Looking at Yuka Kobayashi, you wouldn't guess that she has a black belt in karate. She is very petite and has the girl next door look. Her appearances on TV in Japan have made her a celebrity. Keep in mind that she is about to have her 2ooth karate bout in competition. Yuka seems to delight in this and hopes that she encourages other young girls to take up the sport. She's busy in college too. She's in her fourth year and majoring in psychology. She was asked if psychology comes in handy during competition. She says she doesn't think too much during a match.
When did Yuka Kobayashi start studying karate? She said she was looking at activities during her second year in junior high. She tried softball, piano, penmanship, swimming and then looked at judo & karate and settled on karate. Was Yuka surprised ny the striking & kicking? She says it didn't apply in training at first but eventually started sparring. She also ran 1000 meters to build her endurance. It gets easier as she got used to the training. She also said she wasn't interested specifically in grappling but was interested in martial arts as a whole. She says her older brother is involved in karate too but they don't fight. Some of her friends had trouble accepting it though.
Over the following year, she got better at it and then started competing in local school tournaments. She won her first two matches in her first tournament and then lost. Losing was a big deal at the time but she says it made her better. It's also difficult fighting the same girls repeatedly. She has to find new ways to win. Then the pressure to win increased as she started competing in larger tournaments, not to mention the travel to out of town tournaments.
Does Yuka have a fear of being hit? Well sure, a little bit. but then she forgets about it. What about the media coverage? They don't teach you about that in karate lessons but she actually thought it was delightful when people started recognizing her. Yuka Kobayashi says that she is also looking at a future in the entertainment industry. She already has a DVD released and she's now known as the Karate Idol. But first she wants to have her 200th match and then go to the 2008 Olympics. Looks like the Karate Idol has a bright future no matter what she decides to do.