Nadezhda Angelova

There is a turning point in every person’s life. As a child I was very indrawn and timid. A dreamer, I would say. So I decided to take Karate Do lessons in order to challenge myself. At that time I had no idea how much this decision will reflect on my life from now on. I cannot say I became a world-class athlete but the philosophy which that the style preaches became an integral part of my thinking until today.

One of the main principles of this sport is: “Karate begins and ends with rei. Rei has the meaning of respect.” And I always respect my opponent so far. I respect not just the one on the tatami[1] but my opponents in life. Also I am always trying to put myself in other people’s shoes.

Every day when walking on the street we see people with different clothing, hair color and style. And that’s all their decision. We cannot sue them for the way they look even if we don’t like it. We should respect their way to express themselves. And the same is with religion, ethnicity, nationality. We should not judge people for being who they are. I hope someday politicians will use this Karate principle in their negotiations more often.  It is not all about interests and money. I cannot accept for normal the fact that this huge industry for producing military devices and weaponry from people to people exists. Maybe the dreamer from my childhood will never be gone because I believe all the problems could be solved without violence. If respect and honesty are present more often in our value system, they can lay the foundations for the building of some peaceful relations.

If I can learn to be patient and understanding to others then everybody can. But sometimes when I lose control over a situation or my egoism speaks louder than it should I hear the voice of the Sensei in my head and it says: “To rule itself means to rule the largest empire. In karate there is no first attack. The first step is backwards“. If we follow this rule in our personal life we will notice that it will make our relations with people stronger and easier. The impulsive decisions are mostly bad.

And it is the same in the international relations, the country leaders should pay more attention on how their actions reflect on the people’s lives not only in their country but across whole world. Because first of all we are human beings and we belong to this planet in order to preserve it, not destroy it. There are lots of proofs about human stupidity – island countries are disappearing because of the global warming, the variety of flora and fauna is decreasing, new diseases are being discovering almost every day. Some of these processes are just natural but we have lots of guilt with our way of life. The global leaders should be aware of that and to open their hearts for the pain and fears of others. The economic power, production and big bank accounts cannot buy us more oxygen or clear water, they cannot bring back the children that could have been the next great scientists but instead of it – died during war.

In my opinion, a contract cannot be a proof for amity between countries but changing the perspective and thinking as a world citizen can. We share same natural resources and have common needs – so we are a human beings on the first place and then stays our nationality. If we grow this feeling in ourselves then we will not need contracts.

The peace is not just a paper document, it should be a state of mind.

1 A tatami is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.

Nadezhda Angelova

The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of ALDA and the European Union.