| James Giuliano
As the five identical flags were raised in front of him, James Giuliano let out a sharp, loud scream, releasing a great sense of triumph along with years of frustration and hard work. In that moment he had secured himself the third position in the Men’s Individual Kata at the 2010 Italian Karate Open, making Giuliano the first Australian to ever do so. All of his hard work and dedication throughout the past two decades had paid off as he defeated six of his seven opponents in the international competition and exposed Australia as a fierce competitor in the world of Kata.
In 2008, he came second in the Dutch open and the Moroccon Internation. His placing at the Italian Open 2010 gave him a spotlight on a world stage. “I finally broke into the big scene. That has been the most difficult thing to do for all Australian athletes. My achievement is a small step in the World Karate Federation but a necessary one to make it to the top” Giuliano said.
For the past five years, Giuliano has held the number one ranking in Australia for a senior male in Kata. Not only has he been a pioneer for the martial arts sport in Australia, he has also been a true role model and inspiration for a younger
generation of Australian karate fanatics.
Giuliano started karate at age six with his brothers and cousins for a bit of fun. As he made his way up through each level, Giuliano reached his current coach, Sensei Con Kassis who specializes in the discipline called kata. This is a form of karate focusing on pre arranged defensive & offensive applications. After being pushed into it by his father, Giuliano decided to quit kata for a year and tried his luck in tennis, cricket and football only to end up coming back to karate. “I missed it” Giuliano said. “And this time my parents didn’t push me, I came back on my own terms”.
Facing hurdles along the way, it took years of perseverance and commitment to reach the level that he’s at today.
Giuliano’s methodically scheduled week and training sessions require his every drop of concentration and are taken seriously by this athlete. His hours of practice and dedication have undeniably paid off as subtle differences in accuracy and precision and are reflected in his kata.
At the completion of a competition, Giuliano hands his medal to one of the younger competitors, hoping it will encourage and motivate them to reach their ambitions. The lucky and excited youth treasure the medal. For them, this gift is priceless.
Although Giuliano receives praise from every onlooker, he is his own biggest critic. This self proclaimed perfectionist films every competition and later rewinds, pauses and replays every move in slow motion, picking at the smallest details.
“Kata is my passion. I don’t know why I do it but when I don’t do it I don’t feel right. If I don’t train, I feel disappointed in myself and that’s when I start pushing myself. When I push myself I feel alive” he said.
Next stop in his busy schedule, Giuliano will be representing Australia in the World Championships which will be held in Serbia later on this year. “My goal will be to get a medal but I will need a lot of luck. The plan is to hit the top three within the next two world championships” he said.
Whatever the future may hold for James Giuliano, it is clear that this Australian has already left a mark on the international kata scene. His great accomplishment in the Italian Open has sparked interest and curiosity from all corners of the world. “Now everyone knows who I am” Giuliano said.
written by Anja Barisic