It’s official: Wonderful Machine employees literally kick butt, especially in Croatia where 21-year old Researcher Mihael Ećimović lives, works, studies, and competes!
In addition to working in Wonderful Machine’s Outreach department and being a full-time student in Computer Science, Mihael is also a karate national champion. He recently competed and won the Croatian Senior National Karate Championship.
Here are a few words from Mihael on his sport:
Karate is a martial art that focuses on striking and kicking. It is divided into two parts: kumite and kata.
In kumite, you are fighting against other athletes and receive points for striking your opponent: one point for striking the opponent in the head or torso with your hand; two points for kicking the opponent in the torso with your leg; three points for kicking him in the head or throwing him to the ground. The athlete with the most points in the match wins.
Mihael competes in the second karate form kata, where,
You have predefined movements and attacks that you have to perform. Judges give points based on your performance. They grade your speed, strength and precision for a combined total score. Again, the athlete with most points wins the match.
Karate is both a team sport and an individual sport.
In kata, when performing individually, you perform alone as fast, precise and strong as you can. In team, you have two teammates with you and you have to perform all that at the same time. I competed in the kata team competition with my two teammates in the Senior National Karate Championship. We have trained as a team for three years and have really honed our group coordination. We can perform techniques in near absolute sync. In addition to karate training, we train together at the gym to get stronger and faster.
Mihael started training in karate 16 years ago at the age of 5.
My parents drove me to karate training to watch it, and I really liked it so they drove me again the next day so I could try it myself. After that, my karate journey started. After maybe 2 years of training, I went to my first competition. I still remember it: I got second place and a silver medal. I was the happiest child on earth.
A little bit later, I was going to competitions every weekend and winning medals. My first really big tournament was when I was 16. I went to the Junior World Championship in Tenerife, Spain. I also went to the Under-21 European Championship in Prague and the Senior World Championship in Dubai. Right now, I have about 350 medals, but still no medals from a European or World Championship. I hope I can change that one day!
He attributes a portion of his success to his great teachers, both in karate and beyond.
I had two Senseis: Zdenko Horvat and Nenad Horvat who have trained karate for almost their entire lives. Since I was 7, I spent almost every evening training with them and almost every weekend going to competitions with them. Together with my parents, who gave me incredible support and drove me every day to trainings and to competitions, I think they had an important part in raising and teaching me.
In addition to his demanding training regimen, Mihael finds time for all his interests.
Besides karate, I am really interested in computers, computer science and video games. I think that I can do both computer science and karate at the same time because I enjoy both so much! In my free time, I spend time with my friends, family and dogs. I also enjoy “mind” games such as chess, and other sports including European football, basketball and volleyball.
Mihael grew up in Gromacnik, a small village near the city of Slavonski Brod.
It is a nice and quiet place to live and grow up in. The main athletic sport there and in all of Croatia is football. Karate and martial arts are not that popular because it is very hard to make a living from it. Only world champions and medalists can live off of karate in Croatia, and that is a very hard task.
But if anyone can do it, we believe Mihael has a fighting chance!
Right now at Wonderful Machine, Mihael works as an associate photo editor.
My job is to find the oldest photographer profiles in our database and then update their data, such as location, Instagram followers, photography specialty keywords, links, etc. After that, I send an email to the photographer and possibly connect them to senior colleague who will do a quick video call to explain our membership and the services we offer.
My responsibility is also to try to learn more and ask questions. We have lots of office hours and meetings where we ask questions and learn from senior colleagues. I am very passionate about working at Wonderful Machine. I have to say that everyone there is unbelievably helpful, supportive, professional, and a pleasure to work with. After this karate championship, I want to commit even more to my work here to show everyone my strongest side and become the best at my role.
Congratulations Mihael from the team here on winning the Senior National Championship!
Stay tuned to learn more about our Team and their lives outside of Wonderful Machine!