Behold The Majestic Power Of Karate

This is Rika Usami. Her karate kata skills are truly a sight to see.

Recently, a World Karate Federation clip featuring Usami has been getting lots of YouTube play, racking up over 100,000 views in the past month. The clip is actually from earlier this year at the World Championships in Paris. And if you haven’t seen it, do watch it.

Rika Usami of Japan [WKFKarateWorldChamps@YouTube via Watashi to Tokyo]


  • I am both a student and teacher of martial arts (main style being a mixed martial art based in traditional karate), and Rika is absolutely outstanding to watch.
    Another awesome one is the japanese womens team performance, they’re amazing. But all truly inspiring stuff. I love traditional forms, beyond what people think about martial arts via UFC etc, traditional elements have a beauty and power to the movements that more modern takes tend to miss – they miss the “art” and just keep the “martial” if that is an easier way to think about it.

    • Indeed. Her kata is outstandingly good. I am a practitioner of Kyokoshin, have been since the end of 2008. I’m also a qualified judge of Kata at a national level competition called the NAS (National All Styles). That’s pure 10 out of 10. Control is excellent, balance is perfect, you can see the bunkai clearly in her Kata, however the best part, is through watching each move, I can pause, go back and see how she would apply this two or three ways to different situations.

      In regards to the UFC, almost all UFC fighters have some formal martial arts training of some kind, it’s just the show emphasises the glorification of brute force over the beauty of the martial art behind it. Even MMA itself (though MMA is a very general term itself) can be quite striking (pun not intended) in how it flows, but rarely do we get to see it practiced in the UFC with such grace.

      Personally, I think most don’t understand that a Kata need not be flashy or contain giant moves to be impressive and powerful. Literally the best Kata I’ve ever seen performed was from a 7th dan blackbelt on the goldcoast, Kancho James Casey, who performed Sanchin, a breathing kata, which was performed with such intensity it was exhausting just watching it.

      Incidentally to anyone wondering, the rasping sound is what happens when you forcefully express the air from your lungs til you are almost empty each time.

        • Absolutely, however I have seen innumerable people who do Sanchin and leave out the internal power, relegating it merely to a rote learned series of moves as a lot of katas do become. I’m not perfect either, I’ve been critiqued greatly on my katas which I always seek to improve, but to me, the most seemingly simple of Kata’s such are often the hardest, such as Taikyoko Sono Ich. This forms the basis of every single Kata in Kyokushin and as my Shihan says ‘If your base kata is not strong, your katas will grow weaker as you go.’ I once judged a blackbelt in the opens who did Taikyoko Sono Ich for his kata against another Kyokushin karateka who performed Kankyu, I awarded it to the Taykyoko Sono Ich, for the fact he lived the kata, his bunkai was clear, his balance was perfect, but the Kankyu was rote, it just went through the motions.

          • Definitely true about the simple katas. Sure, the other ones might look fancier, but if your (not you specifically, but you as in people generally) foundation is crap, then building on top of it is just asking for trouble. Karate is kind of a weird thing though, in that you start out with ‘basic’ kata, move on to more ‘complex’ ones and kind of come full circle back to the ‘basic’ ones. and realising that they are in fact quite a bit more complex than you first though…

          • If your foubdation is not solid your building will collapse. Same goes for kata. Punch, low block, turn, repeat. Thats what most see for Taikyokosono ich. What they dont see is punch, block, grab, shoulder throw, sweep, turn, prepare elbow strike, strike behind… etc. Great to talk to people who do 🙂

          • My Sensei and Sempei attack students during practice to test if they are performing the kata with sufficient intensity.

      • That’s why I am a huge fan of Lyoto Machida. Not only does he have the brute force you mention that is a focus of MMA, he presents it all in a very beautiful, flowing style with clear influence from his karate background.

        Every UFC fan loves a knockout or crafty submission sure, but he is one of the only fighters I consistently like watching because his style is unique in the promotion.

  • its like someone pressing pause on their remote she’s a beast. where is the majestic power though, didn’t see any force there just some choreographed karate

    • Power as in striking force? You could see how fast she was moving. You could even hear it. Choreographed Karate or not, she is very powerful and could probably kick all our asses. At once.

  • She is the best invisible person fighter I have ever seen. I wasn’t sure how many invisible people were attacking her exactly, but I know they were all messed up by the end!

  • i didnt expect myself to get goosebumps watching this.
    she was insane – her speed and precision was top notch.
    you can tell the discipline she must have and the appreciation she must have in order to do this at such a professional level and standard.

    man, honour and discipline are so hard to find these days.

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