News‎ > ‎Okinawa 2013‎ > ‎

27th May

posted May 28, 2013, 4:59 PM by Andrew Glover   [ updated May 28, 2013, 11:16 PM ]

Well after doing the tourist thing for a few days, today is the day training starts.  
Tokumura Sensei of Tomonokai was our first visit.  I am very excited indeed.  Our first stop was at an A&W American fast food place.  Sensei Jeff was sensible enough not to have the food.  Sensei Bob and Adam enjoyed their burger, my chicken burger was not the best.  The root beer was OK, but I couldn't drink an American sized mug of it.  

We managed to find another taxi driver who got lost.  I think I figured it out, it seems that there are no street signs and house numbers.  No wonder everyone gets lost.  I guess they go on the assumption, if you are coming to visit me you should know where you are going!  Which does not work to well for us foreigners. We pulled up at White Beach Gate (American base) and there was another taxi there.  The driver was somehow related to Tokumura Sensei and knew where he lived. Sensei Bob had phoned Tokumura Sensei, who arrived with in a few minutes.  We piled into the other taxi and were at his Dojo in a matter of minutes. 

Tokumura Sensei is a really really nice man, most welcoming.  We were at his home Dojo, which was a privilege as he does not often accept visitors to train there.  He told us some amazing history, about Isshin Ryu and Tatsuo Shimabuku.  He has loads of photos up, one which i have seen on the internet of 2 guys sparring with Tatsuo Sensei in the background. He is on of the guys! He showed us loads of old weapons and told us old stories about them. The of which are so cool. He had his original Sai and Bo, which he still uses, they are 53 years old! He had a proper Eku (Oar) that his grandfather used to row his boat. The real Eku is different to the ones they uses for martial arts, the real one had more of a curve in it. He got, i think it was the oar maker, to make one for him for kubudo. Anyway way after more talking, started taking about Sai. I think i was playing with his 53 year old Sai, rolling them around opening and closing them, just playing. I did like a bo strike and he was "no, no, no flicky, flicky". Took the Sai of me "strong" and demonstrated a bo strike "no flick at end, strike strong, stop" and hand me the Sai. "you do!" Geeze, no warm, no gi. So I do a few, ask some questions, which he was happy to answer. He seemed happy. Some more talking and photos. Sensei Bob asked him heaps of questions about the early days.

I am not sure how we got onto it but he got me up to do some blocks and punches, corrected a few things, made me do it again. Till he was happy, which thankfully did not take long. He kinda nodded and "good, good, strong!" Then he spoke about Kata, and gets me up to do some kicks, called Adam up as well and proceeded to get us to do front kick. He corrected us, it seemed he was not happy with Adam at first the suddenly he shouts out at Adam "OH GOOD, VERY GOOD, YOU VERY GOOD, DO AGAIN", Adam kicks again and again, and there were more nods, smiles. He seemed just as happy with my kicks and we asked him about side kick, he explained, we did, he was happy. Then he got Adam to do seiunchin, he was not happy that it was Japanese, but seemed happy with how Adam did it and his focus, speed and power. After some more talking he said we were done, and said he would take us back to the hotel.  
He took the long way back past the beach, it is absolutely magnificent, alot like the Central Coast.  We he dropped us at the Hotel, he said "See you tomorrow, taxi come pick you up 9.30am".  Seems Adam and I had passed the test, well it certainly felt like it too me.  

Uechi Sensei was our evening training.  He is also really, really friendly. The training was great.  We started out with the fundamentals, upper and lower.  There were only a few little things that he cleaned up.  Which was good.  Then he taught us the first 2 standard Okinawan School kata.  He explained that all school in Okinawa now teach 4 kata as part of the Sport Curriculum.  1 From each main style.  

The first on is Shorin- Ryu, not sure what kata it is based on. It is a very nice kata, very easy to learn (well it was for Adam and I).  Then he taught us the 2nd one, which is based on Genkezi dai-ich, which was even easier for us.  After doing those a few times.  Sensei Bob and I then asked Uechi Sensei for clarification on some bits of the kata's.  While we went through those him taught Sensei Jeff and Adam a Sai kata. 

Before I knew it we time was up!  Uechi Sensei very kindly drove us back to the hotel and we went out for a dinner and climbed into bed at about 12am.