Tell us something about yourself, where and when were you born, who brought you into sports, when was the first time you discovered the martial arts, who was your coach, was it only one Sensei, or you’ve had more?
I am born in a Romanian town port to Danube, Galati, where I lived till my 28, when I moved to Bucharest for a year before coming to France. From a very early age I wanted to practice martial arts but it was forbidden in Romania under communism so I registered for Greco-Roman wrestling classes but for a very short period. Then the revolution came and a high school fellow proposed me to join a kyokushin dojo opened in our town. There I met my first Sempai, Lucian Ungureanu, yellow belt at the time, but a very wise young man and a good teacher who made me love kyokushin karate. After one year he passed the dojo to one of his most advanced students, Sorin Fechet, my second and last Sempai with whom I did my first kumite trainings.
As you were training, how often were you taking part in the national championships and what were your results? How many times you won the Romanian Championships and what was your first victory?
I participated at 16 National Championships and Cups, I won 13 of them, twice I did 2nd. The one left is the first championship mentioned before. My first title was in the only Junior National Championships that I ever did, in 1991.
What can you say about your first European Championship, when and where was it, and were you feeling released by the result?
My first European Championships was in 1995, in Bucharest, the last competition before the Kyokushin Organization splits into several organizations. I lost my first match to a British competitor, but it was a good experience, it made me enjoying it even more.
For today you are a 6 times European Champion, and for 10 times you have been on the European podium. What tournament do you consider to be the most difficult one?
The most difficult title to win was my first National Championship: I had 61 kg category lightweight and I had five fights. When I left the sport hall I could barely walk towards the rail station to take the train back home.
There were not many people expecting to see you taking part at the European Championship in Berlin, what made you take this decision, did it have anything linked
to the fact that the Russian team was absent?
I decided it along with some other members of the French Kyokushin federation, what fighters will take part in the International Championships. When I did the list for Berlin, I realized that the two best French middleweight fighters were not available for the competition. It meant there were no chances for France to win a medal in -80kg, and also a qualification for WT. This is what made me propose myself as I kept on training along with my students and I knew I was in a good condition. And it was one of the last chances for me to win a medal for France. Of course I took into account the Russian fighters weren’t there, but it was more like a bonus than a reason itself.
It is well known that you have changed weight categories several times, oscillating from 70 to 90 kilos, what was the reason? Did you have any specific reasons, or you
just wanted to try yourself?
It was a question of me wanting to be as heavy as possible in order to increase my chances for the WT Opens. But it wasn’t a very brilliant idea as I was losing speed in every period where I was putting some weight on. Besides, I was a fake heavy weight, as I still had the power of a middle weight fighter. But I find it beautiful winning six European titles in three different weight categories,
so maybe it was a good idea after all.
It was your first World Tournament, or have you taken part in such Championships before?
It was my first WT, first time I traveled to Japan.
Today you are not only a fighter, but also a coach. When have you started to feel the will of becoming also a coach?
Since I opened my first dojo in Romania I enjoyed forming fighters, kyokushin karateka in particular.
You have two children, when they grow up will they take their father’s path? It is well known that sportsmen-parents frequently make their small children practice
sports, what is your opinion?
I «play» karate with my 5 years old son, and bring him to dojo from time to time but he doesn’t show a real interest. The important thing is to make him enjoy sport generally, I won’t push him to karate, if he or his brother choose karate I will be proud to teach them.
It’s been a long time since you are in Kyokushin ? Why have you chosen this martial art, what «conquered» you in it, what do you like and dislike about
It was a na?f choice at the beginning, I didn’t compare it with other Martial Arts, it happened to be kyokushin. But it fits me well; there are complex exercises, for all of our body parts so is good for keeping a good shape. I teach karate because this is what I do best. The inconvenient is that trainings are always in the evening so I give up time I could spend with
my wife and kids.
Each student dreams about having the black belt, when did your first Dan-test take place? How could you describe this challenge, and how much time did it take you to prepare for it?
I had my 1st dan in 2000, in Bucharest, under the directive of Shihan Loeck Hollander. I prepare it and I was ready to pass it…years before that! I had 11 years of practice already, and three years before, we (me and other Romanian fighters and instructors) thought during every summer camp that we going to pass our dan test but there were always something that postponed the
What about the other Dan-tests, how long was the time between them?
I had my nidan in France in 2002 with sensei Bertrand Kron (IKO at that time). I had my 3rd dan in 2005, after an examination under the directive of Kancho Matsui en Bulgaria. My 4th dan I passed it in 2012 with Kancho Matsui and Shihan Gorai, at Mitsumine Camp.
This autumn is very important for all the Kyokushin World-as we have the World Open Tournament, and then the European Open Tournament. Are you going to take part in any of these events? If yes how do you prepare for these tournament, who
is helping you?
I will participate at the WT in November this autumn but not at the European Open. I prepare it by training every evening with my students; two of them are also preparing this event. We have three types of training: technics, cardio (pure and specific kyokushin) and a lot of sparring. I try to always vary trainings so that I as well as my students enjoy time in dojo. I also do
stamina training at home in the morning.