March-April, 2016

Table of Contents

Dojo Events

Dojo Events
Events in March:
Belt/Stripe Test
 Monday, March 14 – Spring Break Camp 2 Begins
 Friday, March 18 – Spring Break Camp 2 Ends
 Saturday, March 19, 1-3pm – Spring Gathering Open
Sparring Event
Stolsmark Seminars
Okinawa Trip
Events in April:
 Friday, April 1, 5pm – Tournament Team Tryouts
Student of the
 Wednesday, April 20 – Deadline to Interview for
Beginning and Intermediate Belt Tests
Articles of Interest
 Sunday, April 24, 11am-1pm – Specialty Workshop:
Videos of Interest

Intro to Aromatherapy
 Friday, April 29, 4:30pm – Little Warriors Belt Test
 Saturday, April 30, 11am – Youth and Adult
Intermediate Belt Test

Events in May:
 Tuesday, May 10, 6-8:30pm – Women’s Self Defense
 Thursday, May 19, 6:30pm – Adult Beginning Belt Test
 Saturday, May 21, 9am-12pm – Inner Dojo
Tournament (classes cancelled)
 Monday, May 30 – Summer Camp Begins

Belt/Stripe Test Results

Little Warriors Beginning Belts:
Finley, Nikolas, Colt, Samantha, Aaron, Matthew, Caden, Eli
B., Elijah Y.

Youth Beginning Belts:
Alexis, Felix, Izzy S., Abby, Johnny, Ellie, Carlos, Orrin,
Alexandra, Izzy D., Jordan, Ethan, Kiera

Congratulations to Josh on earning a surprise promotion to
full yellow belt in Tournament Team class on February 26!


On February 12th, we hosted a NERF war at the dojo. We
had great participation, and everyone had a lot of fun!

Tournament Results

On Saturday, March 27th, our dojo participated in the Grand
Canyon State Winter Games, taking home several medals.
Congratulations, and great work to all of the participants!

Mac and Sam Schon participated in some additional
tournaments, winning medals in Kata and Kumite at
competitions in Palm Springs, CA and Costa Mesa, CA.

The AZ State Championships were held on March 13th, and
we had a great turnout! Congratulations to everyone who

Stolsmark Kobudo and Karate Seminars

Kyoshi Neil Stolsmark and his wife, Kyoshi Rocky
Stolsmark, visited our dojo once again on February 29 and
March 1, to share their kobudo and karate with our
students. It is always an honor to work with them, and it is
especially great to have them in our very own dojo! Many
thanks to both of them!

Okinawa Trip

Every year, Sensei Bethea travels to Okinawa to train at the
Shorinkan Honbu (Headquarters). This year, some members
of our dojo will be joining him on April 4th-15th. Be sure to
let us know if you are interested in traveling to the
homeland of karate with us!

New DVD from Sensei Poage and Sensei Noah

Sensei Poage and Sensei Noah taught an online seminar
(webinar) on February 6th, covering applications for every
sequence in Naihanchi Shodan. Click here to watch a
collection of clips from the seminar. We are currently
assembling the footage recorded during this event into a
DVD that will be available for purchase on, as
well as through the dojo. Click here to purchase online, or
look for it to be available for sale at the dojo!

Students of the Month

Karissa S.


Aaron B.

Articles of Interest
Motobu Choki and Stopping Attacks with “Blocks”
by Noah Legel
Click here to view on the web

“One cannot use continuous attacks against true karate. That is because
the blocks of true karate make it impossible for the opponent to launch a
second attack”
The above quote comes from Motobu Choki, as translated by Joe Swift, and
is one of many somewhat enigmatic statements from the famed Okinawan
fighter about the nature of karate. Some of his quotes, such as “when
punching to the face, one must thrust as if punching through to the back of the
head,” are quite straight-forward. Others, however, can be interpreted a

