Memorial to Sherm Harrill



A very dear friend of mine, Sensei Sherm Harrill of Isshinryu fame, recently passed away and his teachings are being carried on by his very able senior student, John Kerker.
Sherm trained under Tatsuo Shimabuku, the founder of Isshinryu and had developed a number of special techniques and training methods which he shared with the Isshinryu community.
It's hard to believe he's gone.

Semper Fi, Sherm. Always.

Phillip Starr
I just saw this post by my teacher, Sifu Starr.

I met Sensei Harrill years ago at our school in Omaha. Sifu and Sensei Harrill (known thereafter by those who met him so long ago, and those along the way that had the fortunate opportunity to train with, listen to, or just shake hands with him as "Uncle Sherm") were dear friends, and Uncle Sherm accepted Yili people as his people.

I felt first hand Uncle Sherm's level of skill, power and control. I think there is still a small crater from where he repeatedly bounced me off the ground during an interschool picnic demo. :D

Regrettably, after I left for the Army back in the late 80s, I only got the chance to see Uncle Sherm one last time, at a Renaissance Fair in Iowa. We talked for a few minutes (he actually remembered me... not sure if that was good or not! :D ), and then went our separate ways.

I wish I could have spent more time getting to know him. He was a great man, and a great karateka. Our world is diminished with his passing...

I had the privelage of knowing Sherm Harrill as my sensei for 8 years. I could honestly say that this man changed my life. When I started his school I was angry. Angry at everything and everyone. After an altercation after class with a fellow karateka he called my home and asked me to come to his house to talk. We sat on his front steps for a few hours talking about life and my part in it. I still remember the words he spoke "Its not about what others think of you, its not about what you accomplish in life, but its about finding peace in whatever route to take". I will graduate with my associates degree in september, I have not been arrested, I have taken drugs, and after that day I never started another fight. This man did save my life.

I left his dojo at the age of 16 because school related activites were conflicting with my studies under him. I had planned to rejoin his classes last summer but fate seemed to have other things in mind.

I was at the visitation, an I carried his flowers to the church and to the grave, I was at the funeral, and he is still here with me. I have never seen so many people turn out for a funeral here before. standing on the hill at the cemetary I could see the line of cars stretched out for over 2 miles. People traveled from all over the world. Some of the hardest warriors wept and held each other, all because of the one I called sensei.

Still living in Carson I stop at his grave and talk with him from time to time. He found his peace and showed me mine.
Digital Tracers -

Sensei John Kerker took over Uncle Sherm's dojo. Uncle John was a Yili senior once upon a time, and I trained with him many years ago. He has taken over Uncle Sherm's seminar program as well, and each year when Uncle John comes up this way, I clear my calendar to make time to see him and play uke...

If you are still interested in training, I would strongly recommend you train with Mr. Kerker. He is an incredible man, very giving if you show enough spirit. You'll get hit, hard and a lot, but the pain helps the learning.

My condolences on your loss...