It’s the end of the year. A time to review and reflect, so I was going through the highlights of the year in my head and the last event was very special. It was my first visit to Japan last August. 5 days in Okinawa and 2 days in Tokyo. What a treat! The purpose of the trip was training, but of course there is always my secret ulterior motive for my travels, which I will reveal here…sightseeing and FUN. On that note, Okinawa had a lot to offer. The natural landscape is beautiful. The waters are amazing. I finally know what the real ‘aqua marine’ color looks like. An attempt to try fly boarding over this water was irresistible. It wasn’t successful though I tried my best to hover, it was just too hard to keep my legs straight, and that led to a thought of maybe I should try harder in conditioning the legs in training.
However, this wasn’t the case at the dojo. At first visit, I was really impressed with the practicality and the clever design of the accommodation section of the dojo. This was the second time I’ve ever been in a proper dojo. My first dojo session was in the US in 2011, and that was after almost 8 years of Karate training at home. When we started the first session here with Sensei Akamine I was rather intimidated for I had only started training in Kobudo about 6 months before, but once we got on with things and the routines were becoming familiar, it was comfortable and everyone was very helpful and accommodating. The best part was the familiarity of the training. It was satisfying to know that what we practiced at home was exactly the same as what we did here at the hombu dojo, as did all others around the world of the same style. Knowing that gives a certain comradery feeling. I like that thought. I also enjoyed trying the different weapons. Getting the feel of the texture and weight and feeling the difference of impact was a pleasant exploration.
Two members of our visiting group tested for their shodan level and successfully passed, so big congratulations to them and hopefully I will catch up with them soon and be ready for my test by next visit inshallah (that means God willing in Arabic).
Finally a massive thank you to EVERYONE who made this trip possible, assisted us in our stay, wonderful hospitality, and of course the key element of training. Thank you all my senseis. And greetings all my new friends.