Noel Peters of Sandy Bay, Tasmania has been a bricklayer who has practised Karate for forty years. He is now the highest ranked Tasmanian in IGK Karate, a ‘Kyoshi’. He told Melanie Tait of ABC Radio that he came to karate originally to learn how to fight, but forty years on it’s become an integral part of his Zen lifestyle, bleeding into all parts of his life.
By day, Noel works as a bricklayer, a job he credits karate with giving him the patience for, and the fitness. “You need strength of character to be a bricklayer”, says Noel. He explains that Karate and bricklaying work well together though because being a bricklayer is a hard job where you have to work sometimes in bad weather, hot or cold and you need self-discipline to see out the day. As far as his health and fitness are concerned, he believes he probably couldn’t have stayed in bricklaying so long without his ongoing devotion to karate – it definitely helps his back as Karate keeps the back flexible. Noel says there’s Zen in bricklaying, the rhythm in laying bricks isn’t unlike the focused movement of Karate.
In the interview with ABC Radio HOBART, Noel describes how he’s managed forty years of training, how it keeps getting better and how he sold a beloved car to fund the club’s new ‘dojo’ (training centre) in Sandford, Tasmania.
I see that Sam Spong, Australian WorldSkills champion and Bronze winner at WorldSkills International is a Zen Master bricklayer which certainly adds credit to the value to be gained from such practices. Brickies of all ages who don’t have an active sport might want to give Karate a go.