Karateka Chiru Harsh Patnam is all about Sportsman’s Spirit at its best
Chiru Harsh Patnam
15th Nov 1996
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
Sports – Karate
Gone were the days when a sport was just practiced for winning purposes, but today it is all about giving your best and leaving the rest to the universe to reward you. Born Hyderabadi, Karateka Chiru Harsh Patnam has exactly focused to train his mind on the excellence and not on any medal or a trophy, and this made him the National Karate Gold Medalist of 2019. His consistency will lead him on his way of influencing every sportsperson of our nation. Having the back of his extremely supportive Coach- Vivek Teja, Chiru is all set to excel and pass on the torch to the generations to come.We are humbled to share about his fierceness which proudly makes him say “Yes, I Am The 1”
We are really keen to know; how did your journey begin?
It isn’t one of those long-haul dreams or aspirations that I grew up with.At various points I had various other dreams for what I would do with my life just like any other adolescent boy, but Karate was actually never one of them. I hardly played sports, although I am very good at chess and console gaming, I was never into physical sports, largely due to me failing at them. I kept trying though, but the footballs and cricket balls really knocked me down more often than I did. In order to change my frail physique, I joined the gym and eventually took up Kickboxing to fight my inhibitions and that’s where I met my coach Vivek Teja. He pushed me to take up Karate as well. The training was fun, it was tough and rewarding. Achieving something like this was never a part of the plan, as in I never had a vision down the pipeline, it was all about training each day with dedication and discipline while enjoying the process. The process made me want to be a Karateka and that’s why I can’t really narrow it down to one moment.
What were the hardships / hurdles you have encountered during your journey? How did you overcome them?
Well honestly, I didn’t get to the point where I was worried about my opponents because there was a lot going on my head. Few moments before the fight I was contemplating at the thoughts of losing. That’s when I turned towards two of the greatest athletes of all time Bruce Lee and Mike Tyson. Just before the match I watched Mike Tyson’s videos on motivation and intimidation. The biggest challenge for any athlete is fear, fear of losing, fear of getting humiliated, fear of getting beaten up and this fear fueled the flame in me as my opponent from Delhi tried to stare me down in the final round and all I knew was one thing that pain is temporary but pride is forever. It’s more about the psychology than the physicality when it comes to these crunch moments, I realized that if I have these doubts and question marks in my head so would my opponent and all it would take is one good move to capitalize on that.
Know me Beyond Karate
Never give up!
Bruce Lee, Elon Musk, Mike Tyson and Steve Jobs
I draw inspirations from:
Food I Love
Pizza and Grilled Chicken
Food I Don't Like
Gajar ka Halwa
Had I not been a Karateka then
Like Vacations at
New Zealand and Seychelles
Favorite Pass time
"Get comfortable being uncomfortable"
Favorite Movies / Series
Favorite Actor / Actress:
Will Smith and Chris Hemsworth
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
It has got to be my coach Vivek Teja. I approached him once I had consistently stuck to a workout regime and actually shaped my body, I felt I had it in me to perhaps something in some sport and acquire what it has to offer. I approached him for Kickboxing and after a few months of training under him he pushed me to take up Karate as well. He insisted that I would do well. I trusted him, nobody just can’t distrust him he’s that convincing and such is his conviction towards his craft. I mean when a man who has mastered 8 forms of martial arts tells you that you can, you listen to him and that’s what I did. He’s also been one my of greatest support systems.
Tell us something about your Coach…
My coach has always been there for me like an elder brother who guided me every step of the way as a mentor, guru and a well-wisher. Many of his students are captivated by his empowering yet humble personality and that truly reciprocated the devotion in me.
Success is incomplete without its share of setbacks. What advice would you give to others about handling them?
Setbacks and failures are inevitable and the sooner one understands that the better they give a chance to learn from them. Nothing is the end for you and there is nothing that won’t teach us something, it’s all about stepping back and having a look at what’s happened and trying with all your heart to better it in the next attempt. If intentions are honest, one will always get their way around things. Another very important thing is to not obsess over success or repeatedly trying things that don’t work out for you. We can’t be stubborn about things that don’t matter as much. We must prioritize and dedicate our time to things that matter. Simply put, trying to win everything won’t work out and in my view it certainly isn’t.
Do you think Karate and its learnings can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career?
