Couldn’t make it up…

Yesterday was one of those days that I can’t quite get my head around. On the face of it, it shouldn’t have been all that, but wow, by the time I hit the pillow at the end of the day… 

So I had set this challenge for myself, to make sure that I was getting as much out of every day as I could physically manage. I’ve been waking up at about 05:30 and running every morning to try and see as much of Naha as I can manage. The day before yesterday I went to Shuri Castle so today the challenge was Naminoue beach and shrine. Ideally I wanted to get there before the sun came up but I really faffed around the house so that, by the time I was leaving, the darkness was starting to drift away. By the time that I was left with a hill and long flat bit to go the edges of the horizon were starting to pink up and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the beach one time. Now, this isn’t your typical beach, it has a huge motorway going over it, so I needed to gain some height to see the sun coming up, which at the end of a run isn’t the most ideal thing. 

A full on race to the end and I am just making it to the shrine as the sun really starts to stretch it’s wings. I arrive all sweaty and red which is about the same time as a bus pulls up and perfect looking Japanese girls pile out, mobiles in hand ready to snap each and every memory. I’m not sure what they thought when they saw me, but one then one of the men working at the Shrine came over to me and pointed to a wee bird who had landed in a corner. We both knelt down to watch him, staying for about 20 lovely seconds before the Japanese girls came cackling up to us and the bird was off. I heard the name a few times in Japanese but for the life of me I can’t remember it! It was a lovely wee blue bird though… any suggestions welcome.  

In the next minute the sun came up and the part of the sea that was visible underneath the motorway burst into a, well I could say sea of gold, but it was a sea so that seems a bit silly really. Jokes aside, it was beautiful to watch and almost as soon as the sun came up, there were people on the beach, most were doing some sort of morning calisthenics or… swimming! Now the shark nets that I was used to seeing in the summer weren’t up so these were perhaps the bravest men I have seen… 

Getting back to the apartment I felt I had achieved something and had about an hour to get myself back together before heading to the dojo. I can’t describe how lucky I feel to be able to train here, these morning classes, I am trying to soak in every possible piece of information. My notes have notes on them, I get back from every class and I literally have a re-run of while I try and remember what was covered. I’m sure I’ve missed loads… 

Sensei Linda showed me to a wee cafe a while back and they make the greatest food! So I headed there with Senseis Joe and DJ and it didn’t disappoint. I love the time here with like minded people.  People who I have to say really inspire me. After lunch we headed to Starbucks to grab a coffee and continue the chat, we were there about 20 minutes when Higaonna Sensei arrived to our table with his coffee and wee biscuit. Just like that. Now I don’t really know him, fair to say I was star struck. Like completely. The night before Sensei had arrived to the dojo in his gi and he was in amazing form. My lungs were ready to pop out of my chest a few times and that was just in the kihon section… when we got to the kumite section, well I decided that it was time to go big or…well I wasn’t going home. I was very grateful that Sensei started to talk about the importance of being fit to fight and gave us a breather after that. We were focusing on continuous attacking for 2 minute rounds, his point being that a real fight is continuous and there is no time to rest, so to be true to training you need to be able to handle that, otherwise it won’t work on the street. I can see a lot of bag work in the future for me…

Sensei disappeared off to an appointment and it wasn’t long before we were back in the dojo which was lead by a range of different senior Senseis. After training Sensei took us to his special Karaoke bar for what was lovely lovely evening, one I will never forget. 

The entire day is something that will stay with me forever. I haven’t written a huge amount during this trip, actually that’s not true, I’ve pretty much written constantly but I’ve just not published. Time here has warped and tomorrow is the final full day, it goes so quickly here. Higaonna Sensei is taking a Kata class tonight… rumour is that it will last 3 hours. I didn’t run this morning… 

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