Matsushita put his abilities on display Aug. 6 at the Shotokan Karate of America's 55th annual Karate Exhibition and Tournament, which was held at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Along with earning a first-place gold in the men's Individual Open class, he also took home a silver in the Team competition.
Battling a variety of opponents, Matsushita was able to advance to the finals. In the competition, there are no specific weight classes or age groups, instead, competitors of all ages and sizes do battle. Most of the competitors Matsushita faced were from 21-35, and ranked from first- to fourth-degree black belt.
"It's quite tricky to win," Matsushita said. "It's a whole combination or a myriad of things like technique, rhythm, timing, tempo, experience, confidence, psyche, ability to read your opponent, body language, expression, patience, instinct, mental focus, mental game, heart, spirit … and of course lots of luck."
In order to earn a spot in the annual tournament, all fighters had to earn spots in regional competitions: West Coast, Midwest, East Coast and Canada. In the Aug. 6 event, fighters came from as far north as Vancouver, and as far east as Manhattan and the Bronx.
The event was part of the annual Nisei Week festivities based in Little Tokyo. Aside from several local tournaments held, the Nisei Week karate competition is our only public annual tournament.
The open tournament is not only the longest-running karate competition in the United States, but it continues to be the only one in which women compete directly against men. Nisei Week started in 1934 and is an annual seven-day celebration of Japanese arts and culture.