Chujo Karate Association members Karen Agnew, Liza Scullion, Laura Burns, Connor Doherty, Keith Millar, Dan Redmond, Steven Surgeoner and Jordan Millar recently travelled to Okinawa along with two members of KUNI, Michael and David Mc Conville. Planning and training for the tour had been intense for the four previous months.
Tour leader Dan Redmond had made two previous visits to the Island home of karate and on arrival at Naha City he made contact with Okinawan Karate Master Hanshi Tetsuhiro Hokama.
The following day was spent touring the sites of Okinawa, mainly monuments and shrines dedicated to legendry karate Masters who had formed styles that are now practised at World level. Hanshi Hokama was an excellent guide and most knowledgeable of the sites visited. Many people believe that Mr Miyagi in the movie The Karate Kid was a fictional character but in fact there was a real Mr Miyagi in Okinawa who formed the Goju Ryu karate style and the group visited the monument dedicated to him. The group also visited other gravesites and monuments dedicated to famous karate masters Matsumara, Itosu, Matsomora and Higashionna.
We went to visit the Budokan which is the Okinawan Martial Arts Main Hall. The group trained at the Hokama Dojo each evening that week. The style of karate practised there is Gojo Ryu and the group were able to experience the effective principles of this old Okinawan karate.
Each morning the group met in a local park near their hotel at 7am to practice kata. Sessions were taken by Dan Redmond 7th Dan, Steven Surgeoner 4th Dan and Michael Mc Conville 3rd Dan.
The group left to spend the final week in Tokyo City but before departure Dan Redmond presented an engraved plaque to Hanshi Hokama to mark the group’s visit there and to thank him for his courtesy and training.
The final week was spent in Tokyo City. It was decided that this final week would be relaxing and sightseeing without training. Places visited were the Crossroads of Asia and the Sky Tree, the Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace and Gardens, the graves of the 47 Ronin, the Tokyo Budokan Martial Arts Training Centre and Museum.
Plans are underway for another visit to the land of the Rising Sun at some future date to be decided.