Visitors from Canada

Published on November 6, 2013 by

A Trip to the Mecca of Martial Arts

by Louis Belleville

Leaving Vancouver International Airport late that night, I was filled with anticipation not only at the prospect of a trip to the home of Kobudō, but also at the thought of meeting the Sōke, and the members of the Shimbukan organization at the Hombu dojo. We were in somewhat of a special position, as new members of the organization, and we felt responsible for giving a good first impression. So, along with the excitement and anticipation of going to Okinawa, came the nervousness of wanting to impress, and the suspense of soon meeting the members at the Hombu dojo.

Some twenty hours later, we were delighted by the atmosphere at Akamine Sensei's magnificent dojo. That day, and throughout our entire stay, the Shihans present there, Kinjo Sensei, Chinen Sensei, Penny Sensei, and Dell Sensei, were very helpful, and supportive, not only during our training sessions, but also outside of them. They devoted their time to helping us, by organizing extra training session, and greatly helped our efforts in Kobudō. We also have to thank Penny Sensei for taking us to the Pineapple Park, Butterfly Garden, and the Churaumi aquarium. It was quite a blast! As to Akamine Sensei, he was everything one can expect from a sensei, and more; very passionate and dedicated to the art, and immensely knowledgeable. Every question we asked about any point of any technique, was met with great enthusiasm, and clearly resolved along with its ramifications. His proficiency in English was also greatly encouraging, especially considering my abysmal Japanese.

Every day of our two week stay in Okinawa, was filled with excitement, sightseeing by day, and training by night, interspersed with convivial meals with members of the dojo, and long wallet-lightening trips to Shureido. We visited most of the important tourist destinations, such as Shuri Castle, Habu Park, and the Nakamura House, and learned a lot about Kobudō from our many training sessions, and found some time to relax in between all that. Everything was hectic, and memorable during our entire time there.

We are very thankful to everyone we met in Okinawa for the great experience we were provided there, as well as to William, our sensei in Vancouver for helping organize this great trip. We came to learn more about Kobudō, and left knowing much more about it, along with a wealth of other experiences, varying from the taste of goya chanpuru, to the majestic beauty of the whale sharks, and knowledge of the dedication and kindness of everyone at the Hombu dojo.

Despite doing so much in Okinawa, there was still more that we didn't do; we somehow succeeded in not spending any time on its renowned beaches, or training at the Budōkan, and, of course, there always is so much more to learn about Kobudō.  All that will have to be done next time, on another trip.

Louis and Bob in Heiwa Dori

Garson tried Squid Ink Soup

After Grading

With Akamine Sensei

Hombu Group Photo

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