Okubo: Mind over matter

Kari Okubo gutted her way through to a second state judo title. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser
Kari Okubo gutted her way through to a second state judo title. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser

Top seed Jaclyn Fontanilla of Kamehameha was chasing her third title, but was outlasted by Kari Okubo of Aiea in the 154 girls final.

Okubo overcame mental and physical hurdles — an injured right ankle — prior to the tourney. 

“I really had to fix my attitude this weekend. I was really down about facing a two-time state champion,” said Okubo, who was a defending champion in her own right. “I had to get a motivational talk from my parents. My parents told me I had to get my heart right with God. They told me whoever wanted it more would win. They said, ‘You have the heart of a champion.’ ”


Her ankle got treatment from her father, Garrett, a physical therapist. That was a huge benefit, gaining back some flexibility, but it wasn’t at full strength, so she shifted tactics. 


“I usually use drop seo nage (hand throw), but I just osotogari. I had to use throws that work for me,” Okubo said. 

“It’s all about the heart. I have an amazing coach, Dustin Iwabuchi.”

Kari Okubo got a helping hand on her way to winning the 154-pound judo title on Saturday. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser
Kari Okubo got a helping hand on her way to winning the 154-pound judo title on Saturday. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser

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