For Pointe Claire resident Nathan Bamatter, practicing the art of karate was a family affair. His girlfriend and family were taking courses in Dorval and raved about the instructor, prompting him to start taking classes himself.
Now, a year and a half later, the 21 year old has earned his blue belt and has learned that “karate takes place on and off the mat because it is all about discipline, respect and working towards being a better human being,” Bamatter told The Suburban.
Recently, his instructor, eighth dan master Shihan Farokh Zelli of the Shogun Karate Association based in Pierrefonds-Roxboro was lauded for his celebration of 55 years of practicing, teaching and living the principles of karate.
Bamatter reached out to The Suburban to laud his instructor who emigrated to Canada from Iran and has been teaching here for the last 20 years in Canada, having founded a karate school in his native land.
“Despite his amazing skills, he is one of the most humble men I have ever met,” Bamatter said. “He has always taught us that karate is never to attack and you must never engage in a fight but only use it for defence.”
In fact, the students at Shogun Karate are taught to “never engage and wherever possible, turn around and go in the other direction,” Bamatter said.
And while Shihan Farokh Zelli loves to help others, “he is someone who hates recognition but his daughter, Sensei Shadan Mojtabaei and I wanted to honour him and he was okay with that.”
Mojtabaei, who teaches with her father, has also been doing martial arts for most of her life and credits it and her father for helping her recovery from a stroke she endured five years ago. “My dad used karate to help me recover and I was able to learn that life is not what I thought it was.”
The longtime karate practitioner used karate as therapy and realized that “in life we need to give back to others as I thought I was about making money in a corporate world. I was wrong.”
Shihan Farokh Zelli and his students live that ethic every day as the classes in Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Dorval are done as a non-profit, charging just enough to pay for location rentals and not taking any money for themselves,
With the enthusiastic students who train twice a week with their instructors, “we knew we had a gold mine to help the younger generations in this world,” Mojtabaei told The Suburban.
The group regularly visits hospitals and retirement homes as well as “helping out at local food banks and during the spring flooding, we were out making sandbags for those suffering,” Mojtabaei said.
The classes have been so successful that the club will be looking for a larger space to do their classes since interest is so high. Perhaps it has to do with Shihan Farokh Zelli’s ideology of “teaching us respect, discipline, perseverance, humility, hard work, and that a true karateka looks out for not only for himself, but for everyone around them,” Bamatter said.
The Suburban would like to thank Nathan Bamatter for taking the time to call us with such a great and positive story, highlighting the work of a great teacher and mentor.
Is there someone in your life that has made a difference to you and you would like to acknowledge them in an article, please forward any leads to our Editor-in-Chief, Beryl Wajsman online via email@example.com.