A Backstage Karate Story from Summer Camp

The best kind of story

August 15, 2016

by Iron Mike Savoia


As I leapt from my car in the dusty parking lot behind the stage at Marymoor Park, I asked my fiance, “Should I take my headband?”


Hours later, standing in the grassy area full of band gear, tents, and dudes in black t-shirts shuttling heavy equipment on and off the stage, I rediscovered that yellow headband in my pocket. Upon adorning it for an Instagram Story, my pal Ryan shouts at me from across the lot “IF YOU’RE GONNA WEAR THAT HEADBAND, YOU BETTER DO SOME [EXPLETIVE> KARATE ON STAGE”.

Challenge accepted.

I was preparing to take the stage to give our next artists a big welcome, and to once thank you for supporting us in a radical weekend of music, fun, and that damn heat! I’m pretty new to karate, so I did a quick practice run side of stage in the grass to make sure I had something cool to perform.

Then we walked up the stairs to find the band Big Data fine tuning the necessary pieces to put on a dazzling show. Then something went wrong with the sound. An electronic gizmo wasn’t gizmo’ing properly. The microphone wasn’t working. The tension began ratcheting…

All of this game me time to think about the ludicrous bit of monkey work I agreed to with Ryan. The crowd needed someone to spark them into action and they weren’t getting it. Pressure. I said aloud, “What am I doing up here?”

At that moment, my pal Kool Keith says to me, “That headband is there to keep the courage in.” Freaking genius. He diffused the situation because he’s the coolest. We waited 15 of the longest minutes before Johnny the stage manager called us over. Kool Keith came with me to grab a photo and hold a mic for this:

Thank you for bowing back at me, respect, that part was largely spontaneous and made me lol a lot afterwards. Now I have to show Sensei Cody my karate moves and I know I could have done better! He’ll probably say to work on my breathing to remain cooler next time.