Train Like an Okinawan

I am very lucky - I had the time, some money, and an opportunity to go train in Okinawa.

It was amazing!!

Life changing, inspiring, and it altered my path in so many ways.

I’d say many who have gone to Okinawa for Karate feel the same.

And most people who have been to Okinawa realise that it is a big commitment, and not everyone has the opportunity, or time, or money to do so.

So instead, you have a few options.

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Karate Ain't Your Crutch

Angry - Do more Karate. Frustrated - punch a Makiwara. Sad - another 5 Kata ought to do it. Family relationships breaking down - at least I have Karate.

Sounds familiar?

For some Karate is the default to life’s curve balls.

Stepping into the Dojo is like passing through a portal where one’s troubles vanish and for those 2 hours there is nothing else in the world except to train.

Well, is anything actually getting done about the issues that require disconnection from?

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Self-Actualisation: Karate's Obvious Secret

For many, stepping into the Dojo and donning the white and black is the continuation of that elusive search for ‘perfection of character’, better technique, attainable skill and the mental calm that proceeds the enduring trial for the session.

From the first Kata to the many learnt thereafter Karate contains no secrets, only things not yet understood, left open to the imagination of the practitioner.

On the surface of the Karate training, to those not ready to receive the fullness of what Karate teaches, the physical and mental improvement is the goal. Beyond that, however, lies the greatest lesson for all who would strive on.

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What is Karate Worth?

Money and Karate are supposedly like chalk and cheese. They just don’t work together.

And yet, look closely into the history of Karate and you’ll see that money played a very important role, as it does with everything in life.

Sure, money can’t buy you the passion and dedication needed to become proficient in the art, but it certainly acts as a major source of exchange between student and teacher.

So, what is Karate worth?

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War on Okinawa

On a not to unusual windy and cloudy day in Okinawa I was ready to get picked up, I had my Gimbal, my pen and notepad and my Drone.

Just after 11 am Evan Muxen and his new boss William McEvoy were at the door and soon we were heading off.

Boy was I excited.

Evan had been in touch with me before I arrived in Okinawa with an offer I wouldn't ever refuse - a tour of some of the most famous military history sites in Okinawa.

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My Favourite Karate Gi: Shureido (Part 3 of 3)

Last in the series of posts about what I consider my favourite Karategi is none other than Shureido.

The Seishin is light, airy, and has great snap; ideal for the hot Okinawan conditions.

The Kamikaze is heavy, hard wearing, and I know to be long lasting so it will be with me for a long time, giving me the best cost per wear.

The Shureido is something special however; from the birthplace of Karate the K10 is a heavyweight 100% cotton keikogi that comes unwrapped in a signature blue hue.

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The Most Important Part of a Sensei

They are your taskmaster, drill sergeant, fitness coach, guru, technician and teacher.

They teach you etiquette, prepare you for your grading, coach you through competitions, test you regularly in the Dojo and teach you the skills to train by yourself and to pass on your knowledge to others.

Most importantly, however, they have been trying to do their best before you even thought about taking up a martial art.

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My Favourite Karate Gi: Seishin (Part 2 of 3)

The Seishin brand is arguably the fastest growing karate sensation. It is a venture into the modern era utilising crowdfunding, social media and public endorsements to spread it’s awareness.

Created in part by Jesse Enkamp, internets famous Karate Nerd™, the Seishin Gi seeks to push the positives and reduce the negatives of a top quality Gi.

Unlike other companies, which perhaps only change the fabric or cut, the Seishin Gi sought to also innovate be adding extra parts that perhaps you wouldn’t consider.

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Life's a Beach(ball)

Whilst I worked in Hospitality in my previous life I was at times in attendance to various customer service training days.

Aside from the free food and coffee involved there was generally a lot of training around delivering the best service, learning about drinks, food, ingredients and best practices for serving.

One training which I remember well and which I know to be an important aspect in the martial arts world is what’s known as the beach ball principle.

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It's All In The Mix

Ask a number of Okinawan Sensei what defines their art and you might hear the phrase Chanpuru, followed by a glint in their eye and a smile.

Anyone who has travelled to Okinawa will have at some point tasted the local delights, Goya, Taco Rice, Awamori, various raw meats, Goat soup and the all time favourite, Chanpuru.

Chanpuru is a rice dish with various elements including Spam, Tofu, Goya, fried meat or just vegetables.

It's just a mix, which is what the word means.

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Get your Oats

On Instagram I recently did a post about Porridge. It's famously the traditional Scottish staple for breakfast food.

It comes in many varieties; pinhead, rolled, steel cut, finely ground, as well as flavored and ready made varieties which only require hot water or a microwave.

I was once told that roving Scots would carry a bag of oats with them to aid in the digestion of the old meat that they also consumed whilst on the trails.

Here’s why I always eat some too.

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My Favourite Karate Gi: Kamikaze (Part 1 of 3)

When I began to get serious about my training attire in Karate I moved on from my easy wash elasticated waisted Blitz and was introduced to Kamikaze brand via my Sensei.

My decision on which of their Gi was based on getting the heaviest that I could afford, with it also being 100% cotton. It was then that I bought the Kamikaze America Gi.

It lasted so well for so long that recently I decided to upgrade to a top of the range Monarch Gi. Here is why.

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Aiming for the Next Grade

In Karate we are seeing a renaissance so to speak of the disregard or downplay of achieving grades.

Some schools are reverting back to keeping simply a three belt system, White, Brown and finally Black.

This is the same belt grading system as was devised by Jigoro Kano and subsequently adopted by Gichin Funakoshi.

However, since the introduction of coloured belts in 1935 by Judoka Kawaishi Mikinosuke onwards there grew a desire to increase testing and therefore increase belt colours.

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