number of ways. Since Motobu Choki is no longer alive for us to ask him for
clarification, the best we can do is look at the written and photographic
material that he produced, the work of his contemporaries, and the work of
his students. With that in mind, we may never know for certain what he meant
in this quote about blocks, but we can piece together some reasonable
The most popular interpretation of this quote that I have seen is that Motobu
is suggesting that you block so hard that you hurt the attacker’s limb, and the
pain stops their attack. Personally, I don’t believe this was Motobu’s intent.
Certainly, it is possible to apply traditional blocks so hard that it causes a
great deal of pain, particularly to those who are not conditioned to receive
them. Those who have practiced kote-kitae (forearm forging) with partners
tougher or weaker than themselves will have experience with this. That said,
Motobu was known to be a fighter, who tested himself and his karate by
getting into real fights, and he would be well acquainted with the
physiological effects of fighting. Among these is the adrenal response, which
dulls pain. Additionally, Motobu tended to find fights in Tsuji, which was a
red-light district of bars and brothels, so he likely fought opponents who were
drunk on awamori or high on opium, from time to time. Such people would
also be numbed to the pain of a hard block. As a highly practical person with
a lot of fighting experience, I doubt he would have relied on pain, alone, to
stop an opponent.
That said, Motobu Choki does teach some techniques that attack the limbs,
but they are meant to physically disable the limb, rather than simply hurt it. In
this case, he is applying chibudi/kyusho-waza (vulnerable point techniques)
by striking to the nerve running along the inside of the bicep, which is
painful, of course, but can also temporarily deaden the arm, making it
difficult to use. This is a much more reliable method of attacking the limb, but
it still doesn’t fit Motobu’s quote about blocks, because it only deals with one
attack, and not any further attacks. So what, exactly, was he talking about?
Well, before going further, it should be noted that the “blocks” mentioned in
the English quote were probably called “uke-waza” by Motobu, which, as
I’ve discussed previously, doesn’t actually mean “block.” With that in mind,
we can explore Motobu’s statement as being about receiving methods, rather
than “blocks.” This is a much larger category, so it gives us more material to
I believe that the first sentence in the quote is the key to understanding the
second, although it is often left out of people’s considerations. Motobu isn’t
talking about someone throwing boxing-style combinations of punches–he is
talking about a “continuous attack.” A continuous attack is one that doesn’t
stop until the attacker is satisfied, and that means that it is fully committed.
This could be punching with the same hand over and over, or it could be
alternating hands, or kicking, or any number of other methods. The key is that
the attacker does not have an intended stopping point, unlike a trained striking
combination, which has an intended pattern. You can see an example of this
type of fighting in this video, where both people are continuously trying to
beat the other down. This is something that must be dealt with differently than
fighting someone who is using controlled combinations, and Motobu

addressed this, saying; “When fighting a boxer, it is better to go with his flow,
and take up a rhythm with both of your hands.”

Motobu Choki demonstrating simultaneous blocking and countering
From my perspective, there are two primary methods of stopping a
continuous attack–breaking rhythm, and evasion. What you do with those
methods can vary greatly, depending on your training. In looking at breaking
rhythm, it is fairly clear that Motobu favored strikes. He said that “real
bujutsu presses forward and blocks and counters in the same motion,” which
coincides with the old Ti concept of kobo ittai (simultaneous attack and
defense). In other words, uke-waza (receiving techniques) are not solely
defensive–they are both defensive and offensive at the same time, as can be
seen in the images of Motobu, above. If you block your attacker’s initial
attack and simultaneously land a significant strike of your own (particularly
to the head, as Motobu often suggested), you stand a very good chance of
stopping the attacker. The reason for this is two-fold. First of all, you are
interrupting a committed attack, which the attacker expects to be
overwhelming, so you have a psychological effect. Second, your attacker will
likely be moving forward, meaning that they will be moving into your strike.
As combat sports pundit, Jack Slack, often says, “creating collisions” like this
is the best way to knock someone out. By interrupting your opponent’s attack,
and creating a powerful collision, you can end the fight entirely by knocking
them out, or daze them enough to cause them to stop their continuous attack
and have to reset.

