Rita Pivoriunaite – Lithuanian beauty, socialite, a participant in popular international television projects
“Together with the dolphins” and “Dancing with the Stars”, with seven years in Kyokushinkai karate, and has a lot of titles in both discipline kumite and kata. In the spring of 2016, Rita took second place on the TV show “Together with the dolphins”, and in June she had no equal in lightweight category and on the tatami at the 1st KWU European Championship in Serbia. We could not pass up such amazing athlete and chatted with her – specially for SuperKarate.RU readers, an exclusive interview with Rita Pivoriunaite.
Rita Pivoriunaite – Lithuania, 2nd Dan ShinkyokushinkaiCoach: Paulius KlapatauskasShe is multiple champion of Lithuania in the kumite and kata; Five-times European champion in the lightweight category in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, and once in the kata in 2010;Bronze medalist of the lightweight category on World cup 2013;Top 8 in the World Open championship 2011.
Rita, it was nice to see you in an international summer camp in Kamchia. You are the first swallow of your country on this camp. You flew to explore?
It was really a pleasure for me to participate in this camp organized by KWU and I am grateful for this opportunity. European championship in Serbia was first KWU event I had possibility to participate in and after my “not bad” performance I was invited to take part in camp in Bulgaria together with other champions, instructors and other karatekas. I always try to accept all possibilities I am offered and enjoy them. This was really one of those I am very happy about. Scouting, exploring? Hmmm, I had an idea of getting some new experience and meeting great people.
Camps in Kamchia each time became bigger and bigger. What are the advantages you could mention?
I am always very excited to see many karatekas in one place, the atmosphere, the “family” feeling is amazing in such events. Due to the fact that this camp was not some kind of national team camp during preparation period, it was just about pluses. This camp is for everyone – more or less experienced karatekas, children, members of national teams, so I can see just positive side of this. Less experienced and perspective young fighters can meet their “superstars” and fight or even talk with them. While more experienced fighters can have different training and partners from many countries. What is more, they can share their experience with others. I am happy that karate is becoming more and more popular, but at the same time not loosing the core values – respect, etiquette, spirit, discipline, positive environment. This is what I saw very clearly in Bulgaria.
We have such big karate events in Lithuania too. Lithuanian federation almost every year is awarded by sport authorities for most massive event in Lithuania – Lithuanian summer camp, which has around 900 participants of different age categories in 3 weeks (let’s have in mind that our population is about 3 millions and every dojo has their own summer camps too). So I am always very excited about such massive and positive events.
Your Shihan Romas Vitkauskas and the entire Lithuanian organization are highly rated in the European and worldwide Kyokushin. And how itself feels martial arts in your country?
Lithuanian kyokushin federation is very strong federation. Fighters of our small country reach best results in European and World class tournaments. We had such fighters as Margarita Ciuplyte, Donatas Imbras, Paulius Klapatauskas (who is my trainer), we have in our team Lukas Kubilius, Inga Mikstaite, who are one of best fighters in the world arena. Karate is one of the most popular sport in Lithuania, just our second “religion” basketball has more members. What is also very important for me personally, I am always proud to be a member of kyokushin karate in Lithuania because our fighters are respected for their discipline, high values and intellect. I am always very grateful to Romas Vitkauskas, our leader of such strong and big organization. Many sport organizations, even members of federations of Olympic sports always mention Romas as one of the best leaders in sports world in Lithuania. I could say – he is the best. His efforts, authority and leadership are what we all need a lot.
Rita, you’re more like a model than a Kyokushin fighter. How did you get into the sport?
Thank you for compliments, however, I don’t feel so self-confident. I started kyokushin karate training accidentally – my brother was doing this for several years and I was a little sister who enjoyed doing everything what her older brother did. So once I came to the trainer (I was 6-7 years old) and asked if I can join them next time. To tell you the truth, I think I didn’t understand very well what this sport was about, for a child, a little boyish girl this was just fun.
In Kyokushin kata competitions the rapidly develop. What successes have you in this discipline?
Kata always took a big part in my kyokushin life. My first competition when I was 9 years old was Lithuanian kata championship. Of course then kata was not very popular, so out of 1 competitors I took the 1st place. This is the pre-history. I am happy that kata discipline is becoming very popular. And now I can say that I am European kata champion (2010 in Spain I won 2 gold medals – kumite -55kg and kata), have the 2nd place too. I always take part both in kumite and kata Lithuanian and European championships. On one hand, these are completely different disciplines, on the other hand, I strongly believe that they help each other. Kihon, kata are the basics. If you are good in kata, often means you have very good basics, while we all know that everything starts from best basics.
You’re already train Thai box, do you have the desire to perform in the ring, because the competition in women’s boxing and kick boxing is not very high?
Yes, that is true – I am having Muay Thai training for few years, I was also training boxing for several years too and I enjoy all this. Boxing, Muay Thai helps a lot to reach some goals in training process, improve yourself in something that you have to improve – this can me moving, feeling distance, combinations, different techniques. Every fighting sport has its specific parts and I always think that you can take the best you need from every sport and adapt it to yours. However, I am kyokushin karate fighter, I am doing this all my life. I know that I am best here. In competitions I fight according to kyokushin rules, just take something what can be used in kyokushin from others. What is more, it is so much fun to change something, to train with other people, meet other fighters. As my coach Paulius Klapatauskas always say, if you want to reach best results, you have to enjoy the process. Having different training makes the process much more interesting for me.
Looking at you is hard to imagine that you are from morning till evening devotes itself to Kyokushin and locked your beauty in dogs (kimono). How much do you train?
