Karate ne sente nashi-A A +A
By Ramon Dacawi
Saturday, July 14, 2012
AS HE quietly did in previous years, former world karate champion Julian Chees traveled home the other week for a personal mid-year mission: reaching out to the sick and needy in Baguio and in his native village of Maligcong, Bontoc, Mt. Province.
The 50-year-old fifth-dan blackbelt, the only non-German by birth to have been drafted into Deutchland’s national karate team, flew back to southern Germany last Sunday to prime up anew as a teacher of the Gasshuku, the annual intensive training of the Japan Karate Association spearheaded by master Hideo Ochi, the JKA chief instructor for Europe.
As representative of Shoshin Kinderhilfe, a small foundation he established with his karate students seven years ago, Chees shelled out P47,025 for the rain coats and school supplies of kindergarten kids in Maligcong and medicines for six patients.
“Arrived tired but safe after traveling midnight of Saturday ‘til this morning (Monday),” he –mailed after his arrival in Germany. “T ulungan tayo piman ni (Let’s help) five yrs. young Jeremiah Tuda, ni teacher Elenita Soriano 42, and a father, Manuel Boaging 52”, he added after reading the online version of the Baguio weekend papers.
Jeremiah, a toddler from Tinoc, Ifugao, has been confined at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical since last March for bacteria-infected injuries sustained in a vehicular accident. Soriano, a teacher at the Rizal Elementary School, is fighting cancer, while Boaging, father of three and a jeepney driver from Bauko, Mt. Province, has been on regular twice-a-week hemodialysis treatment for kidney failure since March last year.
While here, Chees, who won for Germany the kata event in the 1993 World Shotokan Championships, reached out to patients Freda Cheren, Jonalyn Gaston of Natonin, Marcelino Erigio and Juilian Epok. He also bankrolled the cost of an exerciser for a teener suffering from a debilitating muscle disease and the maintenance medicines of a baby girl born with a hole in her heart.
“I guess squeezing in a little time to be home has always been worth it, simply because of the opportunity to connect with those in need,” he said. “See you before the end of the year,” he told local friends, among them his teacher, fifth dan Edgar Kapawen Jr., head of the JKA-Orient based at the YMCA of Baguio.
“I owe what I am to sensei (teacher) Edgar and shihan (master) Kunio Sasaki,” he said.
Sasaki, the JKA’s permanent representative to the Philippines, introduced the shotokan (traditional or knife-hand) style of the martial art here in the early 1960s. Among his students were the late Arsenio Bawingan Jr., James Brett and Ambrose Sagalla, lawyer Ric Pangan, Roger Garcia and Kapawen.
“Julian is a real champion,” Sasaki, who is sparing in praising students, told JKA adherents two years back when he and his former ward conducted e promotional examinations for blackbelts in La Trinidad, Benguet three years ago.
Being the smallest member of the German national team, Chees concentrated on kata (formal exercises) which won him numerous international titles, He ruled the event twice in both the England and Dutch and, under master Ochi, had consistently reached the final in kata of the JKA world championships in Japan.
His personal mission here began in 2004, when he traveled to Banaue, Ifugao and delivered P70,000 to help two families who lost two daughters in a landslide rebuild their house.
Under his stewardship, Kinderhilfe, the humanitarian arm of Shoshin, the karate school he established in Germany, has so far extended over P2 million support to indigent patients in the Cordillera.
“This outreach is being made possible by the support of our Shoshin and JKA students, teachers and their families who stand by the Shotokan code, Karate ne sente nashi (Karate has no offense or There is no first strike in karate),” he said.
A City Hall worker contributed P200 while a head of a national government agency shelled out P7,000 in response to the appeal for Jeremiah Tuda. a five-year old confined for months now at the Baguio General Hospital. As he does whenever he reads an appeal, a young businessman added P2,000 to the boy’s fund. Jeremiah, a marginal farmer’s son from Tinoc, Ifugao, was seriously injured in a vehicular accident last March. His leg wound has infected by bacteria which, doctors say, will have to be treated before he undergoes skin graft.
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Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 14, 2012.