Monty Burton’s Perspective and Impressions On His First Kata World Championships

 

Monty Rahmon Burton

Monty Rahmon Burton

Just wanted to send in my impressions on participation in this year’s Judo World Kata Championships.  It was an amazing honor representing the United States of America.  I cannot underscore this feeling enough.  When you grow up as an athlete; football, wrestling, track, extreme sports, gymnastics, martial arts; most would have this as a bucket list item.  Anytime you get the chance to compete for your country, in what is the pinnacle of competition for your sport, it is a wonderful thing!

 

The next feeling I wish to express is gratitude, for my fellow team mates.  What an awesome team.  I was impressed with our top representative, Kuniko Takeuchi sensei.  She was not only knowledgeable and helpful, she was a joy to be around.  With a sense of humor and gentleness that I came to respect by the end of the trip.  Our team manager, Barbara Houston-Shimizu sensei, was a pleasure to be around.  The conversations around Judo and life outside Judo were invaluable. It was a wonderful feeling having someone there supporting us in all things related to this competition.  Taking on this role was critical to the team’s success.

 

I really enjoyed training, hanging, and competing with my fellow competitive team mates.  The veteran teams of Diane Tamai Jackson sensei and Karl Tamai sensei, and Robert Gouthro sensei and Lisa Capriotti sensei were so supportive, helpful, encouraging and gracious.  They really enhanced my experience, both competitively and non-competitively.  It was also good to see another rookie team participating this year: Bryce Oishi sensei and Chase Oishi sensei.  I was impressed with their competitive spirit and commitment to Judo.  I must mention our Judo Mom Mrs. Oishi.  Thanks for all your support!

 

As for the competition… Wow!  The level of skill was amazing.  As Wayne and I trained for this event, we watched a lot of videos.  We read so much on our kata.  None of that compared to training/warming up next to five time World Champions.  In videos you can see intensity, but being next to them you can “feel” the intensity.  What an experience!  There are things you just pick up in person that you cannot glean from watching video.

 

Then there was the clinic, where we got coaching from those five time World Champions.  Knowing what they focus on…like as minute  as the placement of your toe on the mat.  Not only that, but having the ability to get help from former World competitors was a bonus.  We got to work with the Japanese, Germans, Australians, Canadians, and others that although I did not know where they came from or we had a hard time communicating, the Judo was the bridge.

 

My takeaways are these:  (1) now that my Judo soul/spirit has been awakened, it now has a hunger that is palpable, (2) I am also proud to be the first African-American to compete at a World Kata Championship! What an achievement personally, for the organization, and the country, and (3) as the United States starts to realize its objectives, it is great knowing that it is not only pushing its veterans, but building up the next generation.  Having rookie teams gain this kind of experience is essential to propelling the United States towards podium finishes.  I was very pleased that two rookie teams were invited this year.

 

Regards,

Monty Burton

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