We have the pleasure to interview Antonio Díaz, World Karate Kata Champion. Actually you have interviewed Antonio by sending us your questions. Many thanks to all participants!
Asheley Gonzalez asks: When did you started practicing karate and in which dojo?
I started practicing karate at age 5. Informally, my father was my first sensei as he had the black belt in karate but we did not have a dojo. Later on I started formally in a dojo near my house. Shotokan was my first school for a year but my sensei moved and then I went to another school and started my training in Shito ryu.
Hi Antonio, how are you? What was your first international medal and in what year?
My first medal in the national team was in 93 at the Pan American Championships in Puerto Rico, curiously at that time I won the gold medal in Kumite.
Andrea Zamora asks: Onegaishimas sensei… How is your preparation for the World Championships? You are my biggest inspiration and example…
Thank you very much, the preparation is going very well. I have had the opportunity to participate in many events, such as the Premier League organized by the WKF Karate1 which involved many of the competitors who will be in Paris in November. Now I’m training in Japan with my teacher Yoshimi Inoue and I now fell ready for a major championship.
Alejandro del Pino asks: For a competition, a good karategi is essential, but what features must have for Antonio Diaz? A good cut? What brand? What care should it have?
I have tried many karategis throughout my career, the cut and the material is very important, you should be comfortable. I use the brand Hirota, they have a very good material and they tailor-made the uniforms.
Domenico Carnevali asks: In Venezuela Special Olympics we’d love you to be one of our ambassadors. Would you like to?
Of course, for me it would be a great honor to work with you. Count on me.
Sergio Salcedo asks: Any recommendations by practicing Katas?
Live them to the fullest every time, think about the meaning of each technique, is like being in an active meditation.
Adriana Orozco asks: I’m new to the world of martial arts and I want to know what you rely on in order to choose the kata to compete and win.
Generally the main thing is to feel comfortable with the kata, the degree of difficulty is also important. Another thing to take into account is a little research on the kata and, once you’ve chosen, understand its history and the techniques and applications.
Carlos Oscar Lugo asks: Hey champ! I wonder what is missing in Venezuela to have tournaments like the World Championships.
We have organized some events with world-class competitors. But this type of events are quite expensive, if you seek to meet quality standards, so I think government and private companies need to work together to give financial support to the federation. I think it’s possible and hopefully one day we can have the elite karate competing in Venezuela.
Carlos Oscar Lugo asks: What kind of diet you take during your period of preparation for a competition?
Usually I have no specific diet, try to eat well and balanced avoiding excess fat. I try to eat several times a day, since the caloric intake is great while training. Sometimes I use multivitamin supplements and protein drinks, and always careful not to eat anything that is in the list of prohibited substances.
Carlos Oscar Lugo asks: Apart from your daily workouts at the gym, do you carry out some extra exercise routine? How many hours do you train per day before the competition?
Apart from karate training, I conduct complementary physical training, which may include different exercises to develop strength and speed. Generally I train karate in the mornings, may vary between one and a half to two hours, then in the afternoons physical one and a half.
Daniel Hidalgo asks: What is the technique to be the best in kata? I’m Daniel 6th Kyu in Karate and I’m eight.
The main thing is to be consistent, have discipline to train and patience to learn. Enjoy and be passionate about what you do is a combination that can help you achieve your goals in any area of life.
Ori asks: Although I have practiced for quite some time now, I feel very nervous when participating in a tournament. And when I lose, I tend to get depressed. What do you recommend?
I still feel nervous before a major championship, is normal and what is important is to control it and not let it slow you down. I use a lot of breath, visualize the championship and see how everything flows naturally and everything goes positively. I picture myself doing an excellent kata every time I enter the mat. About the result, of course we all want to win, but it is important the personal satisfaction of having given the fullest and having enjoyed what you did, that way the rest will come easily.
Ana Karina Parra asks: In karate, you had teachers and peers from around the world. How has it influenced the mix of cultures and traditions, both Eastern and Western, in your training?
I have had the opportunity to compete and train in many places in a lot of countries, and see how it differs training in Europe or Japan for example. I tried to absorb the best of each place. I think it’s very important to have a style that characterizes you, but certainly there are always influences from the West. I have learned the importance of the physical aspect of the application of sports science in the East while the focus on technique is very important.
Thank you Antonio! See you in Paris.
The 2012 World Karate Senior Championships will take place in Paris from November 21-25 and will be broadcast live in our Youtube channel in those countries where TV broadcast is not available. Subscribe to the WKF Youtube channel now and enjoy live the Championships. You can also follow us on Twitter.