Living Life Well: Bob Hollinger
Practitioners of Japanese karate constantly strive to perfect their focus and balance, qualities eighth degree black belt Bob Hollinger has discovered carry over into one’s world view and relationships.
A certified senior advisor for Lehigh Valley Oasis Senior Advisors, Hollinger balances his job of helping senior citizens and their families locate and access appropriate assistance with his dedication to family and passion for karate.
Hollinger’s focus is, in his words, “giving back.”
Through the medium of karate, Hollinger provides assistance to disenfranchised children attending Schools of Hope in Thailand and two local groups, Valley Against Sex Trafficking and Truth for Women, a group supporting women in crisis.
Originally from the Reading area, as a young adult Hollinger joined the Peace Corps and served two years in Morocco. After a short stint back in the states, he received the opportunity to live and work in either Saudi Arabia or Japan. He opted for Japan, and what was originally planned as a two-year stay became a 17-year residence.
During this time Hollinger discovered the beauty and power of karate. He describes himself as “... blessed to have learned Japanese karate from some of the finest karate instructors in Japan.”
Marriage and the birth of his daughters brought Hollinger and his family back to Pennsylvania and a home in Macungie. However, for the past 15 years they have revisited Japan each summer.
These trips allow Hollinger to reconnect and to train with his Japanese instructors. Three years ago he added a trip to Thailand to his itinerary.
In conjunction with John McAuley, one of his former students, Hollinger supports SOH. SOH assists Shan Burmese refugees living along the Thailand-Burma border. These young people are not recognized as citizens by Thailand or Burma. Lacking official protection and identification, they may become easy prey for slave/sex traffickers.
During his visits Hollinger freely provides SOH students with four days of intense instruction in karate and self-defense.
Recently, his teenage daughters Rina and Misa, who have been studying Toyama karate since they were five, assisted their father in this endeavor.
In addition, Hollinger financially supports SOH by teaching karate classes at the Lower Macungie Fire Company in Wescosville. The funds defray the costs of transportation, karate uniforms, belts and certificates for SOH students.
Sadly, the slave/sex trafficking trade is a global problem from which the Lehigh Valley is not immune. To provide financial assistance at the local level, the Hollinger family and many of Hollinger’s students are participating in the Truth for Women 5K Walk/Run fundraiser April 30 in Center Valley.
Immersion in karate has given Bob Hollinger the strength to be humble and the power to be generous. He believes the study of karate will help those who have been marginalized to regain their balance, refocus their energies, and achieve their independence.
For more information on Schools of Hope, VAST and Truth for Women, visit the following websites: schoolsofhope.blogspot.com; thevast.org; truthforwomencenter.org.