Teenage National Champion Defends Karate Title

From South Vancouver to Halifax, Yushi Nakajima is determined to win.


Reported by Amanda Poole

Perseverance and discipline are two qualities a 16-year-old karate national champion has mastered.

Yushi Nakajima who trains at West River Karate in South Vancouver, will be defending his title in kata, a series of detailed patterns and movements, at the 2018 Karate Canada National Championships starting March 9.

His competition is especially challenging this year because his opponent is older and more experienced with a black belt, unlike the brown belt wrapped around Nakajima’s waist.

SOUTH VANCOUVER, B.C.: February 28, 2018 – Yushi Nakajima, West River Karate, preparing for Nationals. Photo by Amanda Poole.


Hopeful that perseverance will pay off

With blue mats, bare feet and a banner of British Columbia worn across his heart, Nakajima stands poised in training as he prepares to defend his karate title.

“My expectations are to truly do my best. I have prepared a lot and trained a lot over the past two months so I am just hoping for my best performance,” said Nakajima before practice.

Kenny Lim, a sensei at West River Karate, has been training Nakajima for the past eight years and said he knew his pupil would be successful in karate.

“Nakajima has the ability to know what he wants and go for it,” Lim said.

A degree in discipline

For the young apprentice, training starts at the dojo five to six times a week and ends at home where he practises karate in his garage.

Nakajima attends an International Baccalaureate program which offers rigorous courses that are favoured by colleges. He has a heavy science and chemistry course load and is often the last one at home to go bed.

Unlike team sports, where everyone shares a loss or a win, in karate, the loss becomes personal said Nakajima’s father Kaz.

Before becoming so successful, his son swallowed his share of losses.

“Black belt is a white belt that never gave up”

“He wanted to practise more and finally he got to win,” Kaz said.

Nakajima said in all honesty he can be lazy sometimes, however, his accomplishments and sensei speak louder.

“Black belt is a white belt that never gave up,” Lim said.

Nakajima will be joined by nine other members from the West River Karate on the provincial team at the championships.

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