Training camp in Okinawa 29 March – 11 APRIL
Thursday 29 March I traveled to Okinawa to participate in a training camp in Shorinryu Shorinkan kyukai `s Honbu dojo, I would meet with the rest of Kyoshi Noujaim` s group at Naha airport, Okinawa.
My travel plans had been changed by the agent due to flight cancellations, so when I landed at Naha airport a half days earlier than planned without knowing the name of our hotel, I chose to immediately take a taxi to SHUREIDO supply and ask my good friend Yoshie Wakugawa working there for help. With her usual helpfulnes Yoshie moved quickly to the task and calling around to hotels in the area Omoromachi which I knew that the area was called, and after only 3 calls BINGO I had hotel name and address.
It turned out that the hotel was just a 10 minute walk from SHUREIDO so everything was perfect and our group was assembled at the hotel as originally planned.
After check in at the hotel and a quick shower, our entire group (12 from USA, 1 from England, and myself) went to Shureido to get our orders in, and when all were in the shopping mood, it took over 2 hours, then a short walk to a small stamp company that creates personalized stamps for use on eg. Business cards, so you have the entire text, name, etc. in Japanese. So we went back to the hotel where there was message from Maeshiro sensei that he would meet us in the evening at a lovely little traditional restaurant.
After having a quick meeting the entire group jumped into a group of taxi and drove to the restaurant and spent a pleasant evening with great food and copious amounts of ice-cold Orion beer with Maeshiro sensei.
The day when Noujaim sensei should have a meeting with Hanshi 10th Dan Nakazato Shugoro leader of Okinawa SHORINRYU SHORINKAN KYUKAI to deside our trainings, testings and everything else. When Noujaim sensei came back from the meeting, it quickly became apparent that our stay would be historic, Hanshi Nakazato had announced that he had decided to resign and leave the governance of the organization to his son Minuro Nakazato 9th Dan and that this would be finally confirmed by Reiji (Board) at their meeting the following Saturday. This would mean that we are the first group would also receive training from Minoru sensei during our stay and we were very excited to see Hanshi Nakazato Shugoro would still be present at the graduation and handing over certificates in person. With the training set, were planned and reviewed curriculum for testing, the rest of the day was relaxed and of course with a trip to the fish market to eat delicious sashimi and the rest of the day was used for exchange of gifts for various sensei who came by the hotel to visit and invited for various trainings and dinners.
After breakfast and a walk in the training park, it was time to go to Okinawa City High School where there was a major event for school children in both karate kata and kobudo kata, we were invited by Satoshi sensei who was chief judge, and there were participants from various shorinryu styles, Isshinryu, Gojuryu, etc. A great event with lots of exuberant children in great spirits. I also had the pleasure to run into I Zenpo Hanshi Shimabukuro from Seibukan shorinryu and got a little talk with him, a very likeable man who actually speaks English well, I also ran into Miguel Da Luz, editor of Okinawan karate news. Several of the group left the tournament to go to Ryukyu Mura, an Okinawan village which has been preserved and operated as a museum today. A long and exciting day that ended with Satoshi sensei invited the whole group out to dinner in the evening.
Tom and Shimabukuro Sensei
Training at Honbu Dojo, good and instructive training Minoru sensei, where several of the highest graded instructors participated in the training, which is always incredibly friendly and helpful. But a very special feeling to step into the dojo of Hanshi Nakazato Shugoro `s, it feels that way for all no matter how many times you have trained there. Dojo is a very beautiful dojo, with many pictures of bla.Chibana sensei who was Hanshi `s direct sensei, also Hanshi` s rules of conduct and training rules, of course, hung on the wall of the dojo. Great day, tired but happy people in the group.
Kobudo training at Honbu Dojo and apart from a little accident where a participant from the group found out that he had not dulled his training Kama `enough and therefore had cut his back of hand up. Yes it was training as it is now going on here, and again was met with many of the highest graded who turned up to train with us, nice.
