Karate gold… Day 10

It’s not often you get walked home after a night out by Higaonna Sensei, Nakamura Sensei, Sensei Linda and most of the IOGKF delegation from Denmark. OK so they were just going home and my apartment happened to be on the way… but what an end to the day…IMG_0906

As the days here winds down, loads of people have been commenting on how warped time seems to be… you arrive, seem to have loads of time and not before long you are preparing to go back home again. To me this is quite double edged, I love it here as I’ve spoken about a lot, but also, I look forward to getting back to loved ones back home.

There is of course the return to work chat that inevitably includes the ‘how was the holiday’ banter that is necessary to reassure people that I am not in fact ‘mad’. (yes I know that the use of air quotes is a thing of the past). I have tried to tell people that it was mostly a mixture of training and sightseeing but then you get the people who want to know what the ‘night life’ was like etc… How can I possibly explain that after two beers, usually imbibed at about 11pm I am ready for bed and that’s all. This is certainly not the holiday for those Ibiza crew. IMG_4796

Most people here at the moment have come without their families and significant others. Which is never easy, although there is usually much more understanding from those who see the way in which we train. That said, with limited holiday time off, it can be a difficult message to deliver to say that you are going to be self indulgent with  part of  your annual leave.

So it’s important for me to ensure that I use the time wisely. Self training is difficult at first, but competition training years ago helped me to find a way to keep my wee brain engaged. The added challenge in Okinawa is the heat and humidity, which can mask the actual level of training achieved. A few mornings this trip, Higaonna Sensei was in the dojo doing his own training. It’s funny…with some people training in their company can be daunting, but with Higaonna Sensei I got the sense that he was just there doing his own thing, and so I got on with mine…albeit with a fair amount of intensity 🙂

So… we come to the end of the trip and I am now looking forward to getting home, I have so many stories to tell to those who will understand 🙂

I have made new friends, seen so much and really tried to get as much out of this trip as I possibly could. Steve Cattles words ring in my ears and I’ve tried to explore as much as I could. Last night for example a wee run led me to see things that I would never have see had I not ventured out…and I got a bit fitter :0)

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Photoshoot time…

So many stories to take home, but top amongst them comes from the Sayonara Party last night. Certain things will remain sacred as you know, what goes on tour stays on tour, but seriously, being in the room when Yamashiro Sensei and Terauchi Sensei were just so happy to have passed their gradings… well that is karate gold…

The entire room stood to honour the news when Terauchi Sensei was announced as having passed his 9th Dan, he looked pretty moved himself also. It was incredibly moving.

So tomorrow is the last day here, I am both happy and sad. Okinawa has become very very special to me but I cannot wait to get home and share more stories.

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