After a long and exhausting journey, we safely arrived in Okinawa to our teacher, Kuba Yoshio Hanshi. Sensei Miwa came to meet us and took us to our accommodation, for which we are very grateful.
On the first day, Sensei Kuba took us to an Okinawan cultural program, from which I have uploaded some photos and videos. Thank you, Sensei Kuba. Our 4-week intensive training program begins tomorrow.
In the second week, our training program continued with Kuba Sensei teaching us Goju-Ryu techniques and Shinjo Sensei teaching us Tomari-Te techniques and katas. Having two daily training sessions in the hot and humid weather here is not an easy task, but the abundance of new information and techniques makes up for our efforts. At the end of the first week, on Friday evening, Yamashiro Hirokuni Hanshi, the master of Uechi-Ryu, surprised us with a dinner invitation, for which we are very thankful.
At the beginning of the second week, Turák Péter Sensei and his students, Uzonyi Nóra and Gulyás Vice Senseis, arrived safely in Okinawa to train for two weeks. They will be learning traditional Goju-Ryu karate techniques from Yoshio Kuba Sensei, Tomari-Te techniques from Shinjo Takahiro Sensei, and competition techniques from Shinjo Takeru Sensei. Before the training sessions, we visited the Ocean Park, where we had the opportunity to encounter marine life. We also visited Shuri Castle and saw the progress in rebuilding the central part that had burned down. Shinjo Sensei took us to a local bar where we could listen to authentic Okinawan songs.
On Friday, under the leadership of Kuba Sensei, we visited the Okinawa City Hall for a meeting, where Nana Sensei helped overcome language barriers. We were received by the Mayor of Okinawa City, the heads of the economic and cultural departments, and the director of the EISA Museum. Before the meeting, we presented letters from the mayors of Pesterzsébet and Szigetszentmiklós and an emblematic plaque from the 1st Okinawan Days in Pesterzsébet to Mr. Sachio Kuwae, the Mayor of Okinawa City.
On Saturday morning, Miwa Sensei invited us to her dojo, followed by a delicious lunch, which we are grateful for. Okinawan children also enjoyed the “shiko dachi” and “santa róka” games. At the end of the training, they asked if we would come back next week, and Nana Sensei helped bridge the language difficulties here too, as she speaks both Japanese and Hungarian fluently.
Turák Péter Sensei and his students familiarized themselves with the Motobo Udundi techniques at Tamaki Kazuo Shihan’s dojo in the afternoon. Shinjo Sensei and Takeru Sensei then spent some time with us before taking us to a small cultural program. As part of this program, we visited Kaneda Air Base and the memorial of the Tomari-Te grandmaster in Kaneda.
In summary, we have had a very tiring and eventful two weeks, but it has been filled with achievements, experiences, and a wealth of karate knowledge. We are extremely grateful to Kuba Sensei, Shinjo Sensei, Takeru Sensei, Miwa Sensei, and the Okinawan masters for their help and guidance in teaching us authentic Okinawan karate.
In the third week, our training programs continued in the dojos of Kuba Sensei and Shinjo Sensei. After years of persistent training, we successfully passed our exams, with Shimizu Nana Sensei attaining a 5th dan and myself a 7th dan. We would like to extend our gratitude to all of our dear students, family, Kuba Sensei, and Shinjo Sensei for their support.
On the day following the exams, Kuba Sensei’s wife invited us to a delightful dinner, for which we are very thankful. Kimi Sensei and Tami Sensei also took us on an excursion and a visit to a beautiful castle. We visited the Karate Kaikan, the Karate Museum, and Nahā Shureido. We are deeply appreciative of Kuba Sensei, Shinjo Sensei, and Takeru Sensei for the training, teaching, and the warm, familial atmosphere in which they have welcomed and treated us!
Yamashiro Hirokuni Hanshi, a 9th dan master of Uechi-Ryu, unfortunately could not attend the Okinawan Days event in Pesterzsébet due to Covid. Therefore, the commemorative plaque was recently presented to him. Miwa Kanazawa Sensei, a 4th dan in Goju-Ryu and the secretary of the Okinawan Karate-Do Rengo-Kai and Kempo-Kai, is the one who tirelessly supports and assists in the karate activities of Kempo-Kai/Sakura-Kai countries. We expressed our gratitude to him with the commemorative plaque for his contributions to the Okinawan Days event in Pesterzsébet.
At the dinner organized by Kuba Yoshio Hanshi, Tamaki Kzuo Shihan, an 8th dan master of Motobu Udundi (Motobu-Ryu or Motobu Kempo), and Shinjo Takahiró Shihan, a 9th dan master of Tomari-Te, were also in attendance.
In Okinawa, there are Korean and American kata national team competitors training at Shinjo Takahiro Sensei’s dojo.