Teaching Is Not the Only Talent

On the road toward inner peace with Dr. Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan

Teaching is not the only talent for them. They also have passions, goals and dreams. Every month we will meet one of the professors and try to explore what interesting, unusual talents and hobbies they have.


Dr. Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan specializes in the sphere of civil society, political culture, volunteering, and democratization of post-communist countries, research methodology and corruption. She received her PhD in Political Science from Jacobs University Bremen. Prior to joining AUA, she worked at Eurasia Partnership foundation and at Caucasus Research Resource Centers – Armenia. She is the team leader of a four-year research project about Armenian civil society and has authored publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Jenny Paturyan is an AUA PSIA alumna.


-I do a lot of things, some of which are very crazy, but the only stable thing that I do for this moment is karate.

-Do you treat karate as a sport or as a martial art?

-Although karate is now widely treated as a sport, it will always stay a martial art for me. It has a lot of beautiful things in it; it’s good for health and has some elements of meditation. This is especially useful if you work under stress. Karate is irreplaceable for me. If I miss two or three weeks of trainings I start to feel the need to train.

We have a fine group, but mainly children do karate in Armenia. I guess I’m the only adult in the group. When I was in America for four months, I found a club where all of the members were adults, people aged from 20 to 50. I really enjoyed my time there.

-Which style of karate do you do? And what characteristics does it have?

Shotokan. It’s the most popular style of karate, which has a clear history with a name of a particular person. As the most practiced style, it has become one of the official styles karate in Japan. It had an influence on the style because there was a need to adjust it in a way so that large quantities of people could learn it in a short period of time.

-Do you use any kind of weapons?

-Unfortunately no, mainly because most members of the group are children. After one reaches the black belt, one starts to learn to work with weapons. There’s no group of people who are old and serious enough to start training with weapons because they usually stop after reaching the black belt. We do have trainers that are qualified to work with different weapons though. I would like to work with weapons a lot. It’s very interesting.  


© Maral Eslahpazir

-Do you have any degree in karate?

-I have a black belt. It’s a huge responsibility, especially in the eyes of children.

-How did you start to train? What made you feel that you need it?

I had health problems. That was before I left for Germany. It’s very difficult to recover after health issues, and you should always keep doing sports. One of my friends advised me a club, which was mainly for health care but was developed from martial arts. The trainer also had a group of karate and he advised me to visit karate classes, because I needed to move more in order to strengthen my health condition. I went there only few times but I felt that I liked it. When I left for Germany, I stopped doing any kinds of sports. I tried to run in the mornings, but it’s not the same as doing regular sports. After a while, I got an email, which notified that university students in were forming a karate club in Germany. I missed the trainings and I also knew that I needed to be physically active. So I decided to give it a try. I liked the environment there from the very first training, and this is how I got involved in Shotokan style karate. When I graduated from university, I was thinking that I was too old for karate, but after a year I felt that I was missing karate terribly. When I returned to Armenia, I founded the school where I continue my trainings till now.

-What does karate mean to you?

-It’s what you think of yourself.Who you are․

It’s part of my identity. It’s obvious that I’m an instructor at AUA, I’m a daughter of my parents, and I’m Armenian. One of these elements is karate.


© Maral Eslahpazir

-How does karate influence your character?

-Of course I’m supposed to say that it forms a persistent personality and etc., but unfortunately it’s not the case. The reality is that if you have those traits of character, karate strengthens them, and if you don’t have, karate is not going to create them. Experience shows that people who do not have those traits of character just stop coming to trainings.

Karate helps you to concentrate, makes you work hard to reach your dreams, and teaches not to give up and accept your failures with your head up. Karate is not aggression; the philosophy of classical karate is to teach a person to control his/her aggression. I would lie if I said that karate has created all those traits of character in me. That’s where the strength of karate is; it helps to discover what you have and develops it into a stronger thing. Karate is beautiful. It’s an inner calmness. That calmness is what my friends appreciate the most in me.

-Did you get all that you wanted to get from karate?

-Not yet, and that’s good. Karate is an endless road: the further you walk, the more you discover; the more you discover, the more you learn.

-Do you have any goals you want to achieve in future?

-I let it go with the flow.  I just continue my trainings. The goal is to get the inner peace, which is going well so far. The goal is to continue walking on the road. Where does the road lead? Nobody knows.


-Is there anything that you like doing besides karate?

-Mountains… It started from an ordinary tourism and developed into alpinism. Now, I start drawing parallels between alpinism and karate. They have a lot in common: the inner peace, the factor of challenging yourself. When you are thirsty, tired, and you feel like giving up, after a while, you realize that you can do more than you think you can. Another important thing in alpinism is that it’s a group work. You share the difficulties and victories with other people. You start to discover people. Even friendships came to an end in the mountains, because you start to see a person from the side that you never had a chance to see before.


-Which is more important: the road or the destination?

– There are many factors that one should consider: the weather, not only your the health condition but also that of your teammates. There were cases when we returned back when there was only 100 meters left to the top. Mountains are dangerous if you concentrate only on reaching the top.

-Is there a mountain that is especially memorable?

-The most memorable was in Nepal. It was a fantastic journey to Himalayas, which was the highest and the most difficult top I have ever climbed. I’ve noticed an interesting thing: all the people who spend time in the mountains realize that they are different after a while. I realized it when I was 15. And yeah, it’s okay to be different. That’s what makes me an interesting person. The thing is that you shouldn’t be afraid of realizing it.

-Have you ever faced failure?

-Although I like risky things, I’m a very careful person. There were a lot of risky situations in the mountains, but my consciousness helped me overcome them. Of course there were also traumas, but when you enjoy the process instead of the destination, you are not afraid of failures.



Arpi Janyan

From the author: Thanks to this amazing woman and a great instructor for this inspirational conversation.

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