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  • Writer's pictureTomáš Kříž

Indonesian karate class

I've never been much for sharing heartwarming stories, but I decided to keep this story to myself at least.

I am slightly past half of my journey through all the venues of the WC in basketball... Prague - Manila - Okinawa - Jakarta - Manila - Prague. Although I only have 3 days in each city, so you don't have much time, but I still got a few impressions... Manila and Jakarta have one thing in common... On the way from a luxury over-air-conditioned hotel, over-air-conditioned shuttle to an over-air-conditioned super-modern arena (The one in Manila is the largest in the world ), one always passes through about 1000 times poorer areas, if not slums.

After the first match of my third stop in Jakarta, I have to run away from the arena because it's so cold inside that I'm starting to feel my sinuses ache... The air-conditioned shuttle hasn't left yet, so I choose to walk. The shortest way between the 5* hotel and the arena is through that "poor area." It's dark, there's smog in Jakarta right now, which is exactly 15 times above the WHO norm, so the atmosphere is a bit scary, but I end up turning off the main street anyway. People hang out in the alleys, eating rice from plastic bags on the ground, but everyone smiles and greets warmly. After a few minutes I hear really wild baby "screams" from a distance. I head in that direction and after a while I arrive at the ajar gate to the yard of a small bar. I look in there and find out that the screams were the "kyaaaaa" of young karatekas.

I stand aside and watch for about 15 minutes how all these children practice with incredible enthusiasm and vigor on the crumbling tatami on the mud of the executioner. I kind of think that it would be great to take some photos of them... After a while they notice me, gradually they start running out into the street, each of them knows about 3 English words, so we had quite a bit of fun... They ask me if I like watermelon and ice cream... So I say of course... The fact that I had both of these things and about 10 other courses for breakfast today, I prefer to keep to myself... After a while, I confide in the children that I am a photographer, and of course they immediately ask for a photo. I do this to great cheers, and after a while the coach comes, to whom I explain via Google Translator that I would like to take some photos from the training.

I spent the rest of the training there in the heat among the swarm of mosquitoes and watched in disbelief the joy with which the children were playing there. Where is basketball played Canada vs. Brazil, which is currently being played in a refrigerator a kilometer from here... That class filled me with so much energy that I am now writing the longest text I have written in the last 5 years. (It probably looks like that too :D) Well, nothing, the training ends, everyone who was at the training shakes my hand, we exchange emails, where I will send them the photos, and I go to edit them on the 16th floor of our five-star hotel... Probably even that one I'm going to skip the pool today so I don't completely embarrass myself.

In addition to the beautiful feeling, honestly after a long time, except for a few bright moments, I also really enjoyed taking photos, in which I have noticed for a long time that I actually just go on autopilot with most jobs and it brings me almost nothing... I hope I will succeed to continue doing similar things, because not only in my field, it is very easy to let yourself be put to sleep by a stereotype and slowly but surely burn out... Thank you for that Dojo Bintaro'80 Jakarta!

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