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Brothers on the karate mat

Brothers on the karate mat

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts/ Brian (left) and Rob (right)

The seven sins of two karatekas
  • Greed. Brian: “I’m not affected by it. I don’t care much about clothes or other things. If my phone’s worn out, I’ll buy a new one, but it doesn’t have to be the latest iPhone. I’m mainly focused on the sport. My karate things have to be in good order. Often you have to replace protective gear like shin guards and mouth guard after a year. A karate suit lasts a little longer. But there’s a clear difference in quality, you can tell by the fabric. I want the best.” Rob: “It has to be good and comfortable. Do we ever swap suits? No, take a look at us, haha. I weigh 98 kilos, Brian 78. You don’t do karate for the money. Not in the Netherlands anyway. In Egypt, Turkey and Azerbaijan karatekas make millions, drive around in the most expensive cars. The sport has a lot of prestige there and lots of money is pumped into it.” Brian: “We have to work for our money: on Sundays I’m at McDonald’s, he’s [gesturing at his brother] at Wok Parkstad Plaza.”
     
  • Gluttony. Brian: “I don’t eat crisps, chocolate or other sweets. Too unhealthy.” Rob: “I’m not that strict. If I notice my weight’s slowing me down I’ll do something about it, but that’s not necessary at the moment. Karate requires a lot of energy, perhaps the most of all sports. A match only lasts three minutes, but they’re very intensive minutes.” Brian: “It’s about speed, explosiveness and dynamism. Strength is important too. Some karatekas weigh over 120 kilos. They don’t move as smoothly, but they’re strong. As an opponent you adjust your tactics to that. In any case the sport is practised in categories; you’re classified according to weight and age.” Rob: “I drink alcohol no more than twice a year and then only in the summer holidays, when there are no competitions.”
     
  • Lust. Rob: “I’m not in a relationship. I’m not really thinking about it either. I’ve got other things on my mind.” Brian: “I’m doing great; I practice and I study, I don’t need anything else. It’s fine.”
     
  • Envy. Rob: “If I get silver instead of gold, I can be really bummed. Especially when I know I’m better than that, but didn’t do as well as I could have. But we’re not jealous of one another. Brian has enormous thrust, he’s great at kicking. I’m less good at that.” Brian: “My idol is Ryutaro Araga, a successful Japanese karateka. He has a really distinct style. When you see him walk you think ‘what a dope’, but when he’s on the mat, he fights like a top athlete. If he’s 3-0 behind he always knows how to win.” Rob: “I can really act like a rival on the mat, I always want to win.”
     
  • Sloth. Rob: “Not really. Well, maybe when I have to clean my room – we still live at home. Occasionally we’ll go to the movies or bowling with friends, or we’ll watch a few films at home.” Brian: “We almost never go out.”
     
  • Wrath. Rob: “I don’t get angry easily. If I lose during a top tournament, I can give the ground a good hit. But that anger also fades quickly. Do I use anger during the fight? No, my fist is just as hard when I’m angry as when I’m not.” Brian: “If I lose, I blame myself; I’m not mad at the opponent or the coach.
     
  • Pride. Brian: “We know what we can do, and we’re proud of it. But to shout about a victory from the rooftops, no, we’re too modest for that.” Rob: “A Facebook post is enough.”

Brian Timmermans, 20, third-year econometrics, born and lives in Heerlen

Trains fifteen to twenty hours per week, Timmermans karate team in Heerlen, , training for the European Championships in February in Sochi, Russia

Best performance: fifth in the European Championships (under 21s, up to 84 kilos) in 2016, multiple-time Dutch champion

Sponsored by Reuvers gym (fitness, strength training) and Hayashi (clothing and protective gear)

Rob Timmermans, 21, third-year fiscal economics, born and lives in Heerlen

Trains fifteen hours per week, the Timmermans karate team in Heerlen, training for the European and World Championships, hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games

Best performance: third in Series A of the World Karate Federation in Austria, fifth in Japan, multiple-time Dutch champion (heavyweight)

Sponsored by Reuvers gym (fitness, strength training) and Hayashi (clothing and protective gear)

This is the final instalment in our series about top athletes at UM

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