Guide to SKOPJE

Black belt for eternal love


Balkon3 interview with Aziz Ismail – five-time karate champion of the Republic of Macedonia


He is only nineteen and already a “grandmaster” of martial arts, a karate master to be precise (karate – empty, unarmed hand). With his calmness, ambition and fighting spirit he has become a five-time champion of Macedonia. He has also achieved international success. “This is just the beginning, successful results will continue in the future” says self-confident Aziz in his interview for Balkon3. He understands karate as boiling water. “If it is not heated regularly, it cools after a while.”

We meet up with Aziz in the Turkish bazaar right after a training session. The exhaustion after hard training is evident in his face. Ten days ago he became the champion of Macedonia (in the 75 kg category). Although very young, he is already accustomed to success. First places come naturally to him as he has won dozens of medals and certificates from various tournaments. Metalurg Karate Club is a second home. “I usually have a two-hour training session five days a week, but if there is a competition within the national team or a European or World Championship the preparations for the matches are different. We train twice a day, one speed training and the second is fitness training. They are both held using different methods.” – says Aziz Ismail.


Aziz is also working hard on his education. He wants to become an economic expert so, two months ago, he became a freshman at the Faculty of Economics with Sts Cyril and Methodius University. He is currently not facing any problems, and sports and education are two parallel worlds that continue to develop with the same pace. Aziz is sure that there will be no problems: “You can find time for everything if you want to.” – he says.



He fell in love with karate at a very young age. The one to “blame” for this is his father Adnan. Besides family and relatives, his father is still his biggest supporter. “My dad took me to karate training sessions since I was a little child and over the years I grew fond of the sport and I decided to do karate professionally.” – explains Aziz and tells us about his first steps in the sport. “Nowadays, most young people train football or basketball but I opted for martial arts. Karate is not a popular sport, yet. However, the interest has been growing fast in recent years. It has a chance to become a very popular sport.” He is a professional karate fighter but he loves other sports too, such as football and tennis. He is a big fan of Liverpool and Rafael Nadal and follows their matches regularly.

In the company of Turkish tea, Aziz continues to tell about the happiest and saddest moments in his sports career. “I felt joy and sorrow at the same time and in the same place. In 2011 in the final of the European Cup I was happy that I got to the final but also disapointed that we lost. The championship was held in Novi Sad. There were 56 competitors in my category and my final opponent was a Croatian fighter Dino Povrzenic who defeated me 3-0. I was inexperienced back then, I was only 15 years old and it was the first European Championship in my career. I am still friends with my opponent through Facebook. If I compete against him in the near fututre, I believe that my desire, effort and ambition will help me climb the winner’s pedestal. and, of course, it would be an interesting fight and a real pleasure for the audience. “says Aziz.

Fights very often involves injuries. Aziz’s doctor, is always at his side. “The first injury I ever had was in 2011 at the Open tournament in Milan. In the semifinals my nose was roken, but I had no intention to surrender. I finished the match with a fractured nose. And, that’s how I got to the final. The audience applauded me which was made me really proud. A doctor of the National team is always by my side” – said young Aziz.


Aziz tells us about the characteristics of karate: “Karate is unlike other sports, but it makes you feel calm and comfortable”. The only condition in karate is to have the spirit and technique in the same place. First you get to know yourself, then the opponent and the motto is – You should not be kiled, rather than you must win.”

Aziz’s biggest idol are the Italian star Luigi Busa and the Turkish champion Enes Erkan. Also there are his teammates Ivo Cvetkovic and Ferhat Korbulic who always support him. At the end of the interview we want to explain what Aziz was like before his success in karate and now after the titles. “Between the two Aziz personas there are big differences in the spiritual, private and daily life. I used to spend a lot of time playing games on the computer, and going out with friends. I was very young and did not know how and where to spend my free time . Now I go to university in the mornings, then to my father’s travel agency in the afternoons. I want to learn the profession i.e. now I have a concrete plan. Karate shaped my lifestyle. According to Aziz, karate is like boiling water, if it is not heated regularly, it cools after a while. I hope it will continue to boil.”

Husamettin Gina