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8) Karate Training with Akamine Sensei - Okinawa 2019

Thursday 9/26/2019:
Went to yoga at Asato Dojo and hung out a bit with James (the owner) afterwards. Very interesting conversation, he noted that there was almost no knife work in Okinawan karate, except for a style that does some sword and tanto work, and Nakamoto sensei (I think this is a kobudo sensei, I saw a book with his name in the Shureido store), but "it's pretty clear that he's just making that stuff up," cause it's not very good. Hokama sensei does some knife stuff but that's because he's spent time in the Philippines doing escrima, so it's admittedly not karate. It's especially surprising because there's been quite a bit of exchange with the Philippines; in the hard times in Okinawa a lot of the agricultural workers went down to the Philippines to make a living. We pontificated that it might be because knives are so dangerous, and students might feel emboldened to either take on an armed assailant or use knives themselves, potentially building a violent reputation for karate as someone is bound to get seriously wounded when blades are involved.


I asked James about Sogenji park down the street, with the huge Banyan tree, because I thought I had seen it in the Great Journey of Karate Bonus DVD where Yoshitomo Yamashiro talks about Karate history and performs an ultra slow naihanchi shodan. Apparently it used to be a buddhist temple where the former emperors were enshrined, so visitors would stop to pay their respects to the deceased emperors on their way to go to visit the current emperor. The area has been built up but that road used to be right at the shore, and runs all the way up to Shuri Castle.

近所の崇元寺公園のことを聞いた。Great Journey of KarateのDVDで山城美智の取材が撮られた。ジェームズさんによると、昔は亡くなった王様のお寺だった。訪問する人は亡くなった王様たちの寺に途中でお祈りする習慣があった。現代はもっと都市の中だけど昔は道一本で船場から首里城まで行ける話があった。

Fun fact, a lot of styles have a bo kata called "shushi no kon," and it turns out that Mr. Shu was a Chinese/taiwanese guy that used to live behind the temple, and either as his main or side gig taught people staff techniques. So literally that's "Mr. Shu's bo kata." There's a lot of cultural exchange between Okinawa and Taiwan, as they are so close together. James has been doing Praying Mantis boxing for 3 years, mostly going to Taipei to train at their Hondo.

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nice gaijin
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