Hoshi excels in martial arts at national level

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Contributed by Yuki Hoshi

Sophomore martial artist Yuki Hoshi trains to compete with the United States national team in the Junior World Championships. The championships will be hosted in Japan in October 2020.

It is hard to believe that when she was a child, sophomore Yuki Hoshi would play a game of kicking her father around; now she is a nationally-ranked and internationally competing karate star.

When Hoshi is not in school, she works with the Japan Karate Association of Boston in Coolidge Corner, known as JKA, to advance her skills. Recently, she placed second overall in the women’s category at a regional tournament and competed in an international competition three years ago in Ireland. She also passed her second-degree black belt test and will compete in Japan for the United States national team at Junior World Championships in October 2020.

For Hoshi, training can often be a reprieve from outside troubles.

“If I have a bad day, I know I can always go to training and I’ll come out of it feeling refreshed,” Hoshi said.

According to senior Yuna Sato, a friend of Hoshi’s who studies karate with her, Hoshi is diligent in improving her skills.

“She’s incredibly dedicated,” Sato said. “Especially in karate because it requires a lot of work on perfecting your technique and stuff like that, and she’s really been working hard at it.”

JKA consists of two styles of karate called “forms” and “fighting.” Hoshi prefers the forms routines called kata, which is a routine of specific movements that simulate an attack.

“From what I’ve seen in karate, people think it’s a lot about strength, but it’s more about the difference between how much power you can put into one moment versus how relaxed you can be in the next,” Hoshi said.

Hoshi and Sato’s instructor, Eiji Toryu, trains them in the sport. Toryu said Hoshi is a leader for the younger students in the dojo, often helping out in the front line.

“She trains hard,” Toryu said. “She comes to class maybe 20 or 30 minutes before and does extra stretching and extra practice.”

According to Hoshi, she has always been an athletic person, often preferring to play outside when she was younger. She swam in elementary school and expected to continue swimming in high school. But starting her sophomore year, Hoshi shifted her focus to JKA because she realized she had more of a future in karate.

In addition to karate, Hoshi dances and co-leads the Popcorn Club. She said her background and love for dance helps her in her kata routines, which she finds similar to a dance routine.
Hoshi identifies as Japanese and feels the discipline of training with JKA karate helps her connect back to that culture.

“I’ve done other martial arts as well, and karate has been my favorite because the mindset, the culture and being able to reconnect to that is really important to me,” Hoshi said.

Toryu said Hoshi’s confidence is key to her successes in karate.

“She has confidence. She became a black belt and is going for her second-degree,” Toryu said. “Karate needs a lot of concentration, and a kind of a spiritual, mental attitude may help.”

In karate, there is a hierarchy of respect based on ranking and age. A student who is at a higher level has more opportunities for certain skills and special training. Hoshi said she likes the idea of having more opportunities as she progresses through her rankings.

“Personally for me, it was quite comforting. It’s something that I slid into very easily,” Hoshi said.
A long term goal and dream of Hoshi is to one day have a shot at making the Olympic team. Sato thinks this dream is a realistic goal for Hoshi.

“She’s really good,” Sato said. “I think whatever she chooses to do with her future in regards to karate, I think she’ll excel at it.”