I was surfing on the web the other day and stumbled on a karate video on Youtube where a teacher referred to himself as “zokucho”; then another one where a different teacher called himself “gunshi”. I almost fell out of my seat laughing. It was an absolutely brilliant display of using Japanese completely wrong.
Posted by The Invisible Sensei Podcast on Sunday, April 19, 2020
I originally published this post on Derek English sensei five years ago which included an interview conducted by Mike Clark sensei (thank you wherever you are), but I am republishing it to include a wonderful new interview with him on the Invisible Sensei Podcast.
Derek English is a true power-house of Okinawa Budo – proficient in both Goju-ryu Karate-do and Ryukyu Kobudo. I first met Derek in Japan way back in 1995 at a conference we were both attending in Kumamoto prefecture, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I finally caught up with him on Okinawa and was able to train very briefly with him and his teacher Uehara Ko at the latter’s dojo in Naha.
Hikimori (引きこもり) is a Japanese word usually reserved for young adults who lock themselves away for months or years at a time to avoid the stress of social contact. Although not self-imposed, I’m sure all of us are feeling the stress of being cooped up at home and anxiety about the future. It is certainly a hard time for everyone, and I consider myself fortunate that I am healthy and secure unlike others during this pandemic.
As I mentioned in my previous posts, since I have extra time I have temporarily restarted this blog to add a bit of light reading on Okinawa Karate-do and Kobudo. This week’s post is a translation of a short article entitled “On Karate Dance” that was originally published in “An Ethnography of Amami Oshima” in 1927. It does not reveal any great insights about the history of Karate, but certainly provides a bit of flavour regarding the then fledgling art. Particularly the author equates Karate as a kind of Ryukyu Dance and differentiates from it’s predecessor art of Karate-jutsu. It’s an interesting perspective and one that modern authors still debate (for example, read part 3 of the article “A Thousand Years of Traditional Okinawa Karate”.
Enjoy. Read more →