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Subject [ICM's Pick] Interview / A Year After the MARIE Programme

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  • Date
    2018-09-11

 

 

When others ask, “What do you do in the MARIE Programme?” I tell them, “Ask what I don’t do, not what I do” because MARIE consists of so many diverse programmes like martial arts studies and practices, cultural exchanges, seminars, scholarly presentations, etc that there is nothing you do not do. And so there are many benefits that come along with these   many programmes. However, the biggest benefit is that MARIE provides a chance for a cultural exchange between Eastern and Western countries.

 

 

We received a message from one of our 2017 MARIE(Martial Arts Research Initiative for Experts) programme participants, saying he is at the Jincheon National Training Centre. To find out what life changes he had experienced during the past year after MARIE, we asked him to sit down for an interview.

 


 

Q_Please introduce yourself.

A_ Hello! I’m Matias Gomez Garcia. I participated in the first MARIE Programme in 2017. I started practicing karate at age 7, and ever since, I’ve been practicing martial arts trying to preserve the essence of tradition. I’m a dynamic, entrepreneurial person who has a desire to keep growing. I find motivation from martial-arts-related projects, and I like being part of things that contribute to society. Now I’m a member of the Spanish national karate team, and a coach to the Korean national karate team.

 

Q_What made you participate in the MARIE Programme?

A_ It wasn’t actually easy for me to participate in the MARIE Programme because I had a karate competition ahead of me, called Series A Okinawa in December 2017. Nonetheless, as much as I consider competitions important to me as a member of the Spanish national karate team, I equally thought it was important to learn Taekkyeon, a traditional martial art of a different country that I had never encountered as a martial artist, learn from and share knowledge on martial arts with  diverse instructors and professors, and experience new cultures. Making unforgettable memories by visiting Korea was one of the many reasons why I decided to participate in the MARIE Programme.

 

Q_What is the biggest change you found after the MARIE Programme? 
A_
I used to be interested only in elite sport, meaning that I would compete to step on the podium and train to win medals. But now I’m keen on Sports for All. After the MARIE Programme, I attended seminars and thought of to whom I should promote karate, how I should develop karate, and how I would influence the world with my karate. Attending and participating in many different exhibitions and seminars made me feel responsible for discussing the development of martial arts with other experts. In a nutshell, the MARIE Programme allowed me to open my eyes to a wider world.


Q_ What is most beneficial about the MARIE Programme?

A_ When others ask, “What do you do in the MARIE Programme?” I tell them, “Ask what I don’t do, not what I do” because MARIE consists of so many diverse programmes like martial arts studies and practices, cultural exchanges, seminars, scholarly presentations, etc that there is nothing you do not do. And so there are many benefits that come along with these   many programmes. However, the biggest benefit is that MARIE provides a chance for a cultural exchange between Eastern and Western countries.

As a Karate athlete who had an important match coming up, I decided to train at the Jincheon National Training Centre. The karate people at the training centre showed strong interest in my training methods which was different from those of the Asia. Afterwards, I received a call from the Korea Karate Federation, and they proposed a sharing of training methods of the East’s and the West’s ways of practicing martial arts.

And now I learn Karate in an Eastern way as a trainee, and teach Karate in a Western way as a trainer at the Jincheon National Training Centre. I am not only improving myself but am influencing others in major ways. If I didn’t leave my country and travel the world, I wouldn’t have been able to even imagine a chance like this. Through the MARIE programme, I learnt that despite differences in the kinds and methods of martial arts, the spirit it tries to convey is the same; The spirit of peace. And this is why it is important for a martial artist to have chances to exchange cultures. This is exactly what MARIE allows you to have.

 

Q_Why are instructors important? What do you think is the most important quality of an instructor?

A_ Because one instructor teaches many. An instructor teaches and grows many pupils throughout his/her career. This means instructors have a significant influence on people in various age brackets. In particular, young students may lack critical thinking, and instructors may have decisive influence on forming their character. In this sense, instructors must look at themselves and pursue endless learning. They should understand pupils’ hearts and communicate with them, instead of merely giving instructions.