This diminutive Japanese lady ranks as one of the most recognizable faces in the world of tournament Karate. Rika Usami’s kata performances are mesmerizing displays of grace, strength, and speed, all in equal measure.
Rika Usami was born on 20th of February 1986, in Tokyo. Her karate training started at the age of 10, following her older brother to the local Goju-Ryu dojo.
At the age of 12 she took part in her first tournament as a green belt. She won her first major honor, the Junior World Championship, at the age of 17. She eventually became a student of the famous Karate kata teacher, Yoshimi Inoue Sensei, and she has not looked back since. Her major honors include:
- First place – WKF Junior World Championship (2005) Limassol, Greece
- First place – All-Japan National Championship (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
- Third place – WKF World Championship (2010) Belgrade, Serbia
- First place – Paris Open (2011)
- First place – Asian Games (2011) Quanzhou, China
- First place – Salzburg Open (2011)
- First place – Paris Open (2012)
- First place – Dordrecht Open (2012)
- First place – Jakarta Open (2012)
- First place – Istanbul Open (2012)
- First place – World Championship (2012)
Usami credits her success to thorough preparation in the following areas:
- Being mentally focused.
- Proper physical conditioning.
- Proper karate conditioning.
- Constantly working to improve technical ability.
Rika Usami retired shortly after her World Championship win, to concentrate on her studies and also on teaching. Her mentor Inoue died on 1 May 2015 from cancer. To honor him she and fellow World Champions Mie Nakayama and Antonio Diaz have been traveling around the world to promote Inoue’s style of Inoue-Ha Shito Ryu Karate.
Have a look at the following videos to see the great lady in action.
Chatan Yara Kusanku
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