" Looking back I see some setbacks, disappointments, even heartbreaks; I also see successes, achievements, and growth. Looking now I see even greater strength, more wisdom, and better self than ever! " - Mister G, Sajora Master
No matter what part of the world you were born in or what culture you happened to be raised in, there are countless numbers of trials and tribulations to be faced in childhood. But out of the countless numbers of childhood trials and tribulations the ones we face become the experiences that we use to shape us into who we are. With the help of our parents, and the tools provided for us by our cultures as well the resources nature all around us, we shape and forge our bodies and our minds into an individual self that cannot just survive, but can navigate and thrive in its particular milieu. My given name is Garba Onadja, but I have reshaped and forged myself into Mister G. I was born in Niamey, Niger one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world; with about two third of its territory covered by the Sahara Desert and much of the rest threatened by periodic droughts and desertification. Growing up in this arid climate, my particular trials and tribulations of childhood were poverty, illiteracy, and bullies.
" Growing up, I felt the urge to forge my body "
Forced to go full days with little or no food on occasion, Poverty taught me Endurance. I had to learn how to function with very little and make the most of the very little that we had. Being poor also taught me how to fend for myself. Not only how to hustle nourishment from the people
and the culture around me but how to use the natural resources provided by the land that most people did not even take into consideration.
"Fitness is the real fountain of youth!" - Mister G
Illiteracy was a big problem in my community. My father was illiterate, but he was wise enough to know that living under French colonialism, there would be no advancement for his children unless we learned how to read and write. My father made school a priority and instilled in me the importance of education, which allowed me to excel in school and to this day never stop learning. My father also ran a very diverse household. For example, my father never imposed any particular religion on me, but made me learn and even practice both Islam and Christianity in addition to Animism and our African Ancestral beliefs. Being surrounded by such diversity taught me how to pick and choose and formulate my own beliefs out of the institutional resources.
" When you stop moving, you begin dying " - Mister G
I created Sajora Executive Black Belt as an empowerment curriculum. Instinctively, following my natural flow had helped me to thrive in my youth, but consciously creating Sajora helped me to thrive even more in the United States. In the following twenty-five years I received my tenth Degree Master Black Belt in 2004, and I was inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame. By that time, I had already also created the persona of Mister G.
In June 1992, I arrived in Los Angeles and became a U.S. Citizen a few years later. I was thirty years old at the time and when I looked back upon my life, all of my trials and tribulations, all of my triumphs and my failures, there had been a naturalness in the way I picked and chose the things that would make me who I became. Sajora is an African word that has multiple, but related meanings – survival, wilderness, knowledge of one’s surroundings - and can be said to capture a sense of nature and the way everything has its own individual flow and if it follows that flow it can reach its truest, highest self. So, from all the diverse philosophies and arts that I had mastered.
I wanted to share my knowledge of Sajora with others, and so Mister G is a projection of what I aspired myself to be, my vision of the ideal teacher who would teach Sajora and help people find the natural way of achieving their ideal selves that they had lost in a cultural labyrinth, or by concentrating too much on their “failures” or “losses”. As a teacher of Sajora, Mister G is not an "unsurpassable" master or a mystical guru, but a bridge for passing over as his students use Sajora to surpass their teacher and go their own natural way, as I did, as we all must. Mister G is rather the facilitating companion in their individual journeys of self-discovery and personal empowerment.