September 25, 2021

Interview with Gulsah Akdag Tararbit European Medalist in Karate. A trainer of the National Team in the Swedish Karate Federation.

6 min read

Gulsah European Medalist, Photo Gulsah Private Gallery

Karate Sweden Gulsah Private Gallery

Interview with Gulsah Akdag Tararbit European Medalist in Karate. A trainer of the National Team in the Swedish Karate Federation. Teacher of Karate Program at Fredrik Bremer school in Stockholm. Recently built a new female karate team.

1. HOW DID YOUR JOURNEY WITH KARATE START?

I started karate when I was 8 years old, it was my cousin who started first who came to our home and talked about that, so my mother decided to send me there too. In the beginning, we did this for fun than after a while, I started to train more and more. So when I was 15 I started to train professionally in elite investment. 

2. WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU HAVE IN YOUR SPORTS CAREER IN SWEDEN?

 The biggest challenge was that I still needed to work full-time and train. We as elite sportsmen do not get any economical support in karate in Sweden. So we need to pay for everything by ourselves. So this was stressful that there is not enough time. 

The second challenge was a different weight category I used to fight for f. ex to keep bodyweight around 50 kg during a longer period was difficult especially for a woman with menstruation. When I was older I started to understand those challenges and my trainers explained also that to me.

3. WHO HELPED YOU, WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST SUPPORT?

My biggest support is my family, they helped me in this whole journey for example when I could not work full-time. I had tree also amazing and professional trainers who shared the most knowledge with me about karate.

4. CURRENTLY YOU ARE A TRAINER OF NATIONAL TEAM IN KARATE IN SWEDISH KARATE FEDERATION AND TEACHER IN KARATE PROGRAM WHAT MOST IMPORTANT VALUES DO YOU SHARE WITH YOUR STUDENTS?

National team camp with the swedish team and our world-class guests from Holland, Greece, Brazil and Iran, Gulsah Private Gallery

The most important is that they need to have patience. I tell them about all steps in the process. They need to have an understanding that one cannot become a Champion over one night. So this will take time and they need to have a specific and realistic goal. So f. ex if you are not a Swedish Champion today you need to think to achieve this before you wish to become a World Champion. One needs to take the right step at the right time. Another important aspect is to have an opportunity to talk openly about things. One step you can manage within a specific period and next in another period. So both trainer and student are clear in the plan.

5. HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAIN, YOU ARE IN SUCH A GREAT SHAPE AS A TRAINER HAVING TWO LITTLE DAUGHTERS?

Thank you so much, I train 4-5 times a week 2. My goal is to become an elite exerciser if I am not allowed to be an elite student. I feel well about it, I know that training and mental health go hand in hand so therefore it is important to me to be in a good physical condition. 

6. DID YOU EVER FEEL UNFAIR TREATED IN YOUR CAREER BECAUSE YOU ARE A WOMAN AND HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT?

I was thinking about this question if I did but no, I didn’t. I had amazing coaches in the National Team and I have been always a fair selection because I believe in this basic philosophy that I need to do a job to become selected and I was ready to do this job. So if it was about training 10 000 hours then I did it. 

Golden for Gulsah Photo Jeff Tran
Gulsah black belt in Karate Photo Anna Z Ek

7. WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST IDOL?

Rafael Aghayev is very good at karate. 

Serena Williams the tennis player very skilled as an elite woman and she is also a mother. These two icons I have had as my idols for a long time.

8. WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENTS, WHAT SPECIFIC GOALS YOU WANT TO GAIN THROUGH KARATE AS A TRAINER?

My biggest goal was to win a European Medal in Karate and this I achieved. The next goal was to transfer knowledge. I wanted to work with other people and to have the opportunity to share my knowledge therefore I have studied 4,5 years at university and then 2 years, distance studies as an Elite trainer. Currently, my goals are to get more girls and young women in the karate world. So they can build their self-confidence. I think that knowledge is something more while we can share this, it gives more positive effects.

9. WHAT DOES SPORT MEAN FOR YOU? IS KARATE A GOOD SPORT FOR GIRLS? RECENTLY YOU CREATED A FEMALE GROUP OF WOMEN IN KARATE COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT?

Sport is my lifestyle. I believe in the philosophy that health: head and body go hand in hand. I tell them to do not to give up. You need to have both your head and body in a good shape. One needs also to consider an important aspect of a healthy diet. So no over train the body and do not eat properly, there needs to be a balance all the time. 

Karate is very good for both women and men. Karate is not only a camp sport, there is a lot of discipline, strategic thinking, problem-solving, better self-confidence, self-awareness in karate. It also helps to believe in ourselves in case we might get into a problematic situation outside karate.

10. YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION FOR MANY KARATE SPORTSWOMEN AND MAN. HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE YOUR STUDENTS TO DO NOT GIVE UP?

I explain to them that one needs to go through different phases. If life was perfect so there is no challenge. To become better makes things harder, if you are better more expectations there are on you. This is good if someone can explain this to them early in their career. I use to tell them that this is a long journey and we do this journey together, they are not going to be alone in this, I was a trainer will be always there for them as far as they do their work, I cannot do this job for them.

11. YOU HAVE TWO BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS DO YOU WISH THEM TO TRAIN KARATE IN THE FUTURE?

I get this question quite often. I wish them to train, then if they want to become elite practitioners in karate or another sport it is up to them. But I wish them to learn karate only to know self-defense and self-confidence. This is extremely important. Martial art is sports where you can best build self-confidence in case you might be in a difficult situation.

12. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD? BESIDE GROUP LESSONS YOU PROVIDE ALSO PERSONAL LESSON?

I think if we people will get better to take care better of ourselves so it makes easier for us to take care of other people as well. Everything starts in ourselves with positive thinking, believing in ourselves, that we dare to develop. 

Yes, I started a company be strong, and be healthy where besides group lessons I provide also personal training. The goal is to build people’s bodies so they become strong, everyone has different levels and different goals. There is also a lot of discussions and work on self-confidence so everyone feels well with the body she/he has. You should not feel like 80 years old when you are 40.

Diana Kicia.

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