5 Okinawan Karate Masters Recognised as Intangible Asset Holders

The Okinawan Prefectural Government has announced that five karate/kobudo masters have been recognised as Intangible Asset Holders:

  • Ishikawa Seitoku sensei (Shorin-ryu)
  • Uehara Takenobu sensei (Uechiryu)
  • Hichiya Yoshio sensei (Gojuryu)
  • Nakamoto Masahiro sensei (Bunbukan / Kobudo)
  • Higaonna Morio sensei (Gojuryu)

The contributions of these five gentlemen are recognised in a way that only 9 others before them have been. Their contributions to the advancement of karate/kobudo in Okinawa and around the world are amazing, and it is pleasing to see the esteem in which they are held to be recognised by the Okinawan government.

The passing of Pat Nakata Sensei

Charles Goodin sensei of Hawai’i reports the sad news of the passing of Pat Nakata sensei:

I am very sad to report that my good friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata, passed away last week, on Thursday, February 7th. He was 68. Words cannot express my sense of loss and also my deep respect for and gratitude to Nakata Sensei.

By way of an introduction from my friend Mark Tankosich sensei I had the very great pleasure to have conducted an interview with Nakata sensei on episode 13 of The Applied Karate Show.

Nakata sensei was one of the early pioneers of authentic Okinawan shorinryu karate in America. He had had the opportunity to train with luminaries like Wadoryu founder Ohtsuka sensei and Walter Nishioka sensei. But his major influence was undoubtedly Okinawan shorinryu luminary Chibana Choshin sensei.

Every interview on The Applied Karate Show has been a fascinating learning experience, as well as an honour for me. The interview with Nakata sensei was special – he left an amazing impression of a man with quiet confidence, a lot of experience and a genuine enthusiasm for sharing his art.

I am very saddened to hear of Nakata sensei, and I wish his family, students and friends my condolences.

Mike Clarke Kyoshi’s Magazine Articles

While I sometimes take different views, it will be the end of an era when we see the tapering off of Mike Clarke Kyoshi’s magazine writing. His writing always challenges me to think about my own karate, and I’ve always enjoyed his interviews and perspectives.

I’m glad he’s still blogging, and look forward to future books.

Where are The Applied Karate Podcast episodes?

The Podcast Network, the host of The Applied Karate Show’s podcasts has "gone dark", and thus the show links on the Podcasts page (and the links in the posts for the individual episodes) are currently inactive.

I am exploring some other options for hosting the past episodes so they can be accessible by all, as the purpose of the show has always been to bring the stories of a range of practitioners to all those interested.

On behalf of the listeners of The Applied Karate Show and myself, I wish to thank Cameron Reilly of TPN for having hosted the show for so long.

Please check back for the historical shows soon.

As for new episodes, The Applied Karate Podcast is on hiatus for now, but I do have plans to produce another season as time and opportunity permits.

New Website on Okinawan Karate Launched

OKKB Logo

The Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau has announced the launch of their new website Karate and Kobudo at the Source: The Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau at http://okkb.org. From their press release:

Karate is a cultural heritage of Okinawa. It is characterized by the importance of developing a proper spirit and valuing martial attitude.

Established in July 2011, the Okinawa Traditional Karate Networking Executive Committee, headed by Nashiro Masaichiro, intends to promote Okinawan traditional karate to the world, reaffirming and establishing the international status of “Okinawa, birthplace of karate”. So doing, we aim at contributing to the further industrial development of Okinawa through tourism activities and related business.

Aiming at promoting Okinawa Karate and kobudo worldwide, the website “Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau ?okkb.org? was released November 28, 2011. Information is available in English, Spanish, French and Japanese.

Already the site has quite extensive information on the various styles of karate (sorted into Shuri-te, Naha-te, Tomari-te and Uechi-rty) and kobudo schools in Okinawa. There is information on events and seminars, and access to interpreter services.

Sponsored by the Okinawa Prefecture Government, this website is aimed at assisting karate and kobudo practioners who may not have existing connections with Okinawa karate circles but wish to train in the birthplace of karate. The site will also provide regular news updates and daily information about Okinawa and its most valuable cultural asset, karate.

The Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau has also established a dedicated phone line for matters related to karate. The number is +81-98-934-4334 from outside Japan. The new website is located at http://okkb.org, and you can email their office at desk@okkb.org.

I applaud this initiative of the Okinawan Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau, and look forward to the growth of this potentially valuable web resource.

Shin Gi Tai: New Book By Mike Clarke, Kyoshi

ShinGiTai

Shin Gi Tai: Karate Training for Body, Mind and Spirit (aff.) is a new book by Mike Clarke, Kyoshi (guest on Episode 4 of The Applied Karate Show podcast).

Mike Sensei is a classical karateka of the Okinawan Gojuryu line who emphasises the complete development of the individual, looking at aspects beyond the physical skills emphasised in many dojo. In his own Shinseidokan Dojo in Launceston, Tasmania (Australia), Mike Sensei accepts and trains only a small handful of students who focus on traditional karate methods.

