Spotlight: Luca Valdesi – The King of Tournament Kata

Luca Valdesi is widely regarded as one of the greatest tournament kata competitors. He is a 22-time European Champion and 6-time World Champion in individual and team kata. His performances are characterized by his strength and rhythm.

Valdesi was born on 18th June 1976 in Palermo, Sicily to Andrea Valdesi. Both Luca’s father and uncle were black belts in Shotokan karate. He started his karate training under the guidance of his father at the age of six, in 1982. In 1996 he started training with the Fiamme Gialle , the prestigious karate team of the Italian Financial Police, under head coach, Professor Claudo Culasso.

At the age of 19 Valdesi got his first call-up to the Italian National team, and began training under head coach Professor Pierluigi Achieri. His first international success came in team kata. He won his first senior medal in 1997, taking 3rd place at the 1997 European Championships.

It should be noted whilst Valdesi has been coached by Claudo Culasso and Pierluigi Acheri and other trainers, he continues to train with his father Andrea. He believes that it is important for a kaarate-ka to have many influences, thus getting a wider appreciation of the different approaches to martial arts.

Apart from his successes as an individual competitor, Valdesi has had great success as a team competitor. Together with  with Lucio Maurino and Vincenzo Figuccio he has won three World titles and numerous European titles.

Away from tournament karate, Luca Valdesi has pursued his academic studies, gaining a degree in Business Administration. He has also ventured into the world of acting, starring in a shot film called Black Belt. He has also entered into the world of seminars and training, details which can be found on his site.

His major honors include:


Have a look at the following videos to see the great man in action.

2010 World Karate Championship Kata Final

2010 World Karate Championship Team Kata Final

2012 European Karate Championship Kata Final

2012 World Karate Championship Team Kata Final


Author: Patrick Donkor

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