After ruling made-for-pandemic e-tilts, De los Santos wants to get even better
He’s churning out e-kata gold medals on a regular basis but given the chance, James De los Santos would like come back to to the “old normal” of face-to-face action.
The Filipino karatedo stalwart, who found a niche in made-for-pandemic e-tournaments, noted the different vibe doing his routines in a crowed hall as compared to an empty dojo with just his cameras and laptop in front of him.
“It would be nice to compete in actual competitions again,” he told the Inquirer on Saturday. “But unless there’s a successful vaccine produced, I will continue to focus on my upcoming virtual competitions.”
He just collected his 19th title in a span of eight months—the e-Champions Trophy World Series No. 2—as he continued to lead world rankings in the male kata seniors category.
The 30-year-old De Los Santos is looking to outdo himself in each and every kara routine he’s executing.
“I consider competing with myself every time,” he said. “I strive to aim for a higher score than my previous performances.”
De Los Santos said he has two “masterpiece” katas in his arsenal, which he uses when faced with tough competition: Unsu from Shotokan and Sansai from Genseiryu.
The katas’ delicate mechanics score bigger points from the judges who account for technicality (stance, execution and timing) as well as athleticism (power, speed and balance).
“Unsu I learned back in 2005,” De Los Santos said. “I learned Sansai two years ago then learned more about it when I went to Japan last year.”
His sensei, Masa Saito, helped him polish his execution of those two top shelf katas along with Saito’s father Kazuo. The father-son team also coach world champion Nozomi Yamanaka.