Thank you once more. I am training two times a day from Monday to Friday – I have morning training and evening training. Sunday is always a day off. Saturday – depends on the period of preparation. Time between training is for work, however, this is the hardest part during season.Are you tried other sports?
If not talking about competitions – I am still doing that. Muay Thai, Boxing is what I love. When I was a child, I was doing gymnastics, basketball (but karate was always number one). When I find some time, I love skiing, sometimes on holidays try to play tennis, had some training with professionals, however, will continue this more serious later.
I want to know more about you. What are your passions in life besides Kyokushin?
Sports really take the big part of my life. However, what I really love and what is my priority when I find some free time – it is traveling. If I have a free weekend or the competition period is over I always find the chance to go abroad. I also love mountain skiing, however, while I am competing, don’t let myself to do that often. Sometimes it’s better to be more careful. When I read books, I do that in English, in order to improve the language at the same time.
At the training camp in Kamchia you cool to a ride on the tractor, although it was the first time for you. And what car you ride and what more vehicles you can manage?
Yes, that tractor was really much fun. Somehow imagined that only fast cars can be such fun. After posting that amazing picture received many comments, even jokes from “serious people” that this can be used for PR for Lithuanian agriculture. Looks like I have to try more unusual “things” that have engine.
I love good cars, maybe this is because I spent all my life surrounded by many men in karate world. I am driving Mercedes Benz C Class and I am happy about this car. Before I had Audi A5 S-line Coupe and the most amazing thing about this car was that it was a real karate girl car – with embroidered kyokushin logos inside. Loved this! However, I have some dreams, maybe not very girlish, related with cars.
Recently has appeared the Facebook a video where you ride on a dolphin and even doing flips with his nose. How long have you been preparing this performance with dolphins?
“Dolphins and Stars” is international TV project, which was also shown in Russia. This show was amazing experience. I am happy that I was invited by television with other well-known people in Lithuania. Eight of us had possibility to swim with dolphins and get ready for shows for 3 months. And after this project I can say that dolphins are the most amazing and clever animals that I have ever met. We did crazy things, had lots of fun and adrenaline, I won 2nd place and I can say that karate helped even here – our discipline and concrete movements helped me to make dolphins understand me very clearly.
Some time ago I also had a possibility to participate in dancing project “Dance with the stars” which lasted for half year. This was also amazing experience, but not easy task.
It is true that you still have not talked this spring in Russian? Talking with you in it difficult to believe.
This is true. I wanted to start learning Russian language for a very long time, however “tomorrow” always won. So finally I started and we are working hard with my teacher for already few months. EC in Serbia was first chance for me to speak with someone in Russian language. This wasn’t easy at all. However, I was excited to see the face of our general secretary Aleksejus Svesnikovas, who had no idea that I finally can understand and speak in Russian. We know each other for ages, go to every competition since I was 7 years old and he loved making jokes in Russian because I didn’t understand anything at all. Now, Aleksejus, I understand!
How do you sum your way in Kyokushin? All these years you had devoted most of your life and have you had periods when you took a break?
I know many fighters who don’t skip any competition, who train hard every day all year long and do that for 20 years or more with any break. However, I am the one who needs some calmer periods from competitions. From my biggest titles it is seen that I have some breaks from competing in kumite tournaments (EC champion of 2010 kumite and kata, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 in KWU), however, this doesn’t mean at all that I just have rest. I train intensively, I try new things. I just have to give some rest to my head in order I want to win again. Firstly you become a champion in your head, just after that you really become a champion.
Karate somehow limits you?
I think it depends on how you accept all this. I am very grateful karate for what I have in my life and for unbelievably interesting life I live. I strongly believe that karate gives me many possibilities, amazing experiences and projects in my life. I meet lots of new people, I travel a lot. And what is very important, I have the field where I can improve myself every day. That is why I love kyokushin. So looks like vice versa – karate just gives me many possibilities.
Do you have a reference point, after which you’re not planning performances on the tatami?
This is a very tricky question. I think every fighter wonders about this time to time. I told some thoughts to journalists once 4 years ago and according to media, I am coming back to sports every year now. So I will be careful with this answer. And promise to tell you when I stop competing as soon as I decide. However, I am sure I will not be gone from karate life and will be very active from other side.
Margarita Ciuplyte, Lithuanian famous champion, after the end of her fighting career moved into Lithuanian President’ security service. What are your plans for the future after the karate?
I always work and have many activities and ideas, so I don’t think this will be some kind of big problem. All members of our team work in some companies or as trainers. So all of us will just have to continue what we do or choose some other path.
Kyokushin – powerful and contact karate. How do you feel about pain on the tatami? You do not fear that you will be hurt or damage on the face?
It is always strange for me to look how others are fighting when I am not competing. Especially girls. I always think that I’m not fighting so hard, so strong. So looks like I feel more pain when I just look than when I really fight. I am sure that none of fighters feel pain during the fight, except those moments when you have really serious injuries. If you want to win you cannot feel any pain or any fair that you can be injured or you can loose.
Now many karate girls look on the tatami very attractive. Good hair, beautiful manicure and pedicure … How do you prepare for the tournament, from an aesthetic point of view?
I think it’s so great that girls look good on tatami! 🙂 this makes karate not only strong and interesting sport (this is what men give to this sport), but also beautiful and attracting sport (that’s what we, girls, do) 🙂 Usually I don’t use any make-up, but lip gloss is absolutely necessary always :)) I do my hair always in the same way, don’t have many choices because have long and strong hair. Manicure and pedicure? It’s always must do, if it’s competitions or not. So I think I don’t do anything special, just try to look normal for the occasion which is called competition. We do more on Sayonara parties I think.
Your life motto?
If you do something, do it in best way!
Enjoy and love the life you live!