Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Okinawa Trip 2007 - Part 2

Tuesday, April 3

After getting up, I walked around the area for a little while before heading to Sensei’s hotel. Upon arrival, I found that Higaonna Morio Sensei of Goju Ryu was already there talking with Nakata Sensei and Goodin Sensei. I found him to be a very soft-spoken and down-to-earth individual, like most of the other masters I met on my trip. We spent some time discussing various things, including the use of kata. While I disagreed with him (internally, of course) about the necessity of things like one-step drills or kumite, we all agreed that the kata should always be the root of one’s practice. In fact, Higaonna Sensei made the interesting statement that he did not mind if you made up your own kata, but you should never change the original kata. After spending time discussing various aspects of karate history, we agreed to meet again on Wednesday in order to visit an old bookstore, have dinner, and observe one of his practices.

Afterwards, we made our obligatory visit to Shureido, although Nakasone-san wasn’t there at the time. We drank our coffee they served us (although I never drink coffee) and looked around for some weapons. Unfortunately, some of their weapons inventory seemed rather low, which I speculate may have been because of Sensei Pat Haley of Shorinkan bringing a group of 20-odd students who probably bought a lot… I later asked Nakasone-san about this and he said they did. At any rate, I bought the last pair of tekko and Sensei bought the last pair of stainless steel sai. I was hoping to find a pair of stainless steel manji sai, but they were all sold out. Having accomplished that, we went around the Shuri area for a while and I ended up buying a pair of nice sunuke nunchaku at the weapons shop across from the Miyako hotel. Apparently, sunuke wood items will be getting pretty rare because it was recently put on the endangered list. They are nice and heavy.

Next, Sensei and I went to the Yamakawa Community Center, which relocated from where Chibana Sensei’s dojo used to be. We got there a little early, so we first ate at a nearby hotel before returning to the community center. Since we were on Okinawan time (similar to Hawaiian time, I guess), the 8:00 practice didn’t start until a little while later. There we met Isa Sensei, who is technically the successor of Chibana Sensei’s Shorin Ryu. He took over for Nakazato Akira (Chibana Sensei’s grandson) after Nakazato quit over 20 years ago. It was a rather mixed experience watching Isa Sensei and his students train, as their methodology has become rather distant from Chibana Sensei’s teachings. When practice was finished, Isa Sensei took us out to a small bar where he treated us to some drinks and snacks. The awamori hit me a little hard, since I haven’t been drinking all that much lately (and since I had some earlier in the day), but I couldn’t just go to Okinawa without trying some, right? After a while, we excused ourselves and turned in for the night.

To be continued in Part 3


tim said...

Did he mention anything about the special breathing he does? I remember in that old BBC documentary, he talks about the breath going down the back and up the front, or something like that? I think the Chinese call it the "macrocosmic orbit??"

Bujutsu Blogger said...

He did make some mention about it. In Shorin Ryu, our breathing is very natural, so I'm not a big fan of any sort of artificial breathing techniques.

You got a blog of your own?

tim said...

Cool. Thanks for the comments about Arikaki as well. The thing I really liked about the book was not his ICG thing, so much as the idea that a person could , with proper training, appear to be in a 50/50 weighted stance, while actually having more weight on one foot.

Yep, I do have my own blog:

It's pretty silly sometimes, but maybe you might find it interesting =)