Humans of SOVS Profile: Professor Michael Kalloniatis
"To do Karate for almost four decades, you learn to have self-control despite any pain you might be feeling and develop a ‘can do’ approach to life. A few years ago, our karate club organised a charity event for cancer research; three thousand punches for three thousand dollars. In the first thousand punches, I really felt the pain building. In the second thousand, it became truly intense. I couldn’t slack off either. Being one of the more senior black belts, people looked to my example. By the last three thousand, however, you just end up ignoring the pain.
Karate also teaches you to handle the challenges and setbacks life throws at you. I used to train with a very senior karateka (sensei Rui), who did a lot of competition sparing. He would absolutely hammer me in our sparing sessions. But over time, I learnt how to relax myself and have self-control in stressful situations and it made me better; I even beat him a few times! In fact, we also have this technique to calm ourselves called ‘mokuso’. I find myself using it when things get a bit stressful like before job interviews or whenever I get an injection (I hate needles!).
One more thing to mention about Karate, is that it develops in you a real can-do attitude and life-long friends throughout the world. You’re getting hit a lot; sometimes in the face. If you let this phase you, you’re not going to last long. However, if you can get through it, then you’ll have the toughness to make the most of what would otherwise be setbacks. When I got a blowout fracture in my orbit, for instance, I wrote an optometric paper on the short and long-term effects on vision!"
[L: Professor Michael Kalloniatis and Karate Colleague]