Mel & her son Euan started their karate journey, training at Sunshine Coast Karate since early 2020. Here’s a short interview about their karate journey so far.
What encouraged you to get started on your karate journey?
My son and I had been through a very traumatic period and I was looking for a safe community and activity to support my son that had deep cultural values I connected with. I have previously lived and travelled in Asia and studied Japanese language and culture as well as Tibetan Buddhism, Tai Chi and Qigong, but not yet any martial arts.
In particular, what made you choose to get started at Sunshine Coast Karate?
From the first day we came to a try-out class, it was the friendly community and welcoming attitude that made us feel like we had found a home. We felt encouraged and accepted and I loved the traditional yet fun approach to teaching children both karate & Japanese culture.
Most people have some sort of perception about what karate is all about before they even get started. When you were first getting started, what did you think karate was all about?
The perception for me was that there would be a focus on fighting and physical strength (however I secretly hoped it would be like Karate Kid!)
Has this changed, if so how?
My son Euan, 5 years old at the time, said it best when he and I were talking about kids at school using physical aggression towards each other in a way that made him fearful. When I asked him if that was what we learned at Karate, to fight, he said,
“No Mum, Karate is about peace.”
(Now he even talks like a Karate Kid!) Training alongside people of all ages and stages of life has been very inspiring and shown us that our power truly comes from within. This has been both healing & empowering.
Please share a little bit about your life outside of the dojo.
I am a single parent & Co-Founder of a Start-Up Media & Education Company. I am obsessed with long distance running, the ocean and outdoors and I love to physically and mentally push myself. My son and I love all things Japanese including Sushi, Green Tea, Anime, Manga & of course Pokemon!
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your life since you started learning karate?
My son has grown in his confidence immensely. Karate has given him something to feel proud of, a place to belong, kids to relate to and a deeper bond that we share training together.
I am grateful to have started Karate at the beginning of the epic year that was, 2020! The physical, mental & spiritual practices have helped me in my life as a parent and in my business, even through the times I could not come to training in the Dojo, I have honed my meditation practice, practiced Kata at home (badly!) and reminded myself everyday to apply more self-discipline.
What would you say are the most important lessons you have learned in the dojo?
I have become much more aware of my inner dialogue towards myself. I have often felt in a constant battle with myself, with very little self-compassion or self-kindness.
Karate teaches me mental focus, but also how to have a growth mindset towards my own development, to let go of self-sabotaging thoughts and humble my ego to learning, allowing myself to be an actual human… (Total human-work-in-progress on that one!)
Do you have anything else you would like to share about your karate journey so far?
In the last 12 months, the impact of Karate for my son and I has not been seen in our achievements in the dojo, we are both still white belts! But this is not why we joined or why we continue to train. We have started to find deeper levels of inner strength, a more positive self-identity and begun to understand the Karate4Life philosophy in that all life is a dojo. We have found a community truly based on friendship and respect. This has helped us to befriend and respect ourselves more, too.