Colombians Glatenfer Escobar and Miguel Bermúdez are reigning world champions in nage-no-kata. They won the 2022 world title in Krakow, ahead of Japanese pair Yosuke Akasaka and Daisuke Wakana, just a few points behind them.

To arrive well prepared for the 2023 World Kata Championships being held on 28th and 29th October, ready to defend their title, 48 year old Escobar, known by his friends as Tato, and 26 year old Miguel Bermúdez have packed their judogi ready for a long trip. Tato had just competed in and won the title at the Pan American Kata Championships in Guadelajara, a great way to kick off a period of Kata development.

A journey of a month and thousands of kilometres, beginning at home in Pereira, Colombia, sees the pair travelling to Udine in Italy to spend 4 weeks studying and training with kata expert Pierluigi Comino, who welcomed them to the historic tatami of the Benedetti Palasport, on which the great Katsuyoshi Takata also taught in the past.

Tato and Miguel with the kata teacher in Udine, Italy.

Every day Tato, Miguel and teacher Mr Comino are performing, adjusting, analysing, correcting, repeating and discussing with patience, passion, humility and determination. During this time, the pair also gave a lesson to the host club while also giving an exhibition in nearby Spilimbergo, for the regional federation.

Colombia is very proud of Tato and Miguel’s effort and results and is looking forward to the paid completing their journey with a direct flight to Abu Dhabi to compete, before heading home to Colombia, perhaps with a new medal to show to family and friends.

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