Buaro with his karate class at Maison de la Gare
Robbie describes the magic of karate for the talibés of Maison de la Gare
Maison de la Gare’s karate program began six years ago, the brainchild of a young Canadian volunteer and newly minted black belt, Robbie Hughes. Karate was Robbie’s passion, and he wanted to share it with the children of Maison de la Gare when he visited to volunteer with his family.
Over the years Robbie has returned many times to Maison de la Gare, to train with the talibés, expand the karate program, and to identify and register talibé children who were developing a similar passion for karate and who were ready to advance their skills at the local dojo. Robbie has become a partner and close friend of Abduramane Buaró, a talibé youth who has led classes in Maison de la Gare’s center for the younger talibés since 2015. Buaró is passionate about karate and has himself earned a black belt, a remarkable achievement!
In Robbie’s words: “While the karate program at Maison de la Gare offers strength and agility development and teaches kids important self-defense skills, its main objective is to promote and facilitate the discovery of discipline, confidence, leadership and sportsmanship.
In my opinion, the greatest accomplishment of this program at Maison de la Gare is the ongoing nurturing of discipline. Discipline isn’t only important to karate; it is an essential factor to learning how to progress regardless of the challenges we face and to eventually leading a productive and fulfilling life no matter who you are or where you live.
Discipline unlocks an individual’s ability to be their best self. It teaches how to get things done, and how to have the courage to move forward when life is hard. Sometimes there are days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed at 6:00 am to do a workout, or going to work after a full day of classes. But years of karate training and the example of my senseis give me the discipline to do what needs to be done. We all have hills we need to climb from time to time. But the talibés have mountains to climb each and every day. They leave their daaras before the sun rises. They spend hours each day begging on their own on the streets. They do not have parents or teachers to encourage or lead them and they never have enough to eat. They return to their daaras in the dark with grumbling stomachs, not to beds, loving parents and a hot meal, but to a cold floor and a hand held out to receive their begging quotas. Mountains. Every day.
When you give someone the opportunity to pursue and learn difficult things, they can learn something unique about themselves from accomplishment as well as failure. They can learn that they have the ability inside of themselves to overcome the hard and seemingly impossible challenges in life. The talibés face such challenges every day of their lives. Overcoming challenge and learning skills also gives a person the opportunity to become proud of themselves. As it has been for me, for many of Maison de la Gare’s karate kids martial arts has been the catalyst for a deeper realization of their individual ability, self-worth and understanding of the discipline needed to overcome life’s challenges.”
Your donations in support of Maison de la Gare and the karate program allow the talibés who have grown to love karate the ability to continue to practice the sport and to continue to grow in their independence, confidence, and skill. They offer the gift of martial arts to more talibés, and give them more opportunities to feel seen and supported by the world. More opportunity to learn confidence and discipline. And, more opportunity for them to shine and be celebrated as individuals, to become heroes and role models to other talibé children.
Robbie leading a class in the MDG center
Tournament winner Sedou
Buaro with four aspiring students in MDG center
Karateka wearing uniform from Canadian supporters
Morning karate class in Maison de la Gare's center