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25th August Monday

posted Aug 27, 2014, 12:11 AM by Andrew Glover   [ updated Aug 29, 2014, 12:21 AM ]
It's really good to be back in Gushikawa.  Last night Celina, Angela and Mark joined us.  We are pretty big group now.  The plan was to head to Gate 2 Street and then to Agena Castle.  By the time Adam, Renee and myself got down stairs the others had left.  We got a cab to Kadena Air Base at the end of Gate 2 street.  Renee made the bad move of standing right in front of the gate and taking a picture.  A guard rushed out to stop her so she started to run away.  I advised her to stop and the guard caught up.  He demanded that the photo's were deleted. The Americans are very touchy about taking photos of their gates it seems!  Unfortunately  yet again Gate 2 street was mostly closed, the same thing happened last year.  Fortunately the Ippon Karate-do shop was open and Renee got a cool set of plastic Sai for her boy.  It was a big win, I think she is more chuffed than Brody will be.  We walked up the street but with not much too see we decided to catch a cab to Agena.  When we got there we all needed a drink and a bit of a relax, so we headed to the KFC.  

We had a great old yarn for about an hour, talking about Karate, life, more karate and more karate!  It is one of the things I love about being here.  No interuptions and things to do, you can just sit and chat.  Having the opportunity to do it with two devoted students of Martial Arts is just so refreshing.  It is amazing the little things you learn just talking to people. 

I needed to find a Post Office, so Adam and Renee went into the Stamp shop and I went for a wonder.  The Post Office had moved and when I got back, after about 10 minutes, all the others had caught up with Adam and Renee.  It turned out the group had decided to walk from the hotel!  They were all exhausted and decided to check out the Stamp shop and then head back to the hotel.

We were feeling refreshed after our sit down so Adam, Renee and I headed off to check out Agena Castle.  Adam and I managed to navigate our way there quite successfully. We had expected them to have cleared more of it, but it seems to be more over run with weeds than last year.  They had cleared more of the wall though, which is really great to see.  While we were on the top of the hill, the weather started to turn ominous, so we headed back down.  As were we walking around the base and checking out some tombs, the rain started to pelt down.  We sought shelter in the eves of a tomb and waited it out for about 20 minutes.  Another great opportunity talk about life, the Universe and 47.  The rain only made it more humid and steamy!

We were all very hungry, so decided to head to an A&W for lunch.   I had a burger and chips followed by a Chicken Aloha burger, it will definitely be my next choice, it was very nice.  I am not a fast food fan at all, but the A&W curly fries are really nice.  We all felt we need a bit of a relax before our first nights training, so we decide to head back home.  Adam wanted to check his bearings to Iha Sensei's Dojo and I walked up the street to the Post Office we passed on the way.  We then caught a cab back to the hotel. 

At about 5.30pm Celina, Angela and I caught a cab to Uechi Sensei's Dojo.  I remembered the way, but the taxi driver knew mostly where he was going.  Without wanting to jinx it, we have been very lucky with Taxi drivers knowing where to go this year.

It was really great to see Uechi Sensei, he is just about the coolest guy.  A total Gentleman and fantastic teacher.  He had a few young kids and watching him work with them gave me a whole new perspective on him.  Not long after the class started Sensei Andy Sloane came in.  He had just moved back to Okinawa for work, he is in the Navy.  So while he took Celina and the young kids, I got to be taught by Sensei one on one for two hours!  What a real treat.  

I got go through all the kihon, there were a few little things to clean up but nothing major. Uechi Sensei has added a kick, which will be fun to teach to the Students. 

The I got to go through all the Kata.  Fortunately is was not as "traumatic" as last year.  It seems I have managed to get pretty much all of the adjustments from last year right, so there were only a few little things that needed fixing and cleaning up.  BIG thing is my thumbs being out, now I know where the Students get if from.  Oops, that will be fixed when we get home.  Bit of a "show off" moment (sorry).  At the end of my kusanku I got a "prefecto" from Sensei! I ended up on the exact same spot! I was, as you can imagine, very happy with myself.

The young kids left after an hour and then Celina got to be taught by Sensei Andy.  He is also a really fantastic Teacher.  It was so hot and humid, I must have sweat out about 2 KG's.  

After class Sensei Andy offered to take us back to the hotel, in his van that he had just picked up that day.  Having not driven for about a year and now driving on the opposite side of the road must have been a bit of a challenge. It did not seem to take him long to get accustomed to the van though.  Celina and Angela decided to get a shower before going out for dinner but as Sensei Andy needed to be back on base by 21:00 hrs, the two of we headed to my favourite Ramen place for dinner. 

He is has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Isshin Ryu and it was really great to hear some of the old stories and also getting some facts sorted out.  It was a quick dinner, as he had to get back to Base.  Not long after I got back to the hotel, the others got back from their training. So we put our Gi's into wash and sat and drank beer while we waited for them to finish.  It sounded like the guys had a great time at Iha Sensei.