Train Like an Okinawan
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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.
Find a Sensei who makes regular trips to train in Okinawa, and is passing on their knowledge
Work your butt off to finally make that trip of a lifetime
Attend Seminars and classes where Sensei from Okinawa come to you
Now it’s true that still neither of these options can be that simple sometimes.
If you happen to be in Scotland then I’ve got number one covered for you. Work with Me
If you manage to get that time off work, and you’ve got some spare money then here is an option for number two. Ageshio Japan Ltd.
And if your willing to travel a little bit in Europe then here are some options for number 3.
Introducing Tetsuhiro Hokama Sensei, Senaga Yoshitsune Sensei and Akamine Sensei.
I first met Hokama Sensei at Jesse Enkamp Sensei’s pink belt convention known as “The Karate Nerd Experience”.
This was my first forray into the Okinawan way, and I was stunned by the fast twitching and complex body structural dynanimism of what might be mistaken for a frail old man.
The fact that he had us doing Sanchin over and over again, with a partner to beat us with, shows that he was willing to develop us physically and technically.
My second chance to train with Sensei Hokama was in Okinawa at the Budosai Seminar hosted with the aid of James Pankiewicz of the Dojo Bar where I had first hand experience of “enjoying” the lesson.
(Those who have trained with Sensei Hokama will understand this)
I was then able to have an intimate lesson alongside the other Okinawan Karate Nerds of 2017 where we found ourselves learning simple methods of distoring our opponents balance and taking them to the ground. Getting up off the mat is a lot of hard work.
Now I have a fourth opportunity to train with Hokama Sensei in Warsaw, Poland.
A beautiful city in itself, with a great culture, and now a fantastic chance to finally put more pieces of the puzzle together, and hopefully some of Hokaama Sensei’s renowned Shodo mastery.
In my experience, going to Warsaw is very easy from anywhere else in Europe, and very friendly on the budget; and training with Hokama Sensei is definitly worth while at least once, if not four times!!
I am making my plans to be there, and maybe we can partner up and see who can last the longest practicing Sanchin.
Now for the first time ever, and most likely a very rare occurance, Sensei Senaga Yoshitsune will be teaching in Switzerland, along with his loyal student, and my friend Sensei Dell Hamby.
If you don’t know who Senaga Sensei is then check out this video put together by Chris Wilson who is doing fantastic work on the island to promote Karate and to emboss Karate Masters into History with his Karate Masters Portrait Project.
Sensei Senaga has a very traditional and very Okinawan approach to practicing Uechi-Ryu.
Again, not only is there a preference from training Sanchin, but also a fluidity of movement not often found in some Sensei.
I have not had the pleasure to train with Senaga Sensei, having had to cancel an arranged session due to me being unwell in Okinawa.
When I return to Okinawa for my next “Karate-cation” i’ll be sure to organise some Keiko, if he will oblige.
That said, if I had the time I would certainly take up this opportunity to attend this Seminar.
Now for a third and fourth option that is close to my heart; an opportunity to attend two Shmbukan events in Greece and Germany respectively.
Kicking off on 15th June Akamine Sensei and Hamby Sensei will be arriving from Okinawa to teach in Athens, hosted by Christos Papapanous - a first for the Shimbukan.
Then next stop is a big one in Erlangen, a major European Seminar for the Shimbukan as hosted by Thomas Podzelny of the Ki-Shin-Tai Dojo.
Akamine Sensei has been coming to Erlangen for a number of years and attracts a large number of Shimbukan members and non-members ready to experience his great teaching and Kobudo skills.
This year will also have a number of top ranking Shimbukan Sensei in attendance so your sure to get a lot more instruction than you bargained for.
There are still places to be had, as well as a bed with meals provided within the Dojo - no need to worry about where to stay.
Unfortunately for me I have had life matters prevent me from attending this year, but I am sure you’ll agree that I probably still need time to digest my time in Okinawa!!
Now of course there are probably a few others happeneing but I am not a travel service.
If you feel that people should know about what else they can get into then share by leaving a comment below with the details.