MEET AINA KOBINATA
- Profession: Manager, JKFan Karate Magazine / Personal Assistant to WKF General Secretary
- Karate grade(belt): 4th Dan Black Belt, Gojuryu
- Her Dojo: World Karate Academy, Saitama, Japan
Karate in Japan:
- Tell us more about your job of being a professional Karate reporter?
JKFan Karate Magazine is monthly magazine first published in 2003 by CHAMP Co., Ltd. It covers WKF/JKF championships, stories of top athletes/coaches, the introduction of Kata/Kumite techniques, and information of training & conditioning. I have been an editor of JKFan since 2007, deputy chief editor from 2010 to 2014, and chief editor from 2015 to 2017. Most readers of JKFan are from Japan as all articles are written in Japanese, but we are grateful to have fans in non-Japanese countries.
- Do you think this profession is not so common in other countries?
I guess there are not so many monthly magazines focused on Karate in the first place. So I don’t think this kind of job is so common. However, it is nice that now anybody can post Karate related information or opinions to the world through SNS.
- What is current status of Karate in Japan?
Since around 2015, a few years before Karate was ratified as the Olympic event for Tokyo 2020, Karate has been becoming more popular. For the promotion of Olympic bidding, Karate was introduced by media such as TV, newspaper, internet, etc. so that more non-Karateka found how exactly Karate was. Of course among Karateka in Japan, they gained new dream to be Olympic champions.
- Do Japanese people recognize the biggest Karate stars on the street?
Recently yes. It is not yet like baseball, the most popular sport in Japan, but as Karate players appear in various kinds of media, they are known by more people these days
You and Karate:
- How long have you been training Karate?
Since 2000. Firstly I entered Karate club of my high school at my age of 15. Then when I was 17 years old I joined a Dojo near from my home to continue Karate after graduation. My career of Karate is “hobby level” though I love to compete in both Kata and Kumite. In addition, I started Kobudo (weapon) which brings me lots of fun.
- Does Karate helped you in professional life?
Absolutely yes. Exactly, I can say that Karate experiences and job experiences help each other to improve myself. I can learn principles of life through Karate, both competition and training: to have an objective, make a plan and prepare, make efforts, do my best, sometimes deal with pain, control my body and mind etc. My job as Karate magazine reporter gave me opportunities to have the interview with champions. I was more than lucky to listen to their life history which made my view wider and deeper.
- Why Karate?
Firstly Kata gave me self-confidence. I used to feel inferior when I played sport, however, I gained confidence through learning new Kata. If Karate was composed of only Kumite, it should have been too tough for me to win. Secondly, I learned the value of efforts through Karate. Lastly, this is what I feel these days, I am happy to be able to express Japanese traditional culture using my own body. Oh, I have to add one more reason: I love Karate because through the sport my network spreads more and more.
- Is Karate martial art or sport for you?
Both. Furthermore, I can say Karate is also the culture of my country, effective tool of education, and something promotes people’s good health. Karate was originated in Okinawa as the martial art, to protect oneself or sometimes beat an opponent. And in the 1950s it has developed as a sport with organizing competition rules. Even though nobody can execute its original technique (otherwise opponent is hurt…), traditional succeeded knowledge such as the position of bones, posture, a tension of muscle, or breathing method let me learn how to create more power with just small movements.
- What do you think about Karate Do game?
That is a new way to promote Karate. I like the policy of Karate Do that never forgets mind of Karate. With the principal, the game has originality. As I wrote in the section “You and Karate,” Karate should preserve its tradition as a martial arts, besides I believe there was NO development without being a competitive sport which attracts people by unbelievable speed and beautiful attitude of discipline. I would like to send my best regard and appreciation to team Karate Do.
THANK YOU, AINA!
…and do not forget to #playkaratedo: