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Dubai may not be high up the list when you think of places to learn from martial arts masters, but that will soon change if one karate expert has his way.Kyle Helou is a graduate of the Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS) Instructor Training Programme, also known as Kenshusei/

Shugyosei, and his mission is to take karate in Dubai to another level. But while DubaiCOs rise has been powered by oil, Kyle is driven simply by water. C[pounds sterling]ICOm talking about the highest level of karate,C[yen] the Lebanese-American martial artist says. C[pounds sterling]And committing yourself to the dedication needed to achieve these levels of excellence needs a reward at the end of it; it makes it easier to focus. My reward was a glass of water.C[yen]

Although it doesnCOt seem to be much of a carrot to spur you on to achieve physical excellence, Kyle insists that a simple glass of water was more than enough reward after his exertions.C[pounds sterling]The amount of training you need to put in might put some people off,C[yen] he says. C[pounds sterling]But when you

train hard enough, the simplest pleasures take on a whole new level.C[pounds sterling]I worked very hard, and very quickly raised my levels. Anyone can do it if they apply themselves - this is what I want to bring to Dubai.C[yen]Looking to open a JKS martial arts centre in the emirate, Helou is currently on a fact-finding mission to scope out the possibilities.C[pounds sterling]ICOm bringing a unique style of karate; a style that is more pure as a form of the art than any other being taught here,C[yen] he explains. Having been schooled by a master of direct lineage to the old styles, Kyle is the only non-Japanese to have made it this far. C[pounds sterling]And now ICOm looking to pass on my skills, and all the benefits they afford, to the people here in the Middle East,C[yen] he says.

Having come to martial arts at the relatively late age of 23, after graduating from university with a major in philosophy, Kyle has since dedicated himself with such focus, that heCOs rocketed up the ladder of experience remarkably quickly. C[pounds sterling]Karate teaches you to overcome obstacles,C[yen] he says. C[pounds sterling]Anything that gets in your way, stops you achieving all you can achieve, thatCOs when the training we teach comes into its own.C[yen]Kyle was inspired to take up karate after witnessing his brothers enjoying the art - and it eventually led him to Japan. C[pounds sterling]It was in 2005 that I started on the Instructor Training Programme under the tutelage of Kagawa Sensei, an Eighth DAN and technical director of the JKS, and it was there that I trained extensively for the next three years, until my graduation in April. C[pounds sterling]Every morning we would clean the dojo for an hour and train on the regular memberCOs class for one hour.Aa Then, the regular members would make their way out of the Dojo, the door gets locked, and the JKS Instructors start their training.C[pounds sterling]It was here that I was inspired to be as good as my instructors by something as simple as a glass of water.C[yen]One of the most important aspects of attaining KyleCOs level of excellence, is the legacy of vitality it brings.C[pounds sterling]Why practice a lifestyle that encourages ill-health. This surely passes on to the next generation. So why not, essentially, change your DNA ; Not literally, obviously, but becoming healthier and stronger will naturally be passed on to the next generation - ICOm trying to change the face of the Middle East by bringing a little bit of Tokyo here with me.C[yen]

So, are the martial arts enjoying a similar boom to their heyday, when superstars like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris ruled the big screen ; And are the equivalent stars of today, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, a help or a hindrance when it comes to bringing people through the door ;C[pounds sterling]I can usually identify people immediately who have the wrong idea about what they will achieve in the classes,C[yen] Kyle says.

C[pounds sterling]People who think theyCOll be flying through the air and smashing their hands through bricks. So those films paint a distorted picture, really.

C[pounds sterling]But the good things about those films, is that usually there will be a scene where the hero sits meditating for some time. C[pounds sterling]ItCOs these scenes that set the correct tone; showing that dedication is one of the most powerful tools you need to be able to call upon,C[yen] he adds.C[pounds sterling]These are the people I want to attract to my schools. And I want to be making a difference in these peoplesCO lives.C[yen]For more information on Kyle and the JKS, go to

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Aug 19, 2008
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