“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”— Bruce Lee
I have known Bob Bamgboye for many years, and for all the years I have known him, he has always been into martial art in a big way. He is a man on a mission: he wants to get more Nigerians involved in martial arts.
Bob Bamgboye is Nigerian with mixed heritage, his mother is English and his father is Chief George Akanni Bamgboye from Abeokuta. Bob spent his formative years in Nigeria,then came to the UK for further studies. In 2000,he returned home to Nigeria where he is a company director in the hospitality sector. He also describes himself as a student of SHOTOKAN KARATE. He tells me that Shotokan Karate is a life time study. Who am I to disagree?
I asked him why his interest in martial arts? He said:” like most people of my age, we all got involved with the martial arts after watching martial arts films which starred the likes of Bruce Lee (Big Boss) and David Carradine in the Kung Fu TV series. I was intrigued by all the fancy moves and wished to practise and master these which led to me enrolling in my first martial arts club in the UK in 1978.I quickly realized that it was going to be a long journey. I was so impressed and overwhelmed with the discipline in the dojo which reminded me very much of my boarding school days in Nigeria”
His fascination grew with time and he joined a martial arts club that has its origins in Okinawa, Japan under the tutorship of karate Master Gichin Funakoshi whose pen name was used to identify his style of karate called Shotokan. You see, Bob does not do half measures, he goes all out and he is very determined to expand and increase martial art clubs across Nigeria.
Bob went on to explain to me the different styles (I seriously cannot tell one martial art style from the other):”Karate is just one of the forms of martial arts and it encompasses many different styles which include Kung Fu, Judo,Taekwondo, Kick boxing, Aikido, and Jujutsu and so on “.
He said that the study of karate has three main elements: the basic karate techniques, (Kihon), partner practice of the karate techniques and sparring (Kumite) practice of formal routines, karate techniques made in to a routine for self-practice (Kata) And that Karate is known to use the majority of the muscles of the body more than any other sporting activity. Like I said, this man knows his Martial art!
When you talk to Bob, you know that being a martial art master is a way of life for him and there is no wonder, he is keen to extend martial arts in Nigeria. He is determined that any age can learn. He wants to do all that he can to help young people get involve in martial arts and he does not think that money should be the obstacle. He strongly believes that introducing young people to martial art club in different parts of Nigeria, will benefit so many young people in particular, their social and physical health will improve.
He envisioned making martial art clubs accessible and properly regulated to meet international standards. He is determined that martial art should not be for the privileged few, the benefits will be far reaching and he knows that the martial art clubs would attract goal oriented people who enjoy learning.
During the practice of karate, the level of concentration required all the everyday challenges are forgotten during the session and when the session is over, the learner, will help to put the person in a better state of mind and enable them to make right choices and to better deal with life challenges as the pressure has been lifted. I can see why Bob is always chilled and calm. The benefit of Karate is one that keeps on giving.
The learners will have so much to learn through the martial art grading system and by attending competitions or just learning something new each session. Now you see, why Bob said martial arts is a lifelong study!
The benefit of martial art is numerous: it gives the learner a level of the discipline,there is a “code of behaviour” so as to remind the leaner to strive to better oneself both in and outside of the club, to be faithful, sincere, patient and respect others whilst refraining from dangerous and impetus behaviour. The practice of Karate also improves coordination, balance, memory, flexibility, confidence, muscle conditioning, physical and mental fitness, heightened awareness of ones surroundings and of course, there is the self-defence aspect. Karate can be studied and practised by any one from a young age to older age, from a full able and restricted body, various fitness levels, sizes and heights, male and female, there are no restrictions, so there is no excuse for not joining a club!
And as for the young people: it will help them develop their natural persistence, determination, dedication, resiliency, work ethic, leadership skills, confidence and connecting with others not just in the club or at competitions but socially and at schools. The skills they learn in martial arts is transferable to their everyday life.
Although, Bob does not look his age, he has been studying karate for the last 38 years and he said it had saved his life once and prevented him from receiving serious injuries in a couple of unpreventable negative situations that he found himself in. This man is the real deal and he is as calm as a cucumber. Bob has every reason to talk the talk ,he has after all, walked the walk. He told me that Karate has given him the strength to recover to return after a hip replacement and a hand rebuild after a very serious car accident. He credits his martial art for continuing to give the opportunity to meet and work with other like minded people and has attended competitions and seminars all over the world. In the UK ,he competed locally, nationally and and internationally and one of his achievements was competing in the WSKF championship in Mexico where,he won a bronze medal .
I asked him for what he has planned for Nigeria? he told me that :”Short term plans in Nigeria – we are presently doing our ground work and researching the terrain, meeting other students of karate with whom we are intending to collaborate so that we can enrich karate in Nigeria with a view to us becoming one of the stronger nations in the world of karate, not just in terms of winning competitions but for us all to have a very in depth understanding of the fundamentals of karate. In addition, the practitioners will have the opportunity to experience other flavours of Shotokan karate, to this end we are running a seminar in Port Harcourt on the 20th of February in collaboration with ASKA”.
And in the “first week of June 2016 we will be supporting the “Zainab Saleh International Female Open Karate Championship” event in Lagos by inviting one of highest graded woman Japanese instructors (Tomiko Sensei 8th Dan WSKF) to Nigeria who will conduct a 2 days open seminar for all grades , male and female. Following that event we will be hosting the Chief Instructor of WSKF Kasuya Sensei in Nigeria for a seminar for all karate groups”.
His long term plans in Nigeria:” our main goal is to spread and popularize karate among the adults who presently do not appreciate the benefits and believe that karate is primarily a pursuit for children and not for adults by working with all other well established bodies in Nigeria.
Bob intends to take a team of karate-ka to the next WSKF World Championship in Japan in 2017;” I am convinced that we would do very well and bring back quite a few medals and receive global and national recognition”I have no doubt , Bob will make it happen.
If you are interested, please contact Bob : WSKF Nigeria – www.shotokan-nigeria.com NKA.