The first few days in Okinawa are always a bit of a blur… if it’s not the actual in ability to walk in a straight line post flight, then it’s the need to sleep at really inconvenient times… like when the sun is up! I tell myself that I’m going to drink gallons of water because aparently that makes a difference, but all in all I arrive at exactly the same place in time and really nothing is any different.
First day, I am awake ridiculously early, before the sun and when I say awake, it’s that I’m completely awake. I heard on the grapevine that there was a karate demonstration in the Budokan, Kagami Biraki (thanks James). So rather than train at Higaonna Senseis dojo I had the mind to run to the Karate Kaiken train there and then run to the Budokan. It made sense in my pre-sun up brain. After all I hand Kankles to get rid of!
The thing about kankles is that the first few kilometers are pretty awkward, kind of like a hippo trying to do balance beam. Nothing wrong with a hippo, they are just rarely seen doing gymnastics! So I head off, I pass a fire station on my way and the good people keeping Naha safe are out doing their training and looking way more elegant than I whilst at the same time carrying all sorts of heavy equipment and doing shuttle runs. I speed up as I go by but then half of them get to the end of their forecourt and we are all now running the same direction! Great, spring training with kankles.
The person who put the Karate Kaiken at the top of a huge hill need a good talking to, at the end of my run, with 200m to go, I’m greated with the 1 in 10 incline sign! I pass an old man who is pushing his bike up the hill and hope he doesn’t hear the my breath which now sounds like a leaky compression pump! After getting changed I head to the training room and the same man was training away in the corner, he is probably some sort of 10th Dan or something 🙂
Thats why I love Okinawa so much, it never ceases to amaze me, a bit later as I was leaving he was outside feeding three cats, who very much looked like they needed the food, I went up to give them a wee pet and they scattered, 2 seconds later they came back for more food and he was able to pick them up! He pointed down the hill as I set off and made a gesture about going down being good… so yup he heard my rough breath on the way up. Joy. I head to the Kaiken and well, watch the video below!
A bit later in the day and I head to the meeting point of Karateka in Naha, Starbucks ! Senseis Joe and DJ are there and it’s nice to meet up with other IOGKF people. They have also just arrived and are also kankled up so we decide that training in the “Healthy Club” later that day is a good idea. I’m now of the age bracket for this club! Great.
A few hours later and we’re in suits and Uehara Sensei is taking us through Kihon and Kata and that well known Okinawa sweat makes a welcome return!
Ah Okinawa, it’s good to be back!