The double life of our consultants: Mickael Charles

30 March 2020

Share a part of the life of our consultants by discovering their hobbies! This month, let's talk about Mickael CHARLES (d²X Switzerland) and his passion for Japanese martial arts.


 MCH 3

(credit: Mickael Charles)


What is your passion ?

All my non-professional life or almost all my life revolves around one main theme: Japanese martial arts called Budo or Bujutsu. I am passionate about all types of martial arts of all origins, but my personal practice is essentially focused on Budo.

Budo means « way of war » and Bujutsu means technique of war, which can be difficult to perceive for an uninitiated person, yet the nuance between the two is particularly important. Bujutsu is focused on pure technique while Budo tends to bring peace. This concept is very difficult to explain in a few words.

I have practiced quite a few martial disciplines in my life, which makes me today a black belt in Judo, Ju Jitsu (ancestor of Judo), I practice the Katana cut called "Tameshigiri", the art of drawing the sword called "Iaido", and I spent quite a few years in a Ninjutsu dojo.

But despite all these practices, my specialty is the first martial art I practiced: Aikido / Aïkitai Jutsu. This practice, known all over the world, is often synthesized as the one that "returns the strength of its opponent", and has been popularized in the movies, especially by the 80-90's with Steven Seagal.

I am currently 4th Dan, that is to say level 4 of the black belt.


When and how did you start?

I pushed the door of my first Dojo when I was 17, which is pretty late! At the time, I was thinking of joining the police force, and I was advised to learn this martial art to know how to defend myself in close combat, without hurting the other person. I liked the concept and asked to try it. I found a club not far from my home -because at 17, everything has to be within biking distance- and I loved it. After a few weeks of practice, I went to training sessions that took place twice a month, 3 hours on Saturday afternoons and 3 hours on Sunday mornings, and that's how I spent my weekends for 20 years.


What do you like about this activity / passion?

When you have a passion and you invest yourself in it, it's hard to say what you like! A passion takes from the guts, makes us get up early when we are tired and stiff, makes us study movements tirelessly for years, hoping that one day it will not be too bad, and makes us invest ourselves to perpetuate what we have been taught. But what attracted me immediately were the encounters.

All these people are reunited on a tatami (sometimes 10, sometimes 50, sometimes more than 150 people) and practice the same passion in front of a Sensei who teaches you. And in these meetings, the Sensei are older people, less physically strong, but who throw (!) you as if you weighed nothing ! I've experienced this many time : a sensei at 70 years old, managing to throw someone on the tatami who is nearly 100 kilos!


(credit: Mickael Charles)


And in your daily life, how does your passion fit in?

I don't only practice, I've been teaching for about fifteen years. When I arrived in Switzerland in 2011, I took the opportunity to open my own club, and I've just opened another one in Lausanne. I now give classes 3 times a week to adults and children, and I lead seminars in France and Switzerland to spread what I have learned on weekends. And for more than 20 years, I've only been going on holidays to do training courses, and wherever I go in the world I find a Dojo where I can practice. The next one is in April : direction Japan for 12 days of training!


Have you acquired skills that you use in your professional life?

My professional career is like my martial arts career.  People start from nothing, and little by little they learn, progress, understand and then acquire knowledge.

Starting from a white belt in martial arts, and just with a high school diploma level, I worked and climbed up the ladder, one at a time. I asserted myself, I was given responsibilities and I started as a teacher in martial arts, and as a team leader at work. Then, more and more, I was able to lead big teams, and today I lead large scale projects, and next to that, I host training courses and dozens of people travel to follow my teaching.

I have trained people at work to teach them trades, and I have trained students up to their black belt. For me everything is intrinsically linked, and I'm not even halfway through my evolution, so I think I will still learn a lot in the years to come, both professionally and on the tatami.


Thank you Mickael Charles for this wonderful testimony! 


(credit: Mickael Charles)