Dario Marchini

To do Kumite, you must practice Kata and Kihon.

Dario Marchini

One of the most successful European competitors, Dario Marchini is an 18-time European champion and a 9-time World Champion. As a competitor and coach, he was one of the best.

Dario Marchini was born in the Northern Italian city of Brescia, on 30 December 1957.

In 1970 Marchini began practicing Shotokan Karate at a local club in Brescia. He trained under Carlo Fugazza and Hiroshi Shirai. Shirai had arrived in Italy in 1965, at the invitation of Roberto Fassi, a pioneer of Italian Karate. Fugazza was a long-time student of Shirai. Over a period of time, Marchini started travelling to the city of Milan to train.

Marchini was promoted to 1st Dan in 1973, by Taiji Kase and Shirai. By 1975 he had become a Shotokan Karate instructor.

In 1976 Marchini competed in the Italian Championships for the first time. He mainly concentrated on the kata event. Between 1976 to 1990 he came to dominate the event. He won 17 gold medals and 2 silver medals.

Marchini was selected to represent the Italian National Team in 1982. This was the first time he had competed internationally. In time he became a mainstay of the national team.

1984 was a breakout year for Marchini. On 4 January he competed at the 1st World Cup held in Budapest, Hungary. In the Men’s Individual Kata event, he finished in second place. At the 19th European Karate Championships held in Paris, France between 11-13 May, he won his first European title. In the Men’s Individual Kata event he defeated Luis Maria Sanz and Deogracias Medina, both from Spain.

At the 20th European Karate Championships held in Oslo, Norway between 5-7 May 1985, Marchini finished in third place in the Men’s Individual Kata event. Efthimos Karamitsos of Germany won the title.

Between 5-7 May 1986, the 21st European Championships were held in Madrid, Spain. Marchini regained his Men’s Individual Kata title. This was the first of his five consecutive title wins, between 1986-1990.

Marchini competed at his first World Championships, which were held in Sydney, Australia. At the 8th Karate World Championships held between 21-25 November 1986, he finished in third place, behind Tsuguo Sakumoto and Tomoyuki Aihara of Japan in the Men’s Individual Kata event.

On 22 March 1987 Marchini competed at the 2nd World Cup held in Budapest, Hungary. In the Men’s Individual Kata event, he finished in second place. At the 22nd European Karate Championships held in Glasgow, Scotland he retained his Individual Men’s Kata title. Steve Morris of Scotland and Luis Maria Sanz of Spain finished in second and third place.

Marchini was now one of the top competitors in the world. At the 23rd European Karate Championships, held in Genoa, Italy, he won his third consecutive Men’s Individual Kata title. This time Sanz finished in second place, with Morris in third place.

The 9th Karate World Championships were held in Cairo, Egypt, in October 1988. The Men’s Individual Kata event was a repeat of the previous World Championships. Tsuguo Sakumoto was Champion, with Tomoyuki Aihara in second place and Marchini in third place. Marchini also helped Italy win a silver medal in the Men’s Team Kata event. Japan won the title, with France in third place.

1989 was a busy year for Marchini. At the 24th European Karate Championships held in Titograd, Yugoslavia, he retained his Individual Kata title. On 30 July at the 3rd World Games, held in Karlsruhe, Germany, he finished in second place in the Men’s Individual Kata event. 29 October saw him compete at the 3rd World Cup held in Budapest, Hungary. He finished in second place.

1990 was another successful year for Marchini and Italy. Between 2-4 May he retained his Men’s Individual Kata title, at the 25th European Karate Championships held in Vienna, Austria. Between 8-11 November, the 10th World Championships were held in Mexico City, Mexico. Tomoyuki Aihara became World Champion, with Marchini in second place and Luis Maria Sanz in third place. Marchini also helped Italy become Men’s Team Kata World champions. They defeated Japan in the final. France finished in third place.

On 30 November 1992, the 6th ITKF World Championships were held in Montréal, Canada. Marchini won the Men’s Individual Kata title. He also helped Italy win the Men’s Team Kata title.

In 1994, even though Marchini was still competing, he became a coach for the National Kata Team. He held the position until 2007. During this time the Italian team won 68 gold medals, 23 silver medals, and 4 bronze medals.

In 1995 Dario was awarded his 6th Dan by Taiji Kase and Hiroshi Shirai.

Between 22-24 November 1996, Marchini repeated his successes of the 6th ITKF World Championships. At the 8th ITKF World Championships held in São Paulo Brazil, he won the Men’s Individual Kata title. He was also part of an Italian Team including Allesandro Gardinali and Pasquell Acri, that defeated Brazil to become Men’s Team Kata World Champions.

By 1999 Marchini had retired from active competition. He focused on working as a coach of his club side and also a coach of the national side. 1999 also saw him establish the Kokoro International Cultural Association with his closest students. The aim of the Association is to reflect on the principles and values of Karate.

Marchini had first started teaching internationally in 1986. He had assisted Taiji Kase and Hiroshi Shirai.

Marchini and his wife Christina Restelli, herself an international competitor, were frequently invited to give training courses. Between 22-23 September 2018, they were invited by the Shotokan Braunschweig club to give a training course to celebrate their 55th anniversary.

In 2020 Marchini celebrated 50 years in Karate.

As a competitor and coach Dario Marchini has been one of the very best. As a competitor his successes include

  • World Championships (WUKO & ITKF) – 9 gold, 7 silver, 2 bronze
  • European Championships (UEK & ETKF) – 20 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze
  • Italian Championships – 17 gold, 2 silver

As a coach of the Italian National Team his successes include:

  • World Championships (ITKF) – 23 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze
  • European Championships (ETKF) – 46 gold, 20 silver, 1 bronze

As a club coach hi ssuccesses include:

  • Italian Championships – 50 gold, 31 silver

Marchini, an 8th Dan, teaches at Hiroshi Shirai’s Milan dojo. He and his wife Christina Restelli, herself an 18-time European Champion and 3-time World Champion, frequently conduct seminars and courses around Europe.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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