Motobu Choki demonstrating tuidi-waza from Naihanchi Shodan
Tai sabaki (body evasion) is certainly a component that can be incorporated
into breaking your opponent’s rhythm, but it isn’t strictly necessary if your
timing is good. There are many techniques where evasion is vital, however,
which can be used to deal with a continuous attack. Most of these will result
in trapping and tuidi-waza (seizing hand techniques), and will generally have
you on the outside of the opponent’s attack. By evading to the outside, you
force the attacker to have to turn to follow you, which gives you time to apply
a joint lock or throw. In the case of a joint lock, you can simply wrench it and
disable the arm, or you can use it to control the attacker, as seen in the image
of Motobu, above. You will notice in this image that Motobu is not only
applying a lock to his opponent’s right arm, but he is also trapping the left
arm so that it cannot be used to attack. This successfully stops his attacker
from continuing, at least momentarily. Even if the lock doesn’t succeed, it
should place you in a position where you have an angle from which to defend
and counter if the attacker resumes their offense. In the case of a throw, of
course, the attacker is instantly stopped (if successful), because they will have
to get up off the ground and cover the distance between you to resume their
attack. Once again, even if it isn’t successful, it should at least partially offbalance the attacker, making their strikes less effective until they recover,
giving you time to respond.
To me, these are the ideal methods of fulfilling Motobu Choki’s statement
about “blocks.” Of course, I truly have no way of knowing if I’m right, so this
is just my personal interpretation. Perhaps someone who has trained with one
of his students would be able to shed more light on it. Regardless, whether it
was his intention or not, I believe that these are concepts that are integral to
karate, and should be studied thoroughly. Too often, karateka practice against
just single attacks, or attacks that are carefully choreographed. If we want to

be effective, we must train for the chaos of reality, and returning to the roots
of Ti will help us to do this, if we know where to look.

Health Apps Every Parent Should Know
Click here to view on the web

For parents, their children's health is a constant concern. But today's
busy parents don't want to wait in a sick room at the doctor's office or
spend hours Googling symptoms. So, we've gathered a list of the latest
and greatest health apps that you need to know about right now.
Who do you trust more for advice when your little one is sick? Your
mom and mom friends, or your child's doctor? What if you could ask
both at once? That is the premise behind Moms1stDoctors2nd, a website
that offers free medical information from moms, who are also doctors.
"Moms plus Doctors equal providers who are compassionate, nurturing
and accomplished," said the site's founder, Mark Friend, in a press
release. Users can access info on local providers, ask questions and even
find out who a mom doc's own favorite doctor is.
Doctor On Demand
Have you ever wished seeing your doctor was as easy as pushing a
button? Doctor On Demand makes instant access to health care a reality.
Patients can download the app to their smartphone, tablet or desktop
computer and instantly Video Visit with a board-certified physician for
pediatric, psychological, lactation needs and more from home. No
appointments, and no dragging a sick child to the pediatrician. The first
Video Visit is free, and after that, the cost is $40. Some insurance
providers even cover the fee.
5-2-1-0 Kids
From the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit comes 5-2-1-0 Kids, a
free app geared toward helping kids ages 4-9 be healthier in daily life.
The app, which is available for Android and IOS devices, is a collection
of four mini-games that teaches kids, through fun games and activities,
about making healthy food choices and being more active. For instance,
kids earn points for catching healthy foods on their plates and
completing non-screen time activities, like drawing a picture. Don't
worry; parents can monitor kids' screen time. "Our hope is that the app
will encourage quality family time. When parents are involved, it really
helps reinforce healthy behavior," said Henry Ford pediatrician Stacy
Leatherwood, MD.

