The 2008 Martial Arts festival was once again a great success with 53 countries and some 800 people attending. Master Higaonna appeared happy and in good spirits, after all the announcements were made it was time for a week of intensive training to begin.
There are 3 Dojo's in the Okinawan Budokan without air-conditioning so training was just manageable however, the main Dojo had air-conditioning so when you entered it was quite cool and training was comfortable. All the floors move independently from the rest of the building because of jishin (seismic activity) it is not unusual to feel the floor to move while the rest of the building stands still. The floors are made of oak and are cleaned on a regular basis, each group that uses the facilities, as tradition dictates are required to clean the floors after training.
Over the next five days Senior Instructors from the IOGKF conducted 4 X 1 hourly classes to maximise the knowledge and benefit to all its members, the temperature was a staggering 35c with 90% humidity to match. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the atmosphere lots of embracing and cuddles in greeting each other which suggests a close bond and friendship within the IOGKF. In the evening walking down Kokusai Dori (the main street) it was inevitable that you would bump into someone you would be acquainted with.
After enjoying a wonderful meal in one of the splendid restaurants, our group would meet in a small but comfortable traditional bar opposite the Tomaki Hotel in Asato. Our hostess was full of energy and welcomed you with a open heart, she would keep bringing small snacks to nibble on and the coldest beer you could drink which would quench our thirst. The Karaoke seemed to bring out the talent in some people while others tried their best, the applause they received encouraged them to continue. 10.30pm would see everyone bidding there goodnight because training started 9am and all wanted to be at their best.
For all those generous people that contributed to the gift it was 202.000 yen collected of which each received 101,000 yen, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.