FLORENTIN MARINESCU: “MARTIAL ARTS MEANS HUMAN PERFORMANCE THAT YOU DO WITH YOURSELF, NOT WITH OTHERS. IN DOJO WE ENTER WITH THE JOY TO SUPPORT MUTUAL DEVELOPMENT”

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Florentin Marinescu, President of the Romanian Martial Arts Federation, is the most important personality from hierarchical point of view regarding the organizational structure in which most Ashihara-Karate practitioners in Romania activate. A man whose life is identified with martial arts and who has been pleased to talk to AK MASTERS in an interview.

AK MASTERS: – In Ashihara-Karate, although I think it’s a general issue in martial arts, there are many young athletes who give up practicing early enough. How can we prevent this situation?
FLORENTIN MARINESCU: – It’s something natural, but difficult to understand. We must realize that children must do sport to grow healthy and become good citizens. It may be a certain amount of time to participate in competitions, but – as many specialists say – this should be just a little vacation that you take in your martial arts career. When you have passed the age of performance, it’s necessary to make human performance. In fact, martial arts means human performance, which you do with yourself; you compete with yourself, not with others. The Japanese say: “Today be better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today”. As a result, I permanently prepare myself and I continually compete with myself. This is the difference between what martial arts offer and what we hear in different places when it comes to the idea of opponents; in a dojo we have partners. It’s more difficult to understand that we come with the joy of supporting each other to develop ourselves. Otherwise, if we are always opponents, if the purpose of our lives consists in always defeating someone, then the wonderful part of martial arts is lost.

– How would you characterize the involvement and pleasure in practicing martial arts of the youth? Are differences between the present generation and the one of 1980-1990?
– Very big differences! In the past there were those who were doing martial arts with pleasure; nowadays you rarely find such people. The most important reason why somebody begins practicing karate is the fact that medals can be won. Lots of coaches tell parents that their children have qualities and will become European / world champions, and in most of the cases this happens, because they are part of small international organizations with few competitors. Then, children are told that they are very good, but we lie with diplomas and worthless papers. Value is what we give to children and stays in them; they don’t need 30 diplomas or 20 medals, this not being the most important thing.

– How do you appreciate the possibility of introducing a full-contact contest at the Olympic Games? Are there any chances to materialize?
– Nowadays, the mercantile side is being introduced more and more into world sport. There are some unjustified Olympic sports, some that should have this status (but they don’t have it), and others that have been tried to be eliminated (such as wrestling), because they no longer have big audience. From my point of view, the Olympic Games are perhaps less than a world championship for each sport, but are an extraordinary show for the whole world. I’m one of those who signed the first request to the International Olympic Committee to accept karate. At the next year’s event in Japan, karate is an invited sport. Although I was convinced that France in 2024 will go further, being a world power in martial arts, it seems that the organizers’ desire is different, leaving only Judo and Taekwondo. Many years ago, I participated in some congresses and it was established that, in order to get to the Olympic Games, karate necessarily needs a specific sporting regulation. There are many worldwide organizations that have about the same rules, and the discussions were carried around three forms: non-contact, semi-contact (nowadays modern karate) and full-contact (Kyokushin, Ashihara, etc.). To that, you add kata and thus set the foundation for an Olympic Games’ regulation, with all the world’s organizations taking part. As long as everyone tries to impose its own will, things won’t work and consensus will never be reached.

– What does martial arts represent to you?
– I left from a boarding school and I found in martial arts the basis that I could stay, a stable ground that gave me education.

– Finally, how do you appreciate the existence of a website about Ashihara-Karate and a few words for my audience?
– It’s a good thing that we can find somewhere an area where everyone can express opinions. Unfortunately, we are discussing things that are too serious and too well set up to have opinions. We can have opinions when we get into the situation when we know quite a lot of things. It’s exactly how we talk about cancer or other extraordinary illness, and some high school students say what to do. Clearly, opinions are, in most cases, subjective, maybe not anchored in reality, and never sustained by anything serious. And you can get on such website to all sorts of injuries, disputes, ugly words… So, I think this website is good if the participants are people with education and character. If so, it’s a constructive thing.