The venue was the famous Okinawa Kenritsu Budokan in Naha, training started at 8am for 3rd – 7th Dan every day, then one hour with the Master for basics which included all grades, then there was group training for 3 hours, so a total of 5 hours.
We were also honoured to be given lectures by Aragaki Shuichi Sensei who was a direct student of Miyagi Chojun Bushi and the Sakiyama Sogen Roshi of Kozenji who also trained with Miyagi Chojun Bushi.
The world famous Higaonna Dojo in Naha, Okinawa is a short walk from the Asato station on the Okinawa Monorail (or Yui Rail). On an exterior wall visitors are greated with the following words:
The kanji next to the IOGKF kenkon reads "Okinawa Goju Ryu" followed by "Higaonna Karate Dojo" in larger print. The remaining text tells us that beginners and women are welcome for maintaining health. These simple words remind us not only that karate is for everyone but this martial art is for the purpose of looking after your body.
Thank you to Kumiko Akamine for the translation.
The OTGKA was asked to give a demonstration at this year's Okinawan Day held in Spitalfield's market, London. Please see this link for a great report of the event, including a brief history of the origins of karate.
Thanks to Ali Muskett for sharing this video of Shisochin kata and the following photos:
More photos of the day are available on Flickr.
When practicing Tensho Kata you should think like the wind and the ocean, that you control their motions and destination with your hands and breathing. Guide them to a calm and tranquil being within the universe.
The opening of the hand signifies knowledge and wisdom, the circle motion back and forward represents the coming together of all people in harmony.
The upper palm strike represents the evolution of time.
The raising and lowering of the wrist and palm signifies the sun and the moon and their destiny.
The moving of both hands in unison signifies negative and positive coming to together creating the energy of life.
Moving the palms together up and over suggests the art of breathing is in and out. When you are born you breathe in and when your time comes, you breathe out.
Tora Guchi signifies the four seasons coming and going. Both palms extended up and down suggest Fearlessness, Compassion and Charity.
The last move to finish, which is hidden, suggests holding the jewel of life, which is Enlightenment, Satori or Nirvana.
The stance Sanchin represents the element of ether, communication with heaven and the silent Gods.
This Kata is alien to most human beings; however the deity seems to be at home with this discipline, understanding the different mudras that this Kata depicts.
On a Buddhist rosary there are 108 beads, 105 eulogize and 3 doctrine, it seems to elude the superficial explorer and will only recognise the truth.
As to the universe, it shows the past, present and the future. We have seen the deity of the past and we now see the deity of the present. We must wait to see the deity of the future.
I look forward in heaven, to looking down on earth and seeing whose destiny is chosen for the future.
Photo courtesy of Dylan MacMaster
Course Report from Martin and Louise Stockley, Cambridge
On a sunny Friday 25th May we boarded the Eurostar at London’s St Pancras station and 2 hours later we arrived in Brussels. We were met by Fréderic Lantreibecq, who whisked us out to our hotel on the outskirts of the city. Sensei Marc Sanglier and his wife Els had done an excellent job organising this first Gasshuku in Brussels and after a brief rest at the hotel we were driven to the training venue by Alex Gherschon, another one of our very welcoming hosts.
A short but quick and energetic discipline, with hand and foot combinations that suggest conflict in a confined space.
This is the kata that displays the posture of the deity of Goju Ryu Busaganashi and it is said if you study him you will know Goju Ryu.
I believe that Shinzato Jinan Sensei enjoyed performing this Kata. I hope to meet with him in my next life and discuss the finer points.
As to imagination, one can feel the disturbance of the land and the beginning of a land slide, the ups and down that you feel on your descent.
The blocks and attacks that you incur can be an escape from a forest, which has been gnarled in the storm.
As to the second to last move, when you shout, this suggests your defiance in meeting your demise and in the last move the exhalation is the cessation.
Oath of Goju by Master Chojun Miyagi
Be humble and polite
Train considering your physical strength
Practice earnestly with creativity
Be calm and swift
Take care of your health
Live a plain life
Do not be too proud or modest
Continue training with patience
The Special Merits of Karate by Chojun Miyagi (1934)
A large space is not required.
It can be practiced alone.
Its practice does not require much time.
Men and women, young or old, can practice karate; it depends entirely upon one's constitution. Proper kata can be selected and practiced at one's discretion.
One can practice with empty hands or the use of simple equipment can also be employed without much expense.
Training in karate improves one's health. This fact is evident from the physical condition of aged enthusiasts.
Physical and mental unity develops an indomitable spirit.
Precepts of Okinawan Goju Ryu by Chojun Miyagi
It should be known that secret principals of Goju Ryu exist in the kata.
Goju Ryu Karate-do is a manifestation within one's own self of the harmonious accord of the universe.
The way of Goju Ryu Karate-do is to seek the way of virtue.
Patience by Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953)
"You must, above all, learn the art of true and real patience. Follow the WAY of patience to the seventh power and never be in a hurry to learn. Always think first and avoid acting rashly. Never harm anyone or let yourself be harmed."
The Last Teachings by Chojun Miyagi
Do not be struck by others.
Do not strike others.
The principle is the peace without incident.
Chief Instructor OTGKA