Antonio Jose Diaz Fernandez, to give him his full name, is one of the most impressive and consistent tournament kata competitors of his generation. His kata performances are both rhythmic and dynamic at the same time. Some of his best performances have come against big tournament rival Luca Valdesi.
Diaz was born in Caracas Venezula on June 12 1980. He started training in 1986 when he was five years old, influenced by his parents who were both karateka. His first style was Shito-Kai karate under Sensei Shoko Sato, notable for being the first Japanese karate sensei to start teaching in Venezuala.
When Sensei Sato left Venezuela, Diaz continued his training under Sensei Javier Mantilla until 2004. It was Sensei Mantilla who introduced him to kata competition. In 1996 Diaz was selected to be a member of the Venezualan National Team. Diaz and Mantilla parted ways in 2004, due to Mantilla moving to the USA. Although his national federation provided him with a physical regimen, Diaz spent the next four years mainly training by himeself.
Following a visit to Okinawha in 2008, Diaz started training in Inoue-ha Shito-Ryu Karate, under famed master Sensei Yoshimi Inoue.
It is interesting to note that up to the age of seventeen Antonio Diaz was mainly a kumite competitor. At eighteen he won his first senior Pan American kata title.
Diaz is a firm believer that to be successful, one must never give up and must always try to be consistent.
At the time of writing, Antonio Diaz’s major medals include 26 gold, 4 silver, and 10 bronze, making him one of the most consistent and successful kata competitors of all time. His major honors include:
- World Games (2001, 2005, 2009, 2013)
- World Championships (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014)
- Dutch Open (2005)
- Italian Open (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
- French Open (2006)
- University World Championships (2006)
- German Open (2006, 2007)
- Austrian Open (2007, 2009)
- USA Open (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
- Pan American Championships (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)
- Paris Open (2010, 2011)
- Karate 1 Premier League – Istanbul (2011, 2012)
- Karate 1 Premier League – Salzburg (2011, 2012)
- Karate 1 Premier League – Paris (2012)
- Karate 1 Premier League – Jakarta (2012)
- Karate 1 Premier League – Frankfurt/Hanau (2012)
Here are a couple of videos of Diaz in action:
2013 World Combat Games Kata Final
2012 World Championship Kata Final
2010 World Championship Kata Final
- Exclusive Interview: Antonio Diaz – World Karate Champion (pt.1, pt 2, pt 3, pt 4)
- Antonio Díaz (karateka) wiki
- Karate Records – Antonio Jose Diaz Fernandez
- Interview Anonio Diaz – World Champion in Senior Kata 2011