Love, peace and harmony, these are the hallmarks of Pepe Imaz, a former player and coach from La Rioja who has transferred spirituality to sports and other areas such as music. He is a singular type to say the least, unique in the matter, far from academic psychology, he speaks of fleeing from triumphalism, of “being the best”, of the “ego” and “interests” to be happier “as a human being”, above the “character or celebrity” that each one represents.
He denies labels and sees the individual as part of the universe, and everyone equally. His philosophy helped the brother of ‘Nole’ Djokovic to come back and later to the number 1 of the ATP. “When Novak breaks the racket, I don’t feel sorry, I feel compassion for him, because I know he suffers and I stand next to his soul and share that suffering.”
Imaz, who looks you in the eye and tells you: “You’re a good person”, a few minutes after meeting you, gives you intense hugs as if she loved you all her life. That formula of affection led him to success. Walk the path of spirituality. He was at the Pigeon Shooting and gave a ‘masterclass’ to the club’s members and school, and asked them to please not applaud him, “the praise hurts me”.
–He came to his teaching method in a vocational way, not academically, I understand.
-From many paths and none concrete, at 17, maybe 18 years old, I had problems and I wanted to change my life, I noticed a certain attraction for books on Psychology, self-help and personal improvement, I looked for help in them, I kept looking… then I had a spark or flash, I felt that I needed love, that closeness, respect, affection, what came to me was shocking, of understanding of human beings.
-There was a Lebanese lady, they say her name is Siham, who met her and put her on the path of spirituality…
–That person opens the door to the path of love and the world of energies, but each one works on the person and the being, in addition to being able to share with people with emotional problems that require help, life is putting me, I reached that moment because life brought me to him from many places.
“But then… Siham isn’t real?”
–Yes, it exists, it is, but there are many more things that put me there to channel them into a book, this state comes from many places, otherwise it would all be very scattered. Understands?
-Of course, of course… Did you rise to fame because of Novak Djokovic, but did you also help Julio Iglesias and other famous tennis players, golfers, singers…?
-Giving names does not make much sense, I shared with music people and other tennis players in addition to Novak, acquaintances, the path taken is to reach love, no matter the character or what it is called, Juan Luis, María, loves from home, it doesn’t matter if it’s an artist or an actor, what counts is the person because the protagonist is love.
– Do you consider yourself revolutionary or visionary in your method?
–I consider myself fortunate to have chosen this path personally, I reached it out of necessity and to save my life, I do not want to leave that path, and show it if you allow me, on the way you carry a tray, I am delighted that you offer it to others, the only thing I do is my way, if they knock on the door and I feel it, I share it, it is nothing different or revolutionary in my opinion.
-But… what is the secret to reach people?
–There is none, I show myself naturally, it is like a person who is thirsty, there is no secret, she drinks and calms down, it is the same, with love you can appease that need, there are limit situations, depression, suffering and sadness , even when someone thinks about suicide, that fact in itself serves to live in a more valuable way.
-You went through such delicate moments, didn’t you?
–Yes, and that is like an alarm clock that came to my world, the effect it provokes helps you to see our existence better, that suffering leads us to being, which is what is important. Do you understand what I’m telling you?
-Of course, I suppose you will have followers of your mystical message, did you create a school?
–No, there are no followers, following someone does not matter to one, neither to the follower nor to the followed, I do not understand it that way, everyone does the same thing, which is to feed the soul with love, it is not about creating schools, I am not pending it, it seems very dangerous to me that one has followers, there you suffer, and also to follow, because you give power to another.
–In the ‘masterclass’ that he offered in the RS Tiro de Pichón he asked the audience not to applaud him, do you not like to stand out or stand out, praise?
-My idea is not to give space to them. In a car park, a tank comes, I want to avoid the compliment because it makes me uncomfortable, it is an experience that I have already lived, I come to help says the tank, you can do it, the rest does not make sense, it does not benefit to feed selfishness or interest, it is about the human being and that’s it, in your profession everyone has their own path, you yours and I mine, and we can share, you are not better or worse than another.
