Ayano Nakamura belongs to the most gifted karateka of her generation. She has won the All Japan Championship kata title several times. But not her athletic achievements make her the “queen of kata”. For her, karate is a means for self-cultivation and -development. Therefore, karate is more for her then a martial art. It is budo. By Dr. Christian Tribowski
Karate starts and ends with courtesy. It´s important to observe courtesy and compassion in your heart.Ayano Nakamura
Ayano Nakamura: The Kata Prodigy
On the first glimpse, Ayano Nakamura appears to be an average twenty-something Japanese woman. That is to say, if one does not know Ayano, she can be easily underestimate. Her humbleness and reserved behavior create such impression. But behind her inconspicuous facade hides one of the most successful and most extraordinary Karatekas of the world.
Like no other, she has dominated the JKA Individual Kata competitions for the last five years. Among her victories are:
- 61st JKA All Japan Karate Championship, 2018
- 60th JKA All Japan Karate Championship, 2017
- Funakoshi Gichin Cup 14th Karate World Championship Tournament, 2017
- 59th JKA All Japan Karate Championship, 2016
- 58th JKA All Japan Karate Championship, 2015
- JKA 1st Asia Oceania Junior, Senior Karate Championship Tournament, 2015
By doing so, she took over the reign as Queen of Kata from Miki Nakamachi, who paused her competitive career for a longer maternity leave.
Secret of Ayano Nakamura: Mental Strength
To understand what makes Ayano Nakamura´s style so special and so successful, one only has to watch one of the plenty videos of her on Youtube. Her katas are characterized by very crisp and sharp techniques. Once on the Tatami, she carries an aura of true fighting spirit. But this does not come for free. Therefore, it requires tremendous effort to reach such a stage. In an interview for an All Nippon Airways (ANA) promotion video she revealed her rigorous trainings regime. So, to execute an excellent kata, one has to understand it. But:
“We have to practice them before we can understand them.”
Therefore, only a vigorous kata training leads to deeper insights.
Moreover, it also generates an other effect that Ayano Nakamura deems as highly important: an increase of mental strength. For her, this is one of the most relevant aspects when it comes to competitions. Without mental strength success is unthinkable. But why is that the case? Ayano Nakamura explains:
“It has a lot to do with mental strength. You must have a clear image of your goal.”
Everybody, who watches the following video about Ayano Nakamura at the JKA All Japan Championship 2018, can see that in practice. Above all, she she maintains an unprecedented precision and focus throughout all her katas. In short, she displayes all characteristics of a true Queen of Kata.
Ayano Nakamura´s Value of Shotokan Karate
However, Karate means more to Ayano Nakamura. It is more than mental strength, kata, and competitions. It is an ethic and a way to civilized behavior. She explains:
“We try to always exchange greetings and respond to others properly.”
Therefore, Ayano Nakamura takes the etiquette within a Dojo very serious. In her understanding, moral behavior and acknowledgment of others must be learnt. They do not emerge by themselves. Karate actively fosters this attitude. Both aspects combined – mental strength and a morally attitude – build the core of her Karate. She expressed this conviction in one of the most beautiful sentence ever said about the true nature and value of Karate:
“Through Karate, we learn compassion and the courage to overcome obstacles.”
Karate-Do Representative for All Nippon Airways
We already mentioned Ayano Nakamura´s interview with ANA. In 2017, ANA launched a new marketing campaign called Dou: Is Japan Cool? The campaign assembled eight masters of Japanes martial arts (Judo, Kendo, Kyudo, Iaido, Karate Do) and arts (Sado, Noh Theater, Nihon Buyo, Shodo). Ayano Nakamura represented Karate-Do. Above all, she did an excellent job.
Her work as a Karate-Do representative for ANA created to major results. Firstly, is the above mentioned video interview. Secondly, comes result with a more extravagant artistic twist. ANA produced with all representatives of the Japanese arts 4D video, as you can see below. These videos are also used on the ANA campaign website as a technical study of the karate motions.
In conclusion, we are pretty sure to see more stunning projects of Ayano Nakamura in the future.