A quick tour of Kokusaidori / hewadori, shopping and a trip to the fish market, and who do we meet? no less than my favorite instructor, Hanshi 9th Dan Chosei Sakihara sensei who is really happy at the meeting and immediately invite the whole group at lunch at the fish market. Then it is karate training at Honbu Dojo, great to see how all give 100% and all help and support each other, a fantastic group that Kyoshi Noujaim has assembled, a really good chemistry among all and a great teaching from Hanshi 9th Dan Minoru Nakazato, and again a large attendance of the highest graded Shorinkan instructors from Okinawa. In the evening we are invited to the other side of the island to train in Hanshi 9th Dan Kinjo Kempo Dojo `s when we arrive, the whole place buzzing with activity, it appears that they are preparing for a great Barbecue evening for us. First, we are all invited in for refreshments at Kinjo Kempo Sensei `s house where we have a chat and see some of his ancient weapons and other exciting things Kempo Sensei did indeed train in Chibana` s dojo. So we all go to the dojo and train approx. 1 ½ hours with his students and instructors, and after a quick change of clothes allstudents and instructors serves us, steaks, sausages, salads, rice and plenty of cold Orion, yes absolutely nothing missing, lot of fun sitting on the floor of the dojo, great. Thanks for a wonderful evening, and it’s goodnight.
Up early, we’re invited over to Kudaka Jima a small island off the south / east coast of Okinawa by Maeshiro sensei 8th Dan, he teaches students at the local school there. The trip takes approx. 40 minutes with a small ferry and when the island is only 3 km to the longest we go from the ferry up to the school where we are received by those present students (holiday time) and their teachers, although it was not planned, we train with students Just wearing our normal clothing. After a good hour of training, all teachers served lunch, we all showed where we came from on the large world map and told us about ourselves. All teachers and students told about themself in English. Then we went on tour around the island to see the small farms and a trip to Ishiki Hama (Ishiki beach) which is a holy beach where the small washed-up coral makes the beach almost luminous in the moonlight. After a good day with Maeshiro sensei on Kudaka Jima, it was time to turn your nose at Honbu dojo for more kobudo training as usual, a good and instructive exercise. What a day.
So it’s day, everyone is excited about the upcoming testing. Everyone takes off to the Honbu dojo and using time warming up and trying to polish the last moves, while Kyoshi Noujaim8. Dan explains how the afternoon will take place. After successful graduation where everyone did well, it’s time for presentation of certificates and belts of Hanshi 10th Dan Nakazato Shugoro for the last time since he founded the Okinawa shorinryu Shorinkan kyukai, Hanshi was in ebullient mood with a smile for everyone and plenty of time to all be able to take some good photos. Then it was back to the hotel for new cloths as Kyoshi Noujaim `s group extraordinary was invited to the traditional” Reji dinner “held the night before Reji gather for meeting. It was a great experience to have dinner together with all the “top” in Shorinkans board, they received us with open arms, and wished a happy testing to all and then waited on us from a lavish buffet with both awamori (Okinawan rice brandy) and other beverages as you wish, a fantastic evening with Minoru Sensei as the absolute center. A good opportunity to exchange business cards and talk to all the big names who have created a strong organization, and also to put Denmark on the world map, lots of photos and a really nice atmosphere.
Shorinkan Honbu Dojo
Shuri temple to be seen when visiting Okinawa, and although it is slightly surealistisk to pose in ones gi, at locations in Shuri temple while being photographed by Japanese so did Frank Sensei and I, just for the memory .
After that Noujaim sensei and I met with Miguel Da Luz, editor of Okinawan karate news, which made a interwiev with Noujaim sensei, then Miguel & I had talked about karate and cooperation with www.KarateNews.dk. After this came Sakihara sensei past the hotel and brought the news that “Reji” had accepted Hanshi 10th Dan Nakazato Shugoro desire to resign and to appoint Minoru Sensei for a new leader. All had backed this 100% up and it was then decided to make a large official severance / accession ceremony at the end of this month. Also had Minoru sensei promised to lead classes on November 17th-camp as Noujaim sensei holds the 2 to 4 November. A big pat on the back to Kyoshi Noujaim from Okinawanske management. After a walk in the park training with Sensei Frank from England, it was time for some food and to pack suitcases with all the purchased items from Shureido who had delivered our stuff to the hotel. A good trip is taking a close.
DDay 11 Ate the last breakfast with the group while we enjoyed views of Naha from the restaurant on the 18th floor, as expected a little sad mood, as we all would have been much longer for several reasons, good training, great togetherness in the group and especially the extreme hospitality of all Okinawan senseis. A HUGE thanks to Kyoshi Noujaim for arranging the wonderful trip and thanks to all other participants in the group. So dawns the time when Satoishi sensei comes with the bus, after reading all luggage, I say goodbye to all the others before they drive to the airport when I grab a few more days down here, as tourist. Day 12 Playing just tourist and visit the Budokan and other interesting places in Okinawa, where my now tired legs now carry me around. Day 13 Departure from Denmark, with the sadness this departure from Okinawa always gives but a fantastic trip, with lots of experiences that defy all description, Okinawa MUST experienced. Tom Christensen Shorinryu Shorinkan Denmark