News Wrap-up From David Chan in Okinawa:
Well IOK’s Man in the field, David Chan is now sadly back in Iraq “at Work” for the Army. Keep him in your prayers. David’s short trip to Okinawa seems to have been an incredibly inspiring one. From what we have gathered from his emails David has;
-Trained with multiple world class Okinawa Master instructors within the Okikukai organization.
-Met, stayed with and trained with some of our Okikukai karate family from Eastern Europe.
-In addition to Shohei-Uechi Ryu Masters, met and Trained with Goju Ryu as well as Kendo system Masters.
-Participated as a competitor in the famed All Okinawa Tournament, advancing in both Kata and Kumite as the only USA Representative in the tournament this year.
-Has had individual training instruction from the All Okinawa Tournament First and Second Place Kumite World Champions.
-Was invited to test for Nidan rank, and passed in a test, where at least two other candidates were actually failed by the Okikukai testing board. He even called the dojo for Jack’s blessing to test! Now that’s a class act.
What a treat. We can’t have guys like this back on the floor with us at IOK soon enough. I couldn’t download the pictures properly, but following are some choice excerpts from David’s recent emails.
I thought I just share this info with you guys. Masatoshi Arai Sensei (7 Dan) is a Goju Ryu master from Osaka, Japan. Arai is a good friend of Okikukai, is a representative/advisor from the Goju Ryu Association for Okinawa, and was a board member for the 2010 All Okinawa Karate Tournament. Arai owns a Dojo in Osaka, Japan where he works with martial arts masters from MMA and Muay Thai. Arai himself was a former international muay thai competitor. I had the wonderful privilege to train with him one night, and Arai said that Karate and Muay Thai is not that different, the biggest differences is that Muay Thai teaches you to fight one on one for competition and Karate teaches you to fight multiple opponents in real life. Arai showed me some really good stuff, which I hope to share with everyone when I get back.
Arai has also gave an invitation to train at his dojo anytime, if we were to stop by Osaka.
I have also gave him the same invitation for our dojo.
On your left my right is Hisao Hamamoto Sensei, Kendo Master and to your right my left is Amada Sensei. Hamamoto teaches advanced students with real blades, he is the authority for Kendo on Okinawa. Takashi Arakaki Sensei brought me to him to learn some Kendo, verbally with no weapons. Hamamoto Sensei gave some good insight as to the conflicting times in history when the samuria controled Okinawa, and where the art of knedo is now. Amada Sensei is a Aikido instructor and is a student of Hamamoto Sensei. Really wonderful people. -Dave
What Hamada has told me is that, no matter how strong/conditioned his body becomes, which I can tell you he is jacked. Hamada said that he never fights anyone face to face, because then it is a game of who is faster, which is a game he does not wish to play. Hamada said he always takes an angle on someone, no matter the opponent, uechi conditioning he says is for just in case scenario, Hamada’s goal is to get in and get out and go home. I think if Hamada can hit in the throat with out gloves, it would be a bad day for anyone.
I have taken so many pictures since I have been here, I will try to see if I can e-mail some to you. – Dave
I just got done working out with the winner of the 2010 All Okinawan Champ (Atsushi Hamada) from the Awasae Dojo with Keicho Tobaru Sensei. I got to say this guys kumite is world class, I wish you were here. I hope that in the future I will have the oppurtunity to come back to Okinawa with IOK.
I thank you for all your support, and your technical insight. – Dave
Honcho Visit From Okikukai West Coast
It was my great pleasure to receive a surprise guest up at the dojo this month. Steve Goss (7th Dan) popped in on a Tuesday night to introduce himself and get a work out in on the floor. Steve just happened to be here on the East Coast for a family affair. To my initial chagrin, myself and “New Yellow Belt Eric” were the lone IOK representatives that night, but never the less the three of us spent some excellent time on basics, (Keep up the hard work Eric!). Steve offered some training insights I will share. We compared Kanshiwa Bunkai applications on the floor and just a bit of karate banter of beers in Sully’s.
If you don’t recognize the name, Steve co-founded “Okikukai West” with Ahti back in the day. They are our karate family of dojo all up and down the West Coast. Steve sends his regrets he could not make it on a Thursday to meet more of the advanced students, but we’ll stay in touch and see him again someday. Some of you may know Mike DiDonato who comes in to Boston from time to time. Mike’s dojo is Okikukai West’s LA presence. Should anyone be traveling out that way the invite has been personally extended from these two great, long-time Uechi guys for any IOK travelers to stop in for a workout.
See you on the floor.