It has been a packed few days. Okinawa does that… you land and think you have ages and ages and then suddenly it’s down to the last few days. The dojo has thinned out as all the super duper grades are now at the chief instructors gasshuku in the Karate Kaiken.
To keep the focus on my own training, I have really wanted to push myself. So, in the last few days I’ve done a karate challenge (108 x shishochin) and a 2.5 hour set of hoju undo. During both of these I thought I wasn’t going to make it, but the poignancy of the location does make you push through any barriers. I now have a perma penguin walk… 🙂
The danger of all of this is that you can get caught in a bubble. It’s too easy to forget the history of this Island and today was time to think of times past. We met with Sensei Linda at the Karate Kaiken and then headed to the underground headquarters used by the Japanese in the second world war. As we left the Kaiken I was not entirely emotionally prepared for what was to follow. We headed to the reception area and then started to see just how large the caves ran through the hill. Joanna Lumley recently covered these caves in a documentary about Okinawa, the same one where she trained with Higaonna Sensei in his dojo. I had completely forgotten about this until I saw the stairs and remembered how many souls had perished. I remembered seeing how upset she got and how she kept putting her hands on the walls. The notes on how the caves were created pointed to the hand hewn nature of the excavation, most of which was done with pick axes. Looking at the wall now made complete sense… you could see the individual marks…
It is important to me that we remember those who have gone ahead and in most circumstances respect he huge sacrifices they made. I really feel things like this, I tend to spend a lot of energy reflecting and thinking about the people involved and what they might have experienced. That said I was very glad to have visited.
After leaving, I had to go and clear my head… I saw this moth(?) and decided to try and get as close as possible, but I think the colours didn’t show him too well!
After tea it was back to the dojo… It is amazing just how easy it is to think you are doing a kata and then when someone looks at it you realise that what you think you have, is like a rugby player thinking they are a cheerleader. No offence to either parties…
Tonight Sensei worked with me on Seisan, now we have had rain so the humidity is through the roof, which meant everyone was dripping. We focused on really specific points, over and over again, none of which were coming together for me, but at least I know where to spend time in the future. I am exceptionally grateful!!!
2 hours later and I was on the way home, dripping, mind racing but happy.