A short time ago I learned of Heather Harris and her delightful song, Shotokant. It’s entertaining and, yet, hits very close to home for me. Likely, for you, too. I received her permission to share it here. Enjoy!
I reached out asked if she had any words we could share along with the video. Here’s what she said.
In Her Own Words
I first started training after sitting on the sidelines watching my children train for nearly a year. Karate is something I’ve always wanted to try since I was young but never had the opportunity, hence living vicariously through my kids! Then at an open day, I heard the instructor say that parents could train too. I won’t say it didn’t take a lot of guts on my part to actually get on that floor but I’ve not regretted it for one minute – well maybe a few painful minutes here and there after those bunny hops of doom, but it’s been well worth it!
I’m fitter, healthier and have a really good outlet for my focus now besides the kids. We train together but our journeys are our own and best of all I get to relinquish responsibility each time we step on the dojo floor! Happily, a few other parents have signed up to train alongside the kids too so finding a training partner is getting easier.
Grading in karate is a bit like high diving, you have to climb the ladder to get on the platform before you can take the plunge! I want to be able to dive in. It’s an inevitable part of our progression and to my astonishment, the kids just blast through it and really seem to enjoy it and don’t appear nervous at all. They lulled me into a false sense of security and those first couple of gradings I did were just horrible! They went ok physically but internally I was a nervous wreck.
I give a lot of consideration to budo and really try to improve myself physically and spiritually so I thought long and hard about why I was so anxious and what to do about it. I decided to do more classes and to train more at home to become more familiar with all the people and the techniques and actually have less to stress about. It was a good start but it didn’t really tackle the issue of getting up in front of everyone at gradings. Familiarity seemed like a fair solution so I considered ways of putting myself out there in front of people and came up with the idea of writing a song.
I didn’t think I’d have the nerve to play it at all but I kept telling myself that I had put the work in to create it and I needed to complete the assignment I’d set myself or I would have achieved nothing. Initially, I only played it to Sensei Sherry who teaches us but during the performance, Sensei Petrus who owns the club arrived and asked me to post it on his Facebook page. I’m not a performer so again it took some bravery for me to put myself out there but I figured the more people who talk to me about it the stronger I become and the easier it will be to perform in future.
I’ve been very surprised at how well it’s been received. There’s not a word of a lie in the song and it’s all personal experience, it’s just a light-hearted look at the physical start of my journey. I love a lot of what Jesse Enkamp has to say on the debunking of karate myths and I think that finding humour in what we do could go a long way to taking some of the seriousness out of training and making it easier to share the whys and wherefores about why we do things a certain way. Focused sessions are fantastic but we should also have lots of time to live and living means forming friendships with training buddies and having a laugh together. I tell my children that the meaning of life is to Be Kind and to Be Happy. Sharing the song now is my way of trying to spread a little of the happiness!
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- Original Martial Arts Song – Shotokant by Heather Harris - February 6, 2018