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Make Your Karate More Okinawan

This is a story.

A Karate Sensei was speaking to his students. "As you are all aware, Karate was developed in Okinawa. If you want to understand Karate, you should learn about the Okinawan culture. As an assignment, I want each of you to learn more about the Okinawan culture and do one thing to make your Karate more Okinawan. You have one week."

A week passed and the students returned to class, eager to show their Sensei what they had done to make their Karate more Okinawan.

The first student walked to the front of the class. She had printed her gi with bingata (beautiful Okinawan stencil dye).

The Sensei shook his head. "Will textiles make your Karate more Okinawan?"

The second student walked to the front of the class. "Before I came to class today, I ate andagi (sweet, deep fried Okinawan pastries).

The Sensei shook his head. "Will food make your Karate more Okinawan?"

The third student walked to the front of the class. "Hai sai gusuyo," he said. I am learning Uchinaguchi (the Okinawan dialect).

"Well, that is a good start," said the Sensei. "But will language make your Karate more Okinawan?"

Just then, another student rushed into the dojo, bowed apologetically, and joined the line of students.

"You're late," said the Sensei. "Did you do the assignment?"

"I'm sorry," began the student. "I took my elderly grandmother to the park today. She enjoyed it so much and the time just flew. I am sorry for being late."

The Sensei clapped his hands. "Now that is the answer!" exclaimed the Sensei. "Okinawans treasure and deeply respect their elders, particularly their grandparents. You have demonstrated this by spending time with your grandmother. Okinawans treasure the young as well. In fact, Okinawan treasure and celebrate life itself, which is viewed as a precious treasure. As such, we practice Karate to preserve and enhance life, not to take it."

What can you do to make your Karate more Okinawan? Time for some andagi!

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin