I met Zak three years ago when our head of coaching said to me, “We have a coach from Algeria who loves basketball and he’s trying to learn English. Some of the kids may have a hard time understanding him, but he wants to get better, and I think he’ll be very good.”
I went in to meet Zak, and I understood him quite well. Maybe it’s because I learned about his story as a karate champion from Algeria who loved old-school hard work, which for Zak, required him to do his karate training on cement. Zak also played basketball as a youth from high school, during college, and as a semi-pro player up until he badly injured his hand, which required surgery and ruined his chances of being recruited. He pivoted in another direction after his hand healed, and he’s never looked back.
As a New York Open Karate Champion, who trained at his gym, not a dojo, while working two jobs, Zak is one of our best coaches when it comes to physical conditioning and agility. Parents have said they love how much better he’s become at communicating, and his passion for teaching is everything they would want their child to see. We are happy that Zak came to us to learn, grow and develop, which is something we hope for all of our coaches, staff and participants. In full circle, our players are learning, growing, and developing with a mentor like Zak as one of our Mo’ Motion coaches.
Be sure to check out Zak’s Spotlight where he shares his personal story and journey!