–Do traditional psychologists fit your message well? Do some see it as charlatan talk and that it is not based on scientific arguments?
–It is wonderful to see it as each one wants, it is not about whether you are right or not, I share with the person, what they think each of them contributes, and that is why it makes no sense to fight, or create differences when there are none, it is about the universe, we form a whole together, an older man from the countryside can share his experience, without being a psychologist, he shares his knowledge just as I do, and he helps you and helps himself.
–Is it enriching to listen to someone who masters a subject, whatever it is, is that what you mean?
-Of course, it’s about opening the fan, there are many branches, I’m not more than you nor you than me, let’s seek maturation among all, that’s your branch, welcome to the tree that we form therefore.
-Do they say that your meeting with Djokovic was casual?
-That’s right, I met his brother Marko through Carlos, a boy who trained with me and who had emotional problems, worked with us, shared a room and expenses in a tournament, he felt good with this way of approaching life, we talked and we shared, they came together to Marbella, with Marko then I did the same, I helped him, I offered what I had in my pockets…, and Novak liked it too.
–Did that mental strength improve your results?
-I didn’t make him feel better, I just shared with him, discovering it was his thing, Novak wasn’t better or he improved his game then, I think, from what I told him, it just happened, by sharing, casual, look.
-But… then he started breaking rackets again in frustration and hitting balls…
-I don’t feel sorry for Novak in those moments, but compassion when that happens to him, because I know he suffers, and I understand him, I put myself in his feelings and share the suffering, it is a childish gesture, we are all imperfect and individualism can us , wanting to win, being the best, interests, but I discovered another path, that of inner peace, love, which begins with you, as a person and towards others as well, it is normal for children to steal balls, I also broke the racket against the judge’s chair (not like Zverev, with the referee standing on it), I did it wrong, and I left that side, I tried to love myself more, I no longer cared so much about winning games, or beating players who were eleven or twenty in the world, I understand Barty when he reached number one and left him, he didn’t feel happy, he didn’t enjoy himself anymore, and the important thing is to love himself, also Osaka, I also had anxiety and depression, I did this to save myself, I don’t do nothing special, I don’t have any formula for it, whoever gives it can find it see. Agassi called me and told me: ‘Novak is number one’, and I told him: So what, has anything changed in his life, ours…?
-Other tennis players, like Kyrgios, will tell you that love doesn’t win games or tournaments, don’t they focus on it properly?
–I am nobody to say anything to anyone, if they know love and peace, okay, and if they say I don’t want that, it’s a joke, well too, do you eat all the canapés?, no, the ones you want, there are options , one feels them and picks them up and experiences them, not the same ones for everyone, you can choose.
–Do the federations and the leaders, at an institutional level, in the psychological or mental ‘staff’, include your philosophy?
-Yes, in several cases it happened, in fact a joint effort has been started in the La Rioja federation, focused on this way of transmitting on the track. In the last Davis Cup, I also spoke with the national president, Miguel (Díaz), who is wonderful, the Spanish federation really likes this approach to teaching in tennis.
– Do you think that Spanish tennis is experiencing a good moment?
–Spectacular and stratospheric, if it goes down from the level we have, which is 9.5 now, to 9.2 or even 8.9, it will continue to be something impressive, in case we are at 6 or, within after three decades, in 4, we have to accept it, because the situation is wonderful, in the elite, but the Spanish Federation also does a lot of work at the base.
–Idols as a reference are necessary, do they drive?
-The fact that Spaniards appear on television worldwide in each tournament stimulates, but the field of seeds is in the clubs, it is what must be sown and paid, that children like tennis, that they are well treated, trained, that they have a base at the beginning always from entertainment, it is very good that there are Spanish players at the top, at the top, that Nadal achieves triumphs, that revelations like Alcaraz appear, that there are girls like Muguruza or Badosa, but in the base is where the tree grows and is built, not on top of the tops.
-It has been a pleasure.
-I think the same, I love it, you are a good person, I was a scoundrel and I had to go through that process, there are people who are more interested, selfish…, everything has its place, scoundrel or good person, who is better? .. do you mind if I give you a hug?