Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Savate in Kosovo - Besnick Bajra

Shihan Besnick Bajra was born on July, 21st 1970 in Istog, a small town in Northwest Kosovo. As he grew throughout childhood, his dream was always to become an exceptional martial artist. His inspirations were Kung Fu movies with the Martial Arts stars and legends Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.
At the age of ten, Shihan Nick began to practice Judo with other family members. He knew then that this sport would follow him for the rest of his life. For the years that followed, he committed his dedication, and trained every day.
After finishing High School, at the age of seventeen, Shihan Nick was forced to join the former Yugoslavian Army against his will. During his time in the army, Shihan Nick continued his dedication to the Martial Arts by training even harder. By absorbing hand-to-hand combat techniques and close quarter combat training with knives and other weapons, Shihan Nick was becoming a very knowledgeable Martial artist.
Due to the deteriorating situation in Yugoslavia, and to avoid being taken as a soldier for the war in Bosnia, Shihan Nick was forced to leave his home country. He left everyone he knew, his entire family including his sick father, and at the age of 18, moved to Paris on his own. With nobody to rely on but himself, Shihan Nick turned to what he knew and loved: Martial Arts. He quickly found a school in Paris, and began to train in a French Karate style named Savate.
During this time, he worked small jobs when they appeared, and managed to save money. In January of 1990 he was granted his biggest dream—a visa to the United States of America.
Upon arriving at JFK Airport, he had only $50 in his pocket. The chance for his freedom was worth more to him than any amount of money.
He moved to Port Jefferson, Long Island, and began a minimum wage job as a dishwasher. On a day off, during a walk down route 25, he stumbled upon a small dojo named “Vee Jitsu Arnis”. He became very excited watching the small teacher throw much bigger men around effortlessly. From that moment on, Shihan Nick, whose dream was to become a true Martial Artist, felt the dojo’s energy, and knew that was true Martial Arts. He walked to the master and his first words were, “My name is Nick, I don’t speak English, I want to train!” The master’s response was, “A true teaching has no words, God gives talent, and man develops it.” This master was Professor Frank Galante, also know as Prof. Gee.
Shihan Nick began training with his teacher very hard, five hours a day, seven days a week. He learned every style Prof. Gee taught, including Vee Jitsu, Judo, Arnis-Escrima, Tai Chi, and Kickboxing. During this period he also trained with Martial Arts legend, Supreme Grandmaster Florendo Visitacion, also know as Prof. Vee. Shihan Nick’s teacher, Prof. Gee, had received all of his training, from a first degree to a tenth degree Black Belt, from the master Prof. Vee. Shihan Nick considered himself very lucky to be trained by such a legend until 1995.
In 1992 Shihan Nick obtained his first degree Black Belt. At this time he began competing tournaments all over the state of New York, and never finished lower than second place in either kickboxing, Karate forms, or Arnis Stick Fighting.
Shihan Nick never stopped his training, had received his third degree black belt for every style taught by Prof. Gee. He then moved to Connecticut, and on September 15th, 1995, opened his own Academy for training in Norwalk.
Even today, Elite Martial Arts is the only school in the state of Connecticut which teaches these styles. Shihan Nick still runs his successful Academy and continues to train with Prof. Frank Galante. He is now a Senior Master, as well as a current fifth degree Black Belt. He is on the road to become a master just like his mentors.
The thirteen years of professional experience in training have made Shihan Nick a very good teacher. He hasn’t just learned techniques and fighting, but philosophy as well. He is able to pass all of this knowledge to his students, who are loving and respecting of him and his teaching.

Another of Shihan Nick’s dreams was realized in 2002, when he was granted his American citizenship, something he is very proud of.

This was a biography of a person who followed his dreams until they became real.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The video's not as convincing as your story. It's a good story.