Edutainment mix: Keep calm and kick on

Karate is one of the topmost martial arts practised all over the world. Martial arts depend on mental focus and physical coordination.

The art of being a creative is enmeshed in the power of being eclectic, which is to embrace the many skills and talents that we are endowed with.

Being an edutainer is also encapsulated in understanding and being conscious of the many social diametrics and approaches with regards to the salient issues of development.

Percy Soko is a representation of the eclectic nature of being an artist and using the power of art as a tool of actualising development. He has used the power of theatre and film to tell the everyday story of our reality and the actualisation of development.

“I am a filmmaker with more than 20 years of experience. My core competencies include live stage performances, screen acting, voice acting, and fight scene choreography. My work has appeared on ZTV, DSTV, Showmax and Amazon Prime.

“I am passionate about using the arts, particularly film and theatre to reflect on the state of the world around us. I believe creative expression can be used for advocacy and can influence positive transformation”.  Soko said.

In this piece, I seek to outline his different side when he uses the martial arts in the manifest of karate as a tool of promoting discipline and consciousness. This is a critical and yet over seen tool which enhances the consciousness of the mind and soul and the enhancement of discipline where character can be used in edutainment as a martial art.

Karate is one of the topmost martial arts practised all over the world. Martial arts depend on mental focus and physical coordination.

They are usually associated with Asia but I strongly believe in the African roots of the martial arts.

The literal meaning of the word karate is an open hand, kara means open and te means hand.

I admire the power of karate through movies and documentaries, though I admit it is a hard discipline to actually adopt.

Art is a “discipline” and art is enmeshed in discipline and expressivity as this is what is seen in karate as an expressive form of the martial arts.

For many people, the martial arts is part of their life. We live in a generation where the summoning of energy is something that is of importance for the balance of the mind, the body and the soul.

Some do yoga, zumba, or even jog to keep themselves sane and emotionally astute.

“For me karate  is actually more than a hobby, but it helps with mental and emotional well being as it enhances the effectives of the creative prowess”. Soko said.

This means that the skills learnt in karate can be applied to other aspects that can encapsulate relationships in life.

In relation to precedence of the increase in crime, and cases of GBV,  there is now a heightened interest in the martial art of karate as a tool of self defense.

We can never hide from the existence of violence as a reality that is faced by everyone and martial art training gives the art of self defense.

 Ironically this is a powerfully empowering suggestion and recommendation for those who are victims of gender based violence. I am not encouraging violence but the art of self defense as a requisite.

“Most of my clients are in need of self defense lessons which is good, but martial arts is about self confidence and flexibility.  Well many people in our context have innate fear and lack of knowledge and skills, which affects their self confidence.

"Well in training the art of karate, I have learnt to train the youth such as the Loxion Dance crew at the Mzilikazi Youth Centre and some youth at St Patricks’ Makokoba to realise their capability to apply skills that will help them realise their full potential and capacity," Soko said.

He further explains that: “As a karataker, fear becomes something that is reduced from knowing that there are skills to draw upon when attacked, and the ability to also meet challenges with less apprehension.  Nowadays we speak of mental health but one way to stabilise the mind is the training of karate. It teaches discipline and it has a really therapeutic effect.

“Karate can help reduce stress and anxiety by encouraging you to practice deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. It helps train your mind to keep your attention focused while remaining calm and alert. This can be especially helpful when you're trying to do multiple tasks that divide your attention,” Soko said.

Karate has a mental health effect and this is what is needed. In a similar retrospect it is also useful in the fight and antagonists against drug abuse, which is ravaging the vast expanse of the Zimbabwean populace.

Karate has health benefits. Fitness is something needed. Artists need to be fit and not chubby.

I am drawn to embrace the karate vibe as it has a health and fitness related benefit. And this was one critical point which Soko outlined saying: “Physical, mental and emotional well-being are the other major reasons why people sign up for martial arts training. Consistent training not only conditions the mind and body to have strength and stamina to fight back in a violent situation, but it  also helps the body to fight diseases, stay flexible, strong and active as people age."

Soko said martial arts provides stress relief and ways to release pent up energy.

"Together with a healthy diet martial arts training gives people a well rounded regimen that they can do anytime and anywhere. People take control of their well being by being mindful of, and making adjustments to things that they know could affect them," he said.

The power of karate also enhances the meaning of value consensus which is needed within our society as we are living in an era of toxicity aggravated by the precedence of hate and despondency.

We are in a time where there is need for social cohesion and Karate as an edutainment tool enhances the meaning and the validity of the sense of community.

“While karate was first used by people to secretly train together to fight against oppressors, today’s martial arts has become a community with an even bigger purpose. It’s where people meet and share with others their passions. It’s where you find people of all ages and from all walks of life to learn from and pass on knowledge."

He said karate is where people train hard, celebrate the wins and happy moments and comfort each other in times of trouble and loss. It is where people can improve themselves and where they can be of service to others.

It is therefore of importance that children and the youth develop an interest in Karate as it can help in the opening up of their body, mind and soul and create a normally functioning individual.

Raymond Millagre Langa is a musician, poet, orator and independent researcher. He is also the founder of Indebo edutainment Trust. Follow Raymond Millagre Langa @Millagre Ray Langa on Facebook, @Millagre Langa on twitter and email or [email protected]

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