03.06.2016

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Suuri sydän on poissa

Mika Rainer Kalliomaa 10/16/1972 - 05/22/2016

Mika Kalliomaa grew up in Vantaa in a family of entrepreneurs which also included his four years older brother Petri. Photographs can be found of the sporty Mika on his motocross motorcycle before the age of ten. During his secondary school in Hakunila he became interested in strength training. He graduated from Sotunki high school.

A big turn happened in Mika's life in 1995 when he enrolled in a basic course of Savate, French boxing. Already in the first classes Mika showed a natural talent for the sport. Training Savate, and his other activity within the sport became a significant part of his life, continuing until the end.

After a few years of training Kalliomaa completed a qualification of international judge and instructor degree in France. He also achieved a kickboxing championship in Finland and is one of the few Finns to have participated in challenging full contact Savate matches in international competitions. Kalliomaa was the founder of the official federation of the sport, Suomen Savate ry (Finnish Savate Federation). A respected judge, in his white-collared shirt, he became a more and more familiar sight in international championship competitions, while working as a coach for the Finnish team.

By nature Mika was one-hundred-per-cent entrepreneur, who did not complain about petty things. He worked in the family company Kuljetus Oy Kalliomaa (Transport Kalliomaa). If you wanted to wake up this punctual entrepreneur, you had to set the alarm clock for five thirty – whether in the frost of February or the hot vacation days of July.

Kalliomaa was a great cook. If you popped in for a coffee, you could smell the baked buns of this positive and life-loving man already at the front door. When enjoying these dishes at the dinner table, we joked that “Somebody will be very lucky one day to have Mika for a wife!” This athlete with healthy eating habits had one insurmountable weakness: the “Dallas pulla” (a Finnish pastry).

His professional and responsible coaching method in Savate impressed everyone. His technique was like directly from a textbook, and that was also his focus. His teaching style was clear, sharp and confident, reflecting his stable personality and life choices.

He always had time for his students after practice, and constructive discussions often continued until after the opening hours of the gym. Many club members remember Mika's outdoor exercises in Pirkkola sports park, continuing for several summers.

Kalliomaa had a talent for creating a positive and gentle atmosphere, even when the exercise was demanding. There was always a lot of humour in Mika's class, and it did not diminish his credibility as a coach and expert. Kalliomaa did not make a number of himself. He focused on listening to others.

When educating instructors, he excelled in the field of the physics of the human body, as well as his knowledge of the sport. There is not one kind of sports injury he either had not had himself, or otherwise gained knowledge about.

Mika Kalliomaa married his loved-one Titta, who supported him until his big heart stopped. Kalliomaa was also a father of a son. We will later honour Mika's wish and bring the now three-year-old Luca to the Savate gym. We will also tell him what kind of a person his father was, and what were his values in sport and in life in general.

Mika's will to live and strong physical condition also helped in the fight against a severe and rare cancer. Kalliomaa encountered this fatal illness basically in the same way he had lived his life: a constructive understanding and black humor. A week before his death, when discussing death, Mika, with glassy eyes, said: "What can you do. Shit happens!"

Savate Club's longtime instructor Mika Kalliomaa died on 22 May 2016 in Terhokoti (Terho Home) in Helsinki. Kalliomaa was 43 years old.

Jan Lagerbohm

The author is a friend of Mika Kalliomaa, and the founder and executive director of Savate Club Helsinki

Translation: Tiina Porthan