Definitely, for Karate is not just a sport it is a way of life. There are many skills which I can take away from Karate that my coach has imparted to me that can be used in all walks of life. He made me realize that Karate is much more than self-defense but a way of living. The Japanese culture has beautifully molded the discipline, hard work, respect and tradition which strives to make me a better person. I believe this holds true with every sport that exists if one wishes to learn it with honesty. It teaches you humility, dedication and the value of failure.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
Like I said, if you were to ask me I would say one must train without having the thoughts of success and failure. One must go into training with the will to be disciplined and must enjoy the process. As simple as that, churn out each day with the hunger to do better tomorrow and good things are bound to happen.
How has technology transformed the world of Karate?
Technology has enslaved human lives to an extent where it’s making lives easier and simpler but it may take its charm away one day. People need to realise how this powerful tool can be used for their own development in excelling and this let’s a lot of people spread awareness about how essential Karate or other self-defence martial arts are especially to women who are helpless in few situations. There are workshops, tutoring, guidance, advices, forums and blogs which are regularly updated for everyone to educate themselves. My coach has taken this opportunity to conduct workshops for more than 12,000 civilians.
What according to you is scope of Karate in India?
I personally feel Karate should be the foundation of every sportsman as it teaches commitment, flexibility, precision, confidence and courage. For many decades now cricket has been overshadowing all other sports and this mindset must be broadened to be more open minded and recognize all the sports equally.
If you were to bring one big change in the way people get trained in Karate what would that be?
I would want them to gain knowledge about how the body works and know about their bodies better. Taking a scientific approach to Karate would really help as it is a high intensity activity that can damage our body if not properly taken care of.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of Karate in remote parts of India?
Karate is largely viewed as self-defence technique in India, while it does teach you to defend yourself in times of physical adversities, there’s much more to the sport. It teaches you about how to lead your life a certain way, for that reason it could be hugely rewarding if we persist to take this martial art to young kids across the country. It could be done at ZPHS across the country as part of a summer camps or inculcating it into the curriculum itself. I always believed sports/arts should be a part of the curriculum.
Your piece of advice to parents who are skeptical about their children taking up a career in any co-curricular activities…
You never know what kind of talents one has hidden within them and it would be a crime if we curb the curiosity of young minds. In fact, I don't think it pertains only to children, I think even adults should try and pursue their interests at any stage of their life. I hold the opinion that sometimes we don’t pay much emphasis at being efficient at what we do and merely focus on the results; that’s what translates into children spending long hours at schools. As a whole the pedagogy needs a change, pupils are put under tremendous pressure and if the result doesn’t go their way they are left shattered. Sports and arts teach you that there is more to life, it helps you relieve stress and it is even proven that getting involved in such activities can prove to be therapeutic and stabilises mood. Life is to be lived holistically and with freedom I believe and one shouldn’t be forced to do or not to do things. Apart from all this, the real aspect for most parents is the stability of their child’s careers and them holding their own finances. In today’s world there are several opportunities which keep opening up. Sportspersons and artists being recognised more often. Being a good artist or sportsperson has its own perks while looking for a job as well. Finally, succeeding in a sport and reaching the top of a corporate company has the same odds if you ask me. So, I would say everybody should be allowed to explore everything as that equips them with wider range of skills and a better understanding of life.
Your piece of advice to the youth of our country…
We might not realise it at this stage of our lives when it might appear as if too many things are whizzing past our nose and a lot of things don't make sense, but this is one of the most beautiful periods of our life. Enjoy it. Harness the challenges. The physical energy you have today, you might not have tomorrow, so don’t postpone anything and try to do as many things as possible. It’s okay if you are not good at something, it’s okay if you fail, you have a lot of time on your hands to correct yourself and better yourself. Explore everything you can today rather than push it for tomorrow. If you have a dream put everything into it to achieve it but at the same time know and understand that there is life outside of it as well. Being a teetotaller, I would also like to mention that, have fun responsibly. Stay away from drugs, stay away from illegal activities, they tamper your wellbeing and there’s nothing that they give you back in return.
What is you Success Mantra?
The success mantra is to not think about success too much. It is all about enjoying the process and bettering yourself each day. Pain is temporary but pride is forever.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I Am The 1”?
I never did and I wish not to ever either. I just want to be the best version of myself. At the same time, I wouldn’t deny the fact that I felt jubilant when I secured the first prize, but I never really thought about being number 1. It was my day, my training, my processes and everything else helped me get through the line that’s it. I should be able to repeat this process and that’s all I am concerned about