Day 1-Gishiki 2019

I’m calling Sunday my first day in Okinawa, in truth a lot of us arrived on Saturday and despite getting to the dojo and training, the rest of the day was a blur. That welcome mix of not having slept for almost 2 days and the excitement of being back in my spiritual homeland.

So I decided to drag myself from my bed at 7am, this was after the jet lag had decided I should be awake from 4am and not just awake… but completely waiting for the time to come to start the day. Until about 20 minutes before I needed to be up, then I found the most magnificent deep sleep… the sort of sleep that brings a transient stupidity and inability to process information. Yes, before anyone says, I’m claiming it to be transient… daily evidence may suggest otherwise but that’s what I’m going with today.

I struggle to find the appropriate clothing for my first run of the trip, this time to Naminoue beach. I was running in the hope that my cankles (swollen ankles from the flight) would in fact disappear! All went swimmingly well until I got outside the apartment and realised it was 28C and I was only a few minutes past 7am! 20 minutes later and I was questioning why on earth I was running up Kokusai-Dori and thinking I was about to have a stroke I was so hot.

The flu last week did nothing to help my breathing… I had planned my approach to this trip so much and so to be so ill beforehand and to have to struggle so much… was not what I wanted at all. So actually getting to Naminoue was a huge achievement!

The plan was always to go training with Sensei Linda in the morning and after getting back and enjoying the pre-training ritual of shower-eat-snooze we were outside an amazing hall (near to the Karate Kaiken) and ready to get going again. The hall seemed to be a community centre of some sort, only Okinawa style, so beautiful and elegant. We change in a tatami room with loads of names on the walls of students who train at the venue, then upstairs for a session with Senseis Linda and Torben. Totally amazing training, and the cankles are starting to feel better!

We went back to the Kaiken to shower and then lunch at the wee cafe. You fall into an amazing cadence of training, eating, drinking and repeating the above.

The plan after training and eating was to go to the The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters. This is the second time I’ve visited here and it gets no easier. I can’t help but think how 4,000 men lived and fought in this underground nightmare. I’m always touched so deeply seeing the marks on the walls from the way the caves were heun out of the rock. Makes you think really.

Life Underground…:(

Getting back after training and snoozing was bliss, but I’d heard that there was training for the Danish group with Uehara Sensei and I couldn’t help but see if it was OK for me to join.

The hall was heaving when I arrived and I thought that it might be best if I left it to them, but was spotted and so changed and jumped in the back row! Uehara Sensei was in great form and we went from somewhat warm because of the weather to totally dripping with exertion.

After a great class I was about to head home when some of the guys from England arrived and started to prepare for the next class. I can’t help myself… I’ve just done an hour and a half training but I decide to stay…Sensei Ernie gets the class going and before long Higaonna Sensei arrives… what a night. I leave the dojo at 10pm and to say I’m happy…. such an understatement! I’ve also done a huge amount of training in the first real day of training since being ill. Lets see what the legs are like tomorrow…

What an end to a perfect day!!! I love every minute here in Okinawa! Every minute!

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