Interview with Joseph Samarani, the Empowerment Guru

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Today, on The Wellness Project, we want to introduce you to Joseph Samarani, a friend of our community and a important part of The Cork Collection Initiative.
We have sent Joseph a list of questions to better understand the man who is doing so much to help victims of abuse.

Question: We are going to start with the basics! What is your job?

Answer: I have been a volunteer at arcenciel youth since 2001 but I am also a self-defence instructor, a circus instructor and a psychosocial supporter.

Question: How do you think this impacts the life of people you are working with? (Women, Children, victims of abuse)

Answer: My work with victims of abuse helps them develop their self-confidence, further their acquaintance with their body which enables them to function efficiently and effectively in challenging unwanted and uncomfortable situations.

Question: What are the health and mental benefits you have witnessed first hand?

Answer: The health and mental benefits vary between people but it is mostly an increase in confidence, positivity, an improvement of physical fitness and sharp reflexes. It also helps them become stronger, and more patient. All of these reinforce their balance, emotional stability and sleep.

Question: Like many successful and passionate people, there is always a personal story to what got them on this path and why they excel at it. Could you possibly share with our readers and us your personal story?

Answer: Like everything in life, every little thing happens for a reason. Nothing is a coincidence.
One day on my way to arcenciel, I saw a woman fighting for her dignity and life against a rapist. A scene new to me but nothing less than disgusting and pitiful triggering me to interfere swiftly . She was lucky because I am a martial arts expert and I was lucky to use my skills to give back to God for what he gifted me. A couple of days later, the same woman came seeking professional self-defence training.
And so it kept happening. Day after day, more people came in for the same purpose. And this is how joekido came about in 2009.

Question: Do you think anyone can turn a traumatic experience into a positive life-changing event?

Answer: Yes absolutely! Anyone can turn a traumatic experience into a positive life changing event if they have the opportunity to seek the right support and guidance.

Question: Any insights on how to do that? Are there any steps to follow? What would you recommend?

Answer: Yes.

There are numerous steps to follow such as:
Pause, breathe in deeply which helps ease the mind of the stressed person, enabling them to process their thoughts and set their goals more clearly, one step at a time. I recommend seeking professional help as well as engaging in sports and healthy activities.

Question: You have worked with many women and children. Is there is a specific story that comes to mind, one that you would like to share, of a real life changing experience?

Answer: One day, I was giving a self defense workshop in an underprivileged area in north Lebanon where many women and children, unfortunately, get exposed to all kinds of abuse on a daily basis. There was a girl who was suffering from extreme shyness, stress, fear, low self esteem and was avoiding eye contact and was totally closed in on her body.
After attending 24 sessions of empowerment self-defence, and practicing the required mental and physical exercises to overcome the symptoms she was suffering from, she stood up and gave a speech in front of a big audience and said “Now, I am no longer afraid of walking the streets, I am confident in my ability to defend myself.”

Anyone can do that, anyone can turn their lives around after a traumatic experience.

Question: We know you are a fan of Martial Arts, and meditation among other things. But what we want to know is that what does a typical day for Joseph Samarani look like?

Answer: A typical day for me starts early in the morning with some physical and breathing exercises, as well as drinking plenty of warm water to hydrate my body.
The first part of my day is spent at school where I train in sports. After that I go to my volunteer work at arcenciel where I teach self empowerment and self defence among other activities such as music, dancing and other liberating art. I always end my day with breathing exercises, which helps to cool me down and relax my mind and body.

Question: Your favourite quote is “Do what you love and love what you do”. Do you consider yourself one of the lucky few who actually belong to this group of people or is it something anyone can have?

Answer: Actually anyone can belong to this understanding and ‘group’ as you call it, as long as the person knows what they love to do. Loving our work is very important as it creates happier people in the work field, and brings out the best in us.

Question: If I had to find one word to describe you, what would it be?

Answer: Survivor. humanitarian, joyful…

On that positive note, we end our interview with Joseph Samarani, an inspiring human being who is doing his part into impacting the life of those who have been the victims of abuse and empowering them with the tools necessary to become self-confident, self-empowered and confident to continue their path in life.

Thank you Joseph Samarani for everything you do.

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