Shin Gi Tai follows on from previous books, the latest of which was the excellent work The Art of Hojo Undo: Power Training for Traditional Karate (aft.).

The following text from the back cover of Shin Gi Tai provides an excellent overview of what the author is emphasising in the book:

Prepare to have your beliefs challenged about what karate really is.

Within these pages, you will discover traditional karate; along the way, perhaps many of your own beliefs about karate will be confronted. You might have a body capable of mastering karate’s physical techniques, but do you have a mind with a level of awareness that is able to grasp the true spirit of karate?

For adults only. Regardless of how many people you can defeat in combat, the deeper aim of karate has always been to conquer your own ego, and by doing so, you increase the likelihood of avoiding conflict. When you can control your ego, you have a chance to establish peace in your life: this is the tradition of budo karate.

Shin Gi Tai has a literal translation: mind–technique–body. A karate-ka’s mind (shin) must be developed ahead of his technique (gi) if he is to discover a sense of balance within his body (tai). While the mental and physical aspects of karate are daunting and causes many to stop training, if you can just endure the early years, say–the say – the first decade–then there is opportunity for real and lasting benefits.

Budo is a concept more often discussed than put into practice, and yet, as part of traditional karate training, it has the capacity to dramatically change lives for the better, but only if you are prepared to move past the obvious and strive to understand the philosophy and the morality of budo.

Your life is yours, your karate is yours, accept ownership of both and reap countless rewards.

The concept of Shin Gi Tai is a personal favourite of mine, as I believe that what separates karate (and other classical forms of budo) from pure sport-oriented fighting systems is the emphasis on developing a strong general knowledge and knowledge of the theories and principles of the art, and an open-ness towards introspection and self-discovery.

Shin Gi Tai: Karate Training for Body, Mind and Spirit (aff.) is available now from Amazon and other sources in paperback. I am not sure if it will be released as an eBook, although there is a Kindle Edition of The Art of Hojo Undo (aff.), so I am hopefully we will see this soon.

How To Win A Fight


Prolific martial authors Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder (guest on Episode 3 of The Applied Karate Show podcast) are set to release a new book in October called How To Win A Fight (aff.).

Lawrence and Kris have released the following video promo for the upcoming book.

I’ll update when the book is released, as it follows on from a number of excellent publications from these outstanding karateka.

Kris and Lawrence host the Martial Secrets podcast, which I highly recommend.

 

Kenkokan Dojo Renovations

I was interested to see that the Shorinjiryu Kenkokan So-Hombu Dojo in Tokyo is being renovated. The Shorinjiryu Kenkokan headmaster (and my former teacher), So Shihan Masayuki Hisataka (Hanshi 9th Dan) has recorded a short video showing the work in progress.

I spent 2 years training at the Kenkokan So-Hombu Dojo, and it is interesting to see the renovations. Operating since 1955 in the current location (near Waseda in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward), the Dojo was quite small but had a great atmosphere. I loved every minute of my time training there.

It looks like the new dojo will be larger and will have sprung wooden floors and walls, with tatami mats to allow for practice of throwing techniques and ground fighting.

Congratulations to Hisataka Sensei and all at the Kenkokan on the new dojo. I look forward to seeing news from the official re-opening in October.

Iain Abernethy Releases Beyond Bunkai DVD

Beyond BunkaiIain Abernethy, Sensei (guest on episode 9 of The Applied Karate Show podcast) has announced the release of a new DVD called Beyond Bunkai.

I’ve always found Iain’s DVDs to be very professional, with excellent production quality and interesting and thought-provoking content. I’ve appreciated recently that Iain has been releasing some of his titles as downloadable movies, and hope that he will add Beyond Bunkai as a download soon!

According to Iain’s newsletter update,

This DVD presents a unique non-scripted flow drill that includes all the motions found within Naihanchi / Tekki Shodan. Ideal for the more experienced bunkai practitioner, and essentially infinite in its variations, this drill shows the depth of Naihanchi / Tekki Shodan and includes gripping skills, head-butting, biting, gouging, seizing, locking, controlling limbs, chokes, cranks, takedowns and close-range kicking.

This drill is also unlike most flow drills in that it is not carefully scripted nor does it involve giving up a position of advantage so your partner can have their turn. The drill instead enables the practitioner to dominate at close-range, flow past any obstructions the enemy may present, safely escape, and practise applying the bunkai of the kata in a realistic context. This DVD also includes a breakdown of the kata itself and a discussion on the history of Naihanchi / Tekki Shodan.

Iain Abernethy is one of the world’s leading exponents of kata application and practical karate. He has been invited all over the globe to teach his approach and to help people return to the original combative nature of the traditional martial arts.

Beyond Bunkai is available in PAL and NTSC format from http://shop.iainabernethy.com/acatalog/DVDs_UK.html.