Baby Bundle
Designed with new parents in mind, Baby Bundle is a one-stop
interactive mobile app with multiple-child functionality. The
application is available for iPad and iPhone and was created by
nationally renowned parenting expert, mom-of-three, and boardcertified pediatrician Jennifer Trachtenberg, MD, aka Dr. Jen. It features
monitoring tools, a vaccination and check-up planner, and a sharable
Stream of Life photo journal that documents the first two years of a
child's life. Parents can also utilize Baby Bundle's baby monitor and get
advice from, and ask questions to, a medical expert.
30Second Mom
Sometimes all the advice and info out there can be overwhelming. Enter
30SecondMom, an app that offers "snackable" health content for busy
moms to read, view and share in just 30 seconds. Creator Elisa All
partnered with Loyola University Health System to produce health tips
on topics like seasonal illnesses, vaccines, self-care tips and more. The
content, authored by five of Loyola's leading doctors who are also
moms, is delivered daily to user's mobile devices, and it's free on iPhone
and Android.
Kurbo offers free and subscription-based mobile weight loss and health
coaching for kids and teens. This digital adaptation of the Stanford
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital pediatric obesity program combines
a food and activity tracker with personalized coaching via text and
weekly phone calls or video chats. Kurbo follows the Traffic Light
approach—red, yellow and green foods—to help kids reduce their BMI
(90 percent of kids lose weight or reduce their BMI within three
months!), improve self-esteem and establish lifelong healthy habits.
This brand new app is so genius you'll wonder how you got along
without it! TempTraq is a wireless, wearable thermometer patch that
takes the pain and fear out of taking your child's temperature. Your
little one can even wear it overnight. Optimized for Bluetooth, the
thermometer sends readings to your mobile device so you can be
alerted if your child hits a "dangerous" temperature zone, which is
preset by you. No more waking a child to get a reading! You can even
monitor multiple children at once. The device, which shows a child's
temperature through easy-to-read color coded readings, is $24.99 and
includes a free downloadable app for Apple or Android.

Develop Functional Strength for your Martial Art with
Hard-Style Kettlebell Training
By Peter Lueders on
Click here to view on the web

The phrase “hard-style kettlebells” describes a comprehensive
resistance-training program that’s guaranteed to enhance your martial
arts ability. How so? It will bolster your grip and your strength at odd
angles. It will improve your burst/rest cardiovascular conditioning.
And it will remove the internal imbalances brought on by the onesided nature of martial arts training, which can lead to mystery
injuries such as hurting your back while bending down to tie your
Kettlebell training also develops “functional strength.” The term refers
to strength that comes from supplemental training but that directly
relates to your sport of choice. If you’re reading this Web post, your
sport of choice is probably a martial art — perhaps Brazilian jiu-jitsu,
kali or muay Thai. Although they’re ostensibly similar, they differ in
their approach to combat. Because of those differences, a routine
designed to facilitate performance in one art by developing specific
physical attributes isn’t the same as a routine designed for another art.
Or is it?
Consider Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It requires a strong grip for holding the
collar and sleeve of your opponent’s gi. Kali is weapons-based and,
therefore, the polar opposite of grappling, but its practitioners also
need grip strength to hold sticks and knives securely. Likewise, hip
strength and flexibility are important whether you’re on your back
grappling or on your feet sending high-power muay Thai kicks down
Despite the vastly different fighting methods these arts use, there are
many overlapping areas when it comes to attribute development. It’s
in those areas that kettlebell training shines.

Benefits of the Bell
Martial arts require a type of physical output called “power
endurance.” It means you need to deliver multiple bursts of energy
broken up by short rest periods, all for a sustained but not marathonlength time. Sub-10-minute rounds in MMA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing
and kickboxing fit the power-endurance profile. Again, this type of
physical output is perfectly matched to the qualities the kettlebell

One of the biggest benefits of the kettlebell is that all you need to get
started is one bell and a 10-foot-by-10-foot training area. Just make
sure your workout takes place in an area where dropping the weight
won’t do any damage. Common solutions include training on mats or
outside on grass or sand.
Two Variations
Kettlebell exercises can be divided into two categories: ballistics and
grinds. A ballistic mimics the explosiveness of Olympic lifting. It uses
a fast squat-to-standing motion accompanied by hard-hitting hip
action to generate the inertia necessary to move the bell from point A
to point B. When done with explosiveness, it will challenge your
cardiovascular conditioning within seconds.
A grind, on the other hand, uses pure strength rather than momentum
to move the kettlebell to its destination, often overhead. It requires
you to create maximum stability and range of motion, thus increasing
both flexibility and strength.
Why Do It: To increase stabilization and balance in the muscles of
your legs.

