Strong & Caring

Hello and welcome,

I hope you are well. If you’re in the United Kingdom, I hope that you’re coping ok with the lockdown. 

I’m going to start off with a bit of shameless self-promotion on my part, if you would like to support this show please check out my merchandise where you can get unique t-shirts, ranging from Mental health and a hikite spoof to a Les Bubka Karate Jutsu one.

I would like to bring your attention to my freshly published book Thoughts on Karate, all of the goodies mentioned you can find at In the description section of this podcast you can find other ways that you can support this show.

Finishing the promotion segment of this episode let’s move on to the subject of this podcast, Strong and caring. When I was establishing my club, I was looking for a meaningful motto, I looked around and could see that most people use the same quotes.

Fall seven time get up eight,

Black belt is a white belt who never gave up

Black belt is just beginning etc.

You get the idea what people use on their dojo walls, not that there is anything wrong with using them, but none of them really resonated with me. I was undecided what to use and was jumping between a few. Then I was writing my Anxious black belt book and as per usual it struck me at one am in the morning. That is when I usually have my best ideas, but then immediately forget them having told myself that I will remember them. I think we’ve all done that, for once I’m glad that I took my phone and wrote it down. It must have been destiny in action as I usually leave my phone downstairs so I’m not distracted during the night.

So I grabbed my phone and thought in the spirit of Shu Ha Ri I should look in detail on what my Karate represents and what message I want to share with my students and other people, and create my own. From there I came up with this motto which I’m very proud of –  Strong and caring people are the pillars of society and Karate helps to cultivate them.

I had so many people giving me positive feedback on this that I’m overwhelmed by it. I thought that explaining what I mean be strong and caring can be a good subject for a podcast and here we are.

On subject of strength, I talk about both the physical and mental aspect, I know how it is to be weak in both of these realms. As many of you who know me will have probably noticed – I’m vertically challenged. If you haven’t met me, I’m sure Jamie Gray will have mentioned it to you. As I was always small during my childhood, I was not particularly strong, plus having anxiety made me weak mentally and when you are weak you cannot function normally. When both body and mind are not able to stand up to challenges you feel betrayed. And I mean both to the bullies and to the mental challenges of daily life.

In a way the physical aspect of strength is easier to overcome, as you can start working out at home and see clear results. For me it was going to the gym that started the process of strength development, and I have to say that I got strong. For my structure I was able to lift a lot. For those who like stats and lift weights here’s my personal best – bench press 105kg at 55kg body weight at 19 years old. Getting stronger physically improved my mental strength too. Having that trust in my body’s capability made me more comfortable, at least in the gym environment. Then I found Karate and that was something else, a different side of strength, physically more challenging than weights, having to overcome fatigue and constantly pushing boundaries made improvements in both body and psyche.

Then you start to realise that with all that strength comes courage, courage to hold your ground – you know that your body is there to support you, and your mind is strong enough to hold that ground. You are no longer the pushover. Karate taught you that whatever comes you can overcome it. If you are weak there is no courage as you fear for yourself, fear of the consequences, fear of the physical pain all comes down on you. If you cannot take care of yourself there is no room for taking care of others. It is just like with love, if you don’t love yourself you can’t love fully others. In order to be able to be happy with the world you need to be happy with yourself. If you want to take care of others you need to be able to take care of yourself.

Strength also takes over the fear, you can get involved in difficult conversations, support your ideas and be truthful to yourself without doubt. If you can stand up for yourself and hold your ground, then you are able to take difficult decisions and stand up for others. Not necessarily in a physical way, but also getting involved in different causes. 

I firmly believe that Karate can help create those strengths in individuals, if the dojo has the right teacher and role models. In my dojo students who walk through the doors immediately feel safe and welcome, they see strong people who care about each other. With that role modelling the transfer carries on, new members start their journey into strength and care.

I don’t think that my dojo is special by any means, most of the dojos I have visited have the same atmosphere, of course there are exceptions but mostly from my experience martial arts clubs are all very supportive.

Our constant exposure to challenging training and supportive comradery is the key to the marvellous confidence boost of martial arts, in my case it’s Karate.

I hope that my explanation makes sense to you, I would love to know your take on this, what do you think about Strong and caring? Also what is your favourite motto?

Thank you for your time, and I wish you great week.

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🥋About: Les Bubka is an author, Karate coach, entrepreneur and creator of the #Hikite4ever T-shirt. Promoting inclusive Karate with a focus on mental health aspects of training. Teaching both nationally and internationally.

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