When he isn’t sitting behind the wheel of a Gstaad taxi or restoring furniture, Pablo Mobèche is training for karate. At the end of July, he won a gold medal with the Swiss team in the Czech Republic.
The team are world champions in the karate discipline ‘Kata Team Masters’. What’s this exactly?
Kata is about simulating a fight. It’s important to show a certain sequence of movements with the utmost precision. Two years ago, I won the silver medal as a Kata lone fighter – this was also in the Czech Republic. However, I’ve now won the world champion title along with Hubert Schöller and Fabiano Falcetti.
How does Kata work in a threesome?
Each team fights among themselves. All team members work together and the fight should be harmonised. It's like being attacked from multiple sides at the same time. So, it’s all the more important to coordinate each movement accurately and emphasise the right points. The targeted use of strength is called Kime and this stems from the lower abdominal region.
What sets you apart from your opponents?
I wasn't the judge (laughs)! It took six jury members to decide and they observed us closely from every angle.
Did you choose the kata moves yourselves?
We had to follow set moves in the preliminary rounds, but in the final, we demonstrated our own kata moves for a few minutes.
When did you start karate?
I started karate when I was young, but I wasn’t very successful. Later, when I lived in Geneva for a while, I practiced kung fu. I missed this after my move to La Tine, as there wasn’t a kung fu club nearby. After two years without martial arts, a neighbour told me about the Saigokan karate club in Bulle, the only karate-do club in Romandy. I liked the club and its members straight away. We’re one big family. After competitions, we often throw big parties and everyone comes.
What’s the importance of age in karate?
Some clubs pretty much write you off after 35. Luckily, that isn’t the case in Bulle! Of course, you get slower and weaker with age, but you also have more experience.
Do you still think about your victory in the Czech Republic?
Yes, it’s still quite fresh and makes me really happy. I only managed to get close to a podium position in the previous World Championships in Athens, Australia and Indonesia. I’m also very happy when people come to my shop and congratulate me, even if I don’t know them.
What challenges are you taking on next?
Starting in September, we’ll train two or three times a week for the Swiss Championships in October 2020 and especially the European Championships in Holland that year too.
What connects you to Gstaad apart from taxi driving?
I like the region very much and enjoy coming here in my free time. Also, my daughter’s been living in Gsteig for a few years after she fell in love. As an antique dealer, I spend a lot of time at at the bric-a-brac sales in Saanen.
Based on AvS/Sara Trailovic
Translated by Justine Hewson
Pablo Mobèche won the gold medal at the Karate World Championships in the Czech Republic with the Swiss team. The competition takes place every three years by SKIF (Shotokan Karate-Do International Swiss Federation). He has been training with the Saigokan Bulle karate club since 1997. The 69-year-old lives with his wife Gisela Mobèche in La Tine, Rossinière, running an antique shop there where he restores furniture. Two days a week, Mobèche works as a taxi driver at Taxi Simon in Gstaad.