Dear NIKO,

I stepped out for the first time in an Ashihara-Karate dojo on a Saturday of April 1995, in Bucharest. Then I was almost 11 years old. I found out about this martial arts style due to a flyer received from sensei Petrică Bulmagă. We were many in that group at the beginning. Over a hundred! I wanted, like any other child, to be like Bruce Lee and do his techniques by jumping. If you had asked what Ashihara-Karate was, almost everyone would have said that it was something like Kyokushin, a full-contact style. You see, at that time we didn’t have your identity.

Pentru varianta în limba română, click aici!

I entered the band and soon learned that things were different from what I had imagined. But I went on. Probably because of the team, because the trainings were very hard. And I was just a kid. I was looking for plays, not serious things like all the positions and blows that were shown to me. I have evolved like anybody else through perseverance, even though I was often afraid. Emphasis was placed on a lot of physical strength and hardness. I remember that once we were visited by a sensei from Brașov. He puts us in ”kiba-dachi” stance for a long time. He walked among us, and when he passed by me, I’d relaxed and from nowhere I got a “gedan mawashi” of all beauty. I hit the floor, because the dojos didn’t have tatami at that time. Punishment! I stood up and continued.

At that time, my sensei linked his kimono with a brown belt, but he had the will to set aside many karate dojos in Bucharest. He was always in the dojo with us, though he began to have instructors. He made the Bucharest – Brașov shuttle, but this apparently didn’t bother him. Probably he was happy when he saw us growing, progressing and becoming united. Like a real family! We advanced in degrees. We also participated in cantonments. In summer we trained in parks under the curious eyes of people…

Then it happened that a certain sensei, named Necula, died. And I changed the club, following my coach, just as my colleagues. You know NIKO, it’s about the emotion that creates that link between people, not the organigrammes and other things you communicate to us nowadays. Because at that moment we didn’t know about you, and, frankly, we wouldn’t have cared for. Now, the athletes, we only care about because of the conditions you impose us to participate in the world championships. But otherwise…

The year 1999 came and, surprise!, the first edition of the club’s championship is held. Kata (individual only) and kumite. Referees: sensei and his instructors. At the kata competition I took second place, with an execution that, after many years, revisiting it, I would be ashamed of joining a contest. But that was the technical level then! We didn’t focus on finesse, but on much work to develop our fighter’s spirit. Followed the kumite test, and in the semifinal I met an opponent who was, without exaggerating, twice as much as me. The organizers even asked for an ID card to make sure that he was in the good category. Bad luck! He was the right age. What to do now? Well… we fight. That’s it! And, I don’t know by what wonder, I managed to give him a “mawashi jodan” and so I entered in the final, where I had as adversary a friend from my dojo. This is the story of my first winning competition!

The first national championship took place in 2001 and from then until 2007, when I was determined to withdraw from this sport, I won 13 medals in all competitions. Perhaps the number for the younger generation doesn’t impress, but then we had only three competitions each year…

NIKO, let me tell you a bit about how I managed to form a strong kata team. I don’t think you’re interested, but I’ll explain at the end why I chose to tell you. There is logic, I promise you! It was a national kata championship in 2005, and after all athletes exhibited their technical skills, besides one, I was in the third place. Of course I had emotions! Adrian Vlăsceanu went to tatami, then an instructor at Oltenița, and I basically… frozen! He had an absolutely clean technique, but the referees decided to keep the order as it was before his execution. I was impressed by him, I didn’t know him, and I went and congratulated him and invited him to make with me and Laurențiu Iliescu a kata team next year. He accepted! So, in 2006, Adi made the Olteniţa – Bucharest shuttle to train with us. Unfortunately, that year, we only got the second place, but in 2007 we took revenge.

Are you still following me, NIKO?

From 2007 until 2010 I haven’t done any sport at all. I started having bad culinary habits and I grew fat. So, at one point, I decided to rejoin the trainings. More fitness than karate. But in 2011 the first Ashihara-Karate World Championship was announced, to be held in Bucharest. I made the decision to participate. And I rebuilt my team! And we won… an edition… the second one… almost the third… The routine intervened and our training didn’t have the same focus. I don’t know what came to me, but I re-read the competition rules, and it was specified that a kata team can be made up of at least three athletes and a maximum of five. I talked with my colleagues (our decisions have always been taken in total consensus, not the majority) and so Daniela Vîrză appeared. That is how we have until now been the only world champion team with four members (on the main page of the blog you can view our execution from Hungary 2014). It would have been a five-member kata team, but you, NIKO, ruined everything by constantly changing regulations (to honor the promise we started).

I was disturbed by your lack of vision and involvement, but I continued to be your member. And I retired when you gave me the 2nd Dan. NIKO, do you know many athletes (not coaches, officials, emperors, queens, princes and princesses) to hold this degree in Romania? Don’t look into the database as it happened when you asked for my card series. You certainly wouldn’t recognize me if you met me on the street, but you think I’m a “fake Ashihara”, though you don’t want to establish a dialogue with me to clarify certain aspects.

I told you about me. Now it’s your turn. Tell me, please, what have you done since 1995 until now. Personally, I learned about your existence due to a seminar organized in the city of Izvorani, then I saw you each time sitting behind a table at the world championships. I’m looking forward to your story. Maybe in this way we know each other better …



PS: I hope I didn’t talk too much, because I reminded of your notice that I have to pay my taxes by the end of this year. I’m in a hurry, because after I pay them maybe you’ll answer some of my questions in order to post that interview that I’ve been struggling for weeks…

1 Comment

  1. Wow, very candid and I must congratulate you for your return and that you are continuing. As the dojo kun says:
    2. Ne vom depasi propriile limite.
    4. Vom mentine un spirit de autoprovocare.

    This can be seen from your letter and I can only request of you to carry on with what you are doing …

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