Vancouer, Karate, Kobudo, Rehab, BC, Goju, Uechi

I won’t forget this day. It was May 9 of this year and like always I made my way to the gym to lift some weights. I remember it was a good workout, but nothing out of the ordinary. The following day my forearms were a bit sore probably from the weighted dips I had done the previous day I thought. The next day at Kobudo practice my arms ached and made it a bit difficult to do Bo basics. Now I thought I had really over-done it with the weighted dips. By Monday’s Karate-do practice my arms felt like they had been bruised and beaten to the bone, but little did I know that  it was only the beginning.  (more…)


The next day.


The next day Yoshimura sensei picked me up at my hotel. Before practice we went to Minowa sensei’s Ohaka to pay our respects. We burnt insense and said a brief prayer. It’s always hard emotionally for me visiting Minowa sensei’s resting place but it’s even harder on Yoshimura sensei who was his student for 20 years. As we drove to the dojo Yoshimura sensei commented, “even though I live in Amami, I don’t visit sensei as often as I should…” I don’t feel comfortable posting photos of Minowa sensei’s Ohaka; it just doesn’t feel dignified.





Saturday I was at Kagoshima airport, slightly hung-over from the night before (or was it this morning?) waiting for my flight to Amami. I texted Yoshinura sensei that I was on my way and would see him that evening for practice at the dojo. The flight to Amami was uneventful which is a good thing as I hate flying. It also gave me time to relax and reflect on my trip so far. I was halfway through it and though it had been exhausting (I’m still not 100% after this summers misadventure) it had also been rewarding. I was able to reconnect with my teachers, have my technique critiqued, receive corrections and even learn a few new things to boot. I suppose you could say things had gone swimmingly.


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Murakami Katsumi


On Thursday I was back in Fukuoka to meet my friend Quint; a long time resident of Japan and Goju-ryu student under Kanari sensei and Shorin-ryu student under Murakami sensei. I met him at the Starbucks in front of Hakkata station were we chatted for a bit before heading out for some lunch.

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Just Jump!

Ryukyu Kobudo - Yoshimura sensei & Krister - Bo vs. Tonfa
Yoshimura sensei & Krister – Bo vs. Tonfa

Ryukyu Kobudo contains a variety of weapons ranging from the more common such as the bo, sai and tonfa, to the more exotic such as the  rochin and tinbe, and suruchin. All of these weapons require years of study with a competent teacher to gain mastery. This requires not only the detailed study of the solo kata, but naturally the two-person fighting sets handed down for each weapon.


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Know your weapon

The weaponry of Ryukyu Kobudo
The weaponry of Ryukyu Kobudo

The older I get the more I love Ryukyu Kobudo. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my Karate-do practice, but not nearly as much as Kobudo. There is a wonderful depth and breadth to the art of Kobudo that I seem to appreciate more than Karate-do. It’s something that I can see myself practicing well into my old age. But, oddly enough, Kobudo is not any easy art to commit to and it is IMHO a much more unforgiving mistress compared to Karate-do. You see, in Ryukyu Kobudo, if you make a mistake you get hurt…seriously.


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Shoshin Nagamine & Understanding Kata

In Shoshin Nagamine’s Essence of Okinawan Karatedo he states that the, “intermediate movements (fighting postures) are integrated into kata as links between paired units of basic movements.” The fighting postures that he lists include among others: ryu no shita no kamae (dragon-tongue posture), sagurite no kamae (searching-hand posture), suirakan no kamae (drunkard posture). What do these postures  mean and why did Nagamine list only a limited set of them? (more…)

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Minowa Katsuhiko sensei
Minowa sensei trying to teach me the intricacies of Jodan Kamae

The other day I was looking at some old video I had taken way back in 2001 of Minowa sensei correcting my bo technique. In the video I was performing Yonegawa no kon (米川の棍), the left-handed bo kata developed by Chinen Sanda (1852 – 1925), and he wasn’t happy with how I was positioning my arms (jodan kamae) before doing an overhead strike (jodan uchi). My right elbow sagged too much, my wrist was bent, my left arm was too low and bo was not inline with my shoulder… in other words, everything was wrong. However, Minowa sensei patiently corrected each and every mistake I had made with a smile and a bit of laughter along the way. He also went into great detail explaining the reasons why the technique had to be done that way (1). Not once did he ever bark at me or loose his temper, even though he had every right too; I was his student and I should have been performing the technique better than I was.


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