At TCRN, we decided to highlight Valuable Women of Costa Rica, although we would say that they all are, taking into account that each story is different, just like their teachings, even the methods of achieving their dreams, but they have something in common: courage.
On this occasion, we highlight the lawyer Catalina Rivera, who is also an athlete, a karate expert specialized in the Kyokushin style, which is why today she is ranked 20th on the planet and ranking #17 in the -55 kg category. The young Tica is considered the best in America, because those who currently surpass her are from Europe and Asia.
“Being in the ranking was quite a surprise for me. I never imagined that I would occupy one of the positions with such a short time of being here. I feel grateful to God, to all the people who have supported me, to my colleagues, with life. It’s just one more step, and I receive it with great humility and great motivation to continue working towards my goal, always hand in hand with God’s plans for me”.
Some will wonder about Kyokushin, known as one of the traditional forms of karate-do, its teaching methodology focused on technique, form and combat. But the latter is done gradually until full contact is reached.
It is worth staking, that in combat no protection is used other than thin shin guards and the winner of the combat is the one who deals the most abilities in two minutes.
We talked with Cata a few days ago to tell us what is beyond the athlete, known for her winning spirit and for her success in being among the best in the world. In the end, she is only human, a woman who fights for her dreams, she has had good and bad times, always managing to move forward, studious and disciplined.
A happy childhood full of family memories
Rivera is from Cartago, she lived in this area of Costa Rica until 2011 she got married and moved to Curridabat. Over time divorcing and continued in Curridabat, until deciding to leave for Spain, today residing in Barcelona.
About her childhood, she tells us about various memories that came to her mind, affirming in turn being very happy!
She remembered going to meetings with her dad and to games with cousins and brothers, “we lived in a small condominium, my father’s brothers and us, so it was beautiful. We would climb a medlar tree in the patio, would play with water pistols, and throw eggs at the neighbors’ houses,” saying with a laugh.
Regarding the teachings of her parents, Cata emphasized that she has a connection from another world with her father, “we have a very nice relationship and we are very close. I have learned everything in life from him, he has taught me to value time and life, to be patient, to let go of the things that make you more heavy on the way. It has taught me to be conciliatory, to value peace, to believe in myself, not to give up, to fight for my dreams, to value myself as a person.”
She also nostalgically considers that from her father she learned to be a hard worker, to understand that things are earned, that each step counts, that people are valued and respected, and help is also offered.
She highlighted her mother’s teachings, mainly not to be still, to take advantage of every moment doing things that we like, “to be strong, but also show the affectionate side with the people we really love. Loyalty, honesty and sincerity as well they are fundamental values. One of the things that I have learned the most from her is the love and affection for family and the love of being close to God.”For her, the parents have been the angels that God has given her on earth, reason for being and greatest motivation.
Catalina Rivera defines herself as a study lover and the facts confirm it, because in everything she has decided to do, she has obtained honorable mentions.Studying Law (just like her father) at the EscuelaLibre de Derecho, a career that culminated in 2006. In 2007, she began her first master’s degree at the same university, in Business Administration and Law.
In 2008, she specialized in Notaries and Law Registration, which was already mandatory to be a Public Notary in Costa Rica
In 2009, she began her specialization in Alternative Conflict Resolution at the Inter-American University. Becoming interested in that area because at the end of 2007 she did a Negotiation Workshop at Harvard “in which I realized that negotiating was my thing. I think that people have the ability to talk and resolve differences without having to expose them to a third party for them to decide”.She has taken several Conciliation courses, counting that in 2018 also specializing in Labor Conciliation at the Costa Rican Bar Association.
In 2020, during the pandemic, she began a virtual Master’s Degree on Occupational Risk Prevention at the University of La Rioja, defending her final work last year (2022).She has just completed a Certification as Chief Happiness Officer at the University of La Rioja, as Promoter of corporate happiness.
She also did not miss the opportunity while in Spain, to learn through a new Master’s Degree in Corporate Responsibility and Leadership at the OBS Business School and University of Barcelona.
Her experience in law, beyond her studies, comes from working with her father and colleague for many years, from 2003 as an assistant, until 2018. Then she worked at the law firm ASEJUR, then they called her from Consortium Legal in 2019 and was there until 2021. Currently, she works at the firm 0Arias Law and focuses on specializing in Labor Law
Trajectory as an athlete
Rivera has practiced Kyokushin Karate since 2009, which she notes today as a lesson of life, subsequently expressing that “it is never too late when happiness is great”, because since she was a child, martial arts caught her attention, because of her brother, who saw him go to Taekwondo classes.As a child, she practiced and competed in swimming, then as a teenager, in tennis, and in turn, at school, she was also in soccer, athletics, and basketball teams.
She has won a large number of fights, including the most recent the British Open, as well as the Kyokushin KWF Spain Championship, where the Costa Rican karate fighter won first place in the -55 kg category.
It was Cata’s fifth participation in the Championship, which brought together more than 350 competitors, 50 karate academies and counted with the presence of countries from four continents.
Are there any Tico or international character that you admire related or not to your professional or sports area?
Her parents and siblings are the main characters that Cata admires, she then mentioned the Sensei, Jonathan Tineo, “not only for being a legend of kyokushin karate, for his quality as an athlete, but also because he is a great human being, because of his way of being and his humility”.
Finally, another person she admires is Emma Markwell, karate fighter, world champion, one of Catalina’s favorite fighters. “I admire her discipline with which she has managed to be what she is, with effort, I have seen her go to train after a whole day of work; she is a great person and friend. She is like my karate sister, she has always been there for me helping and supporting me which I appreciate”.
Difficult situations and how have you dealt with them?
Through the pleasant conversation we had with the Costa Rican athlete, she told us about two situations that have marked her life in the last 16 years. One, it was a family situation in her opinion, very hard for all the members, in which they came out stronger than ever. And the other was her divorce, “One gets married thinking that it is for life and well, because of things you realize that it is better to separate, that in the end it was not achieved, that you have to make decisions and start a new life again. I always had my family to support me and they were my backing in the end, I see everything as necessary experiences to grow”.
Cata, is without a doubt a Valuable TicoWoman, even though she is currently in Spain. Her life story is the reflection of a brave woman who always seeks to update herself, motivate herself and be the best version in any area where she works. For her, in the case of karate, “she will never stop learning and improving,” she said needing to win (world) championships, which is why she is in Europe, working day by day, step by step.
Professionally, she wants to contribute to the creation of healthy and sustainable companies, not to mention wanting to complete her last Master’s Degree in Alternative Conflict Resolution.Bravo Cata, you are, Tico pride!