What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

4) Karate Training with Akamine Sensei - Okinawa 2019

This article was written for posterity and translated for Akamine sensei. It was posted to the Matsumura Seito Karate-do Hozonkai homepage.

September 13, 2019 / Friday
It’s important to know that there are peaceful moves in the kata; the beginning of kusanku is raising your hands in apology, to show you aren't a threat before bringing your hands together in a mudra similar to the buddha. You then acknowledge your opponents to the sides with a gentle kamae, but it's not till the the 5th count that your opponent comes at you and you have to move explosively. Sensei explained that your expression is a part of the kata: it hardens with the body in the moment of impact, but like the body it should relax and soften immediately after into 優しい目, “gentle eyes," de-escalation is a part of the story. You can see this in his kata demonstration of Kusanku for the judges at the international Okinawan karate contest a couple years ago. The first two moves are kamae, but they are gentle, acknowledging the opponents around in a way meant to show no aggression, until there is no choice but to strike.

型の中に平和の意味も含まれているのは大事なポイント。クーサンクーの始めは、菩薩のようなムードラを表意する。そして右側と左側に立っている相手を優しく認める。それからの動きが急に早くなり、最初の動きに比べると爆発的に見える。先生にとって、顔の表情も大事なのだ:体と一緒に硬くなって、リラックスして「優しい目」に戻る。先生のクーサンクーの演武の動画を見ると、その優しく→硬く→優しくする流れが演武中でも表している。

I've heard that kata tells a story, but up until now that story has only been one of violence. In this style there are moments of peace. In Gojushiho, Sensei explains, the story is that of a thief that breaks into your house. After fighting him off, he goes to jump out a window, which may result in injury or death. The last moves of the kata are to save your attacker. Karate isn't just a way to defeat your opponents, but to have the strength to save them, and to turn them into friends.

型はストーリーを表すのだと聞いたことあったけど、今までそれは必ず暴力の話だった。五十四歩と言う型で、その話が家から泥棒を追い出すってことで、喧嘩の結果で泥棒が窓から逃げようとするけど、落ちたら怪我をするかもしれないから、最後の動きで救ってあげる意味も入っている。空手は相手を倒す方法だけじゃなく、救ってあげる、そして見方にする方法でもある。

立ち方 (“tachikata”), 腰の入れ方 (“koshi no irekata”), 姿勢 (shisei)--stance, use of core, and posture--the three things Sensei looks for in a kata, aside from 全体的 (zentaiteki, overall). Are you standing correctly, with your center strong and protected? Are your feet fully grounded, sending your energy up into your hands through the tanden? Is your posture correct? Are you Square to your opponent? Are your shoulders square? Are you sure?

立ち方、腰の入れ方、姿勢。全体的以外はその三つが気になるところだ。ちゃんと腰を入れている?自分の体を守っている?足で地面を握っていて、力が地面から丹田を通って流れている?へそが相手に向かっている?肩も?確かに?また確認して!

Stand properly and you can move properly, this is “Bi,” the beauty of kata. It’s seen, but more importantly felt.

ちゃんと立つとちゃんと動ける、これは型の「美」だ。見えるものでもあるけど、相手に感じさせること。

We went to the community center to watch the kids practice for their performance at the festival next week. After watching a couple times, Sensei asked me to go up and do pinan shodan and nidan, and passai sho with them. But I've never done passai sho, I protested. It's ok, just copy them. I did what I could, and I'll have to save the questions for later.

子供を近くの公民館に連れて行って、ステージの上で演武の練習をさせた。数回の後、僕も型やってと指示された。パッサイ小はやったことなかったけど、大丈夫、真似してって勧めてくれた。できることができて、質問は後で、と考えた。

He mentioned when they came out with the boys staff over their shoulders that this way of carrying the staff is unique to Soken sensei's karate. I asked him what he meant by that, and what the meaning was. Later, he showed me a large thick staff carried across the shoulders to move heavy loads, the kind you’d see in any pre-industrial agrarian society. “The tools in our hands became the weapons of kobudo,” he explained as he swung the heavy pole around like a bo staff. When coming to ready, Soken sensei’s kiotsuke and bow are nods to the history of the staff. The staff is level across the right shoulder, pointing straight forward, with the right hand gently holding the staff. When you bow, the staff angles down, in line with your shoulder.

棒の気を付けの持ち方は特殊で、祖堅先生の空手のみ。なぜかと聞くと、分厚い棒を運び出した。「こうやって背負って農業の作業ができる。もう手に入ってる道具を武器にして、古武道の初めには。祖堅先生の気を付けと礼のやりかたがその歴史を認めるため。」右手で持って右肩の上にのせて、棒が真っ直ぐ進む。お辞儀すると、棒が肩の上と平らで一体化されたように一緒に傾く。

On Saturday, I met up with Josh Simmers of the Okinawa Karate Podcast. He graciously showed me around Nakagusuku castle remains, and the old Nakamura residence. We traded thoughts on Karate and the martial arts, and enjoyed a great conversation about a variety of other topics. Honestly a good dude doing a good thing out in Okinawa, I’m really grateful as it’s his podcast that introduced me to Paul Sabota Sensei who connected me with Akamine Sensei.

土曜日に沖縄空手ポッドキャストのジョシュ・セィマーズに会えた。中城の城跡とか中村家の歴史深い場所を見せてくれて、美味しいウドンを食べながら色々な話ができた。本当にいい人で、彼のポッドキャストのおかげでポールさんと話ができて、赤嶺先生に会えることが出来たから、本当に、感謝を感じる。

He gave me a ride back to Naha, and we chatted up James at the Dojo Bar a bit before calling it a night.

二人で那覇に戻って道場バーのジェームズさんと話し合えた。楽しかった!

Comments

My goodness, Okinawa style Karate. Uechi ryu is it ? I read a book years ago by George Mattson who had opened a school for it in Providence, Rhode Island in the mid 1960's. I wanted to study it but became interested in Aikido instead.
 

Journal entry information

Author
nice gaijin
Views
292
Comments
1
Last update
Location
Okinawa

More entries in Culture

More entries from nice gaijin

Top Bottom