Journey to Japan: Spectating Karate 1 Premier League and Embracing Karate’s Essence

Three karate athletes practicing in a traditional Japanese dojo.

Join us as we delve into the unforgettable journey of Sasha Rodriguez, an AFS Gear sponsored athlete and respected instructor at Proformance Combat Sports gym in Yonkers, New York. Sasha shares her captivating account of attending the esteemed Karate 1 Premier League in Fukuoka, Japan, where she witnessed the pinnacle of karate competition on a global stage. Brace yourself for a tale of inspiration, camaraderie, and personal growth.

The trip to Japan exceeded all expectations as Sasha and her team had the privilege of spectating the electrifying three-day event that showcased the world’s top karate competitors. From awe-inspiring kata performances to intense kumite battles, Sasha was enthralled by the skill, precision, and determination displayed by the athletes. Being amidst the electrifying atmosphere of Fukuoka, they also explored the vibrant city, indulging in some shopping and cherishing reunions with friends.

However, the journey was not just about spectating. Sasha and her team spent two transformative weeks training under the guidance of Rika Usami, a renowned figure in the karate world. Immersed in the teachings of Shito Ryu, Inoue Ha, and Keishinkai, they gained profound insights into these traditional styles. The highlight of their training was the incredible honor of becoming an official branch of the style in New York, under the esteemed leadership of Sensei Jose Guerrero. With Sensei Guerrero achieving his 4th degree dan and Sasha obtaining her 2nd degree dan from the chief instructor, this milestone was a testament to their dedication and skill.

The experience left Sasha feeling embraced by the karate family, welcomed with open arms and a shared passion for the martial art. Back in New York, they proudly carry the torch of their newly established official branch, which sets them apart as one of only two branches in the entire United States. It’s a significant accomplishment and a testament to their commitment to preserving and spreading the essence of karate.

Looking ahead, Sasha and her team eagerly anticipate future opportunities to train with their newfound karate family in Japan. The collaboration between the dojo in New York and their Japanese counterparts will continue to flourish through regular exchanges, summer camps, and shared learning experiences.

Sasha’s remarkable trip to Japan for the Karate 1 Premier League has not only enriched her martial arts practice but has also deepened her understanding of the karate community worldwide. Through dedication, perseverance, and a shared love for karate, she exemplifies the empowerment and growth that the art brings to practitioners of all backgrounds.

Don’t miss the full account of Sasha’s transformative trip, as she shares her personal insights, heartfelt moments, and the profound impact it had on her karate journey and her role as an instructor at Proformance Combat Sports gym.

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