Ariel Torres
Photo Courtesy: Ariel Torres

Ariel Torres, who recently claimed the United States' first Olympic medal in Karate with a bronze in Tokyo, has won his second consecutive Pan American Championship. Torres spent the years leading up to the pandemic dominating the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) world tour representing Team Revolution. After winning every major title in open sport karate competition including the AKA Warrior Cup, ISKA U.S. Open, and the Diamond Nationals, Torres has almost entirely shifted his focus to the World Karate Federation (WKF).

Joining Torres on the medal stand at the Pan American Championships in Uruguay was fellow American karateka Gakuji Tozaki, who claimed silver. Tozaki and Torres currently hold the 9th and 11th positions in the WKF male kata rankings, making them the highest-ranking Americans in the world.

Ariel Torres

Ariel Torres has been a nearly unstoppable force in the traditional forms division on the open sport karate circuit for several years and currently represents Team Revolution. His combination of technical skill, power, and showmanship has enabled him to extend his success to highly competitive World Karate Federation events, including a defeat of the great Antonio Diaz to become the 2019 Pan American Champion.

His continued training under the widely-respected Sensei Robert Young of Kenseikan Dojo in Miami helped Torres carry his momentum to a win at the Paris qualifier in June of this year. His status on Team USA resulted in a spot in the iconic Got Milk? promotional campaign and an appearance on Good Morning America. The countless hours of training and promotion for the Tokyo Olympics all came to fruition on Friday.

On August 6th, Ariel Torres became the first American to win an olympic medal in karate. He once again faced Venezuelan legend Antonio Diaz in the bronze medal match and was able to claim victory by just under four tenths of a point. Not only is this a major accomplishment for Torres, but it is something the entire sport karate community can be proud of. His medal is the first olympic hardware won by a sport karate competitor since 1988, when two-time Diamond Nationals champion Arlene Limas won a gold medal in Taekwondo.

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