Please check out this incredible playlist that features a series of short interviews with some of Okinawa's most respected karate masters...
These genuinely heart-warming interviews have been beautifully produced and serve to create a very valuable record of 16 teachers who not only have direct links to the pioneering masters of our past, but who have also contributed greatly to karate's continual evolution and inspired so many to find passion in this incredible art.
I must admit, a number of these interviews brought a tear to my eye. Especially so with respect to Higa Minoru Hanshi, a master with whom I feel a huge sense of gratitude towards for giving me the opportunity to become part of such an historic dojo as Kyudokan. As a regular traveller to Okinawa and as someone who due to current restrictions is dearly missing their annual 'Naha fix', I found these videos to capture beautifully, the incredible spirit interwoven within the people, the karate and indeed, the very fabric of the Island.
A while ago, I read a comment on social media from an individual stating his view that those westerners who spend the money to travel all the way to Okinawa for karate training are crazy, as there are many better western teachers much closer to home and indeed, on their own doorstep. Whilst I agree that the West has some first-class exponents of karate, who specialise in almost every context you'd want to practice under, I think that this is not the only reason why many karate-ka choose to visit (and return) to Okinawa. Of course the training is fantastic, but for me it is also a combination of the people, the places, the atmosphere, the food, the history, the camaraderie, the culture and even the daily pace of life you're exposed to, which all come together to profoundly impact your karate. Every part of it impacts your karate!
I had been studying karate seriously for over 20 years before I first travelled to Okinawa and that initial trip altered my view of the art almost entirely. It's not even something I can accurately put my finger on, but there is something very special about Okinawa that has a lasting effect. It's almost like a little piece of the island comes back home with you..it becomes part of you. I've never experienced that feeling anywhere else in the World.
There's a famous saying that 'a true expert of karate reveals it in every action'. In my opinion, this is less about whether you egotistically consider yourself to be an 'expert' and more about whether that wonderful aspect of the art...the 'microcosm of life' if you like...has naturally become an integral part of your existence. Thus, the spirit of karate may be found in everything you do and as such, everything you do may be enriched by the spirit of your karate.
These video interviews are for me, a beautiful representation of karate as a microcosm of life and I hope that the collection will be further added to in the near future.
Please watch and enjoy 🙏😊