What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

9) Karate Training with Akamine Sensei - Okinawa 2019

Friday 9/27/2019:
Met up with Sensei early today, and went to the Karate Kaikan with him and his wife Ritsuko. We met up with Miguel Da Luz, who I had recognized as an interpreter in some of the videos I’d seen in my research. The kaikan was just finished 3 years ago so there's still plenty to do, and Miguel is there 4 days a week and works for the Karate promotion arm of the Okinawan government. They had already made setsumei (explanatory) books for Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu, and translated them into English, Spanish, and French (and maybe German?). Next up they intend to tackle the older styles, but it's considerably more difficult, and it seems like the masters of their own derivative styles don't seem very cooperative. Karate is full with a lot of big heads. Meanwhile, Akamine Sensei has stuck with his 6-dan rank bestowed on him by Soken sensei. If Karate is a process of self-perfection, what can rank tell us about ourselves? If Karate is a framework for competition, you may fall into the trap of trying to measure your obi against someone else's.

今日はちょっと早めに先生と集合ができて奥さんと一緒に空手会館に向かった。会館のミゲールさんに会えてどっかYouTubeで顔を見たことある気がした。ミゲールさんが最近頑張っていた空手の説明本を見せてくれた。剛柔流と上地流の二冊は数言語で出来ているから先生にくれた。次の研究はもっと伝統を持っている流派なので大変になるかもしれない。空手のマスター達は自惚れの強い人が多い。十段が多くて。赤嶺先生はもう何十年六段として頑張っている。帯を気にせず、空手は自分との戦いだけ。



In the kaikan there was a museum too, with some great exhibits and examples of kobudo of various styles. Turns out the curved-looking nunchaku hanging from the dojo wall are called "muge nunchaku," which were designed from the old bridles, called muge, that were used in lieu of bits to lead horses with (the holes are inspired by part of the bridle, and don't serve any practical purpose for the weapon). It makes sense that an already existing object like that was quickly realized as an effective weapon when it got swung around. There was also a small 3-section nunchaku, like the kind of weapon he said you would hide in your sleeve, and use to more than double your reach. Like James was saying, for the most part, those weapons were just used for the surprise factor, and you would only get one shot to use it; if a weapon found its target, that usually spelled the end of the battle; there were no long, drawn-out clashes between armed masters. Each fight was decided in a flash, and that was usually early in the confrontation. The longer you face off against an armed opponent, the more likely you are to get injured. The more unexpected an attack is the more effect it has, so move quickly and decisively.


空手会館実は博物館もあった。展示がすごくよくて古武道も習字もいっぱい貼ってあった。変な形をしているヌンチャクはムゲヌンチャクと言われる。乗馬のムゲと同じものから、古武道になったようだ。面白い小さな三節の根もあった。袖に隠れやすいデザインで相手が分からないうちビックリさせる。一回振って落として逃げた方が安全だと。喧嘩は長いものではなくて、一瞬で決められるのだ。

In the car, remembering my conversation with James, I asked sensei about knives and Soken sensei. He was a little cryptic and didn’t directly address the lack of knife practice, but he told me "I don't remember him ever going to the Philippines, but when you train in Karate, everything becomes a weapon.” This would become more clear at the local bunka (culture) center, where he pointed out a lot of household type items in the museum exhibit that may have served as inspiration for various kobudo like tonfa. When we went to pick up his granddaughter from preschool, there was someone trimming weeds with a kama, absolutely no different from the kind used in kobudo. Thinking back, I still wonder if the knife techniques were lost or ignored to discourage knife fights, to make the violent tough times they lived through, and in direct opposition to turning ordinary household tools into weapons, the obvious and ubiquitous bladed weapons were discouraged in settling disputes. In becoming “empty hand,” Karate had taken a step away from the deadlier aspects of martial combat..

車の中でジェームズさんとの話を想い出して先生にナイフのことを聞いてみた。直接とは答えてくれなかったけど、「祖堅先生がフィリピンへ行ったという記憶はないけど、空手の稽古のおかげで持つものは何でも武器になるのだ。」

後で南風原の文化センターに連れて行ってくれて、いろんな道具や家庭の物が古武道に似ていると説明を足した。幼稚園に向かって、先生の孫を迎えに行って、庭の整備をする担当が鎌を持っていた。考えると、尖った武器があったのに、紛争解決として武器を使わないでお互いに生きていくために、手が空っぽで空手が進歩してきた。

Comments

There are no comments to display.

Journal entry information

Author
nice gaijin
Views
165
Last update
Location
Okinawa

More entries in Culture

More entries from nice gaijin

Top Bottom