very important for this reason. You must do it. For any technique to be properly stabilised, basic physical strength is essential. Therefore, I perform strength training with the following philosophy in mind; great technique in kata can only be achieved with having a solid foundation of strength.” If you want to see why she is considered one of the best in the world? Check out this clip of the Female Kata Final from the Paris Championships in 2012...