Thursday, April 26, 2007

Okinawa Trip 2007 - Part 6

Overall Impressions

My trip to Okinawa was very worthwhile. As the birthplace of karate, it was good to at least see the place and meet the people who are part of karate history, even if it is the history of karate entering into the modern age. My friend Terry told me that when he visited Okinawa, it confirmed many stories about Nakata Sensei when he was on Okinawa. It was no different for me, whether it was noting the respect that many people paid him due to his being a student of Chibana, people reminiscing about his relationship with Chibana Sensei, or simply those mentioning his fighting prowess when he was there.

Secondly, it showed me the directions that karate was taking, even on Okinawa. The more I train, the more I am able to get what my instructor calls “karate no me”, or simply, an eye for karate. I’m certainly not as good as evaluating people as he is, but there are certain indicators using both the framework of osae, koshi, and hara as well as simple timing and posture that lets me know whether I would wish to train with them or not. I wouldn’t mind learning about other styles and instructors, but I’m not so sure if I would learn from them, as the direction Okinawa seems to be heading in is different than the one I am.

Thirdly, it was nice just meeting people and making contacts. They were all very friendly and open people. Should I ever come to Okinawa again, I’ll know some people I could talk to and Sensei could always be my “in”. If I ever want to know the location and practice times of anybody on Okinawa, I can just swing by Shureido and talk to Nakasone-san.

Fourthly, the food was tasty. Enough said there.

Goya Chanpuru and Tebichi

Fifthly (I can safely say that I have never before used the word “fifthly” before this), after having a sticker on my car for a couple of years that has “Okinawa” and “Ishigantou” given to me by my Japanese teacher in grad school, I can finally answer “yes” when asked if I’ve visited Okinawa before.

Sixthly, I got to see the world of karate politics on Okinawa. Some people we met were very straightforward while others had their own various agendas to attend to. Of course, everyone was really nice, but those are two separate things. Anyone interested in karate history should always take their source into account when reading historical accounts written by Westerners, Japanese, or Okinawans or talking to the people themselves.

Lastly (because “seventhly” would just be ridiculous), I got to see Terry, even if it was just for one evening. I could insert some really trite phrase about friends and long distances, but I’ll just content myself with saying it was cool to see him again.

1 comment:

mjchristine said...

i want to go to Okinawa, too! =^_^=