April 13, 2010
It's my last night in Naha and a misty rain has set in over the city. I've been here 10 nights, not counting an airline eternity before and one awaiting tomorrow. As chance would have it, the trip's timing wasn't the best. The Massey Upper Big Branch Mine disaster happened shortly after I arrived, leaving me feeling torn.
Yet the trip has delivered all I hoped. I came to drink from the fountain of real karate. I've dreamed of this for most of my life and trained hard for it the last couple of months as it became a reality.
I wanted to sample the authentic styles of Goju, Shorin, Uechi and Isshin ryu. I wanted to see and learn katas uncontaminated by American meatball martial arts. I wanted to learn the proper forms of the tanren or forging katas of Shuri and Naha te, naihanchi and sanchin respectively, all of which happened. I even had the chance to train a couple of times in the private dojo of Hanshi Minoru Higa with only a handful of other students.
I also had the privilge of participating in this karate seminar with many thoughtful people as devoted to the art as I am. Most of us stayed a little beyond the end of the seminar. Now people leave one by one or in small groups. Just like in real life.
These 10 or so days have been an eon in some ways, a milestone I'll never forget. It's been a kind of homecoming as this was where my path in life began long before I was born. I hope to come back someday, but some of it is coming home with me.