Step by Step: Stand with the bell in front of one foot. Lift your other
foot off the ground and hold it behind you with your leg straight.
Lower your body, bending the knee of your supporting leg, then grasp
the kettlebell with your hand. Rise by straightening your bent leg with
the kettlebell in hand. Lower your body again and touch the bell
lightly to the ground. Return to a standing position.
Reps: 10 times on each leg.
Caution: When lowering your body to reach the kettlebell, maintain a
flat back and keep your chest square to the ground. Avoid rounding
your back and dipping your shoulder. If you cannot get low enough
with good form, place the kettlebell on a sturdy box so it’s within
reach. Lock your supporting leg at the top of each rep.
Why Do It: To open your hip flexors and abdominals while enhancing
stability and to increase the range of motion in your shoulder.
Step by Step: Rack the kettlebell on your right side. (That entails lifting
it until it’s near your shoulder.) Bend your knees and then extend
them to generate upward momentum, which helps you get the

kettlebell overhead. Lock your elbow and wrist straight, then pull
your shoulder down into its socket. Step forward with your left foot,
keeping the kettlebell in the overhead lockout. Maintain an upright
orientation with your torso as you lower your right knee. If you touch
the ground with your knee, do so gently. Keeping the overhead
lockout, move your right foot parallel to your left foot, then step
forward with your right foot to perform the lunge.
Reps: 10 times on each leg.
Caution: Don’t have your feet too much in line because it will increase
the difficulty of maintaining your balance. Don’t let your forward
knee push past your ankle.
Notes: Holding the kettlebell overhead with your elbow and wrist
locked and your shoulder pulled down into the socket is a skill you
developed with the Turkish Get Up.

Maai – Understanding Timing and Distance in Martial Arts
By Joel Reeves
Click here to view on the web

In martial arts the concept of maai is often explained a little like
‘controlling the striking distance’ in relation to two opponents. But it
means so much more than this.
Maai is timing, and it is an essential practice not only in martial arts
but in order to function as a complete human being too. You see,
timing means knowing when, and when not, to respond to the
external environment. In an aggressive situation it can mean knowing
when to stop using words, or what it means when the other reaches
this point first. As a teacher it means speaking at a time when you
know the student will be listening (not just hearing). In the workplace
we can draw examples too.
Ma means distance and Ai is harmony, union, coordination. So the
kanji used to describe maai more accurately implies a harmony of you
and your surroundings rather than the perception of ‘controlling’ the
range between you and an opponent. In truth you can’t control the
distance anyway because you can only control your own actions and
not those of others, although they can certainly be influenced.
‘Coordination and harmony with your surroundings’ is a much better
way to honestly describe the concept of maai.
Now in the past we weren’t really taught ‘how to develop a sense of
maai’, in fact I think I learnt it more through shiatsu than karate. In the
dojo a teacher would just say ‘this is maai’ and motioned to the

distance between us. They might then imply that the ‘time’ it takes to
hit the opponent is ‘maai’. But that isn’t maai at all.
Developing maai
Let me try to explain how I see maai in a combative sense and ‘how’ I
went about developing it as a practical skill.
First imagine standing in a calm, tranquil lake. Then drop a pebble
into it.
This is how I enter an engagement.
You see, from the outset, matching an opponent, I sort of ‘go inside
myself’ and, in a way, ‘map’ the image of the calm pond or lake upon
the immediate environment. It was never easy to do this at first, after
all it is an applied meditative ability, but with practise and training it
became easier. In the dojo, it should be simple enough for you to
explore, but outside, with the ‘unknowns’, it’s more challenging.
As an exercise you can experiment for yourself. The entire
environment around you and your partner, or partners, are all in this
lake. If you are in a dojo then the walls might be the shore – although
when you get practised at this, even walls don’t really form the
physical barrier they first appear to be. I used to live in a block of
apartments and could instantly ‘sense’ tension in neighbour’s flats
before they got to the slamming doors and shouting stage.
Anyway, think what happens when the pebble is dropped into the
water. It causes ripples to expand outwards to the shore. In this
analogy the pebble becomes the opponent and their ripples the
resonance of their intent. It’s not easy to explain but perhaps you get
some idea.
So when you are standing in the lake and there is an opponent too,
(let’s say he is in front) you are both breathing and that causes some
ripples to begin with. Then there is your pulse and heart-rate; subtle
but perceptible nonetheless. There might be a sense of rhythm or
perpetual movement, this too will add to the ripples and their
intensity. On a far more subtle level there is thought. Thought and
emotion can be perceived too. Just think of a time when you’ve
walked into a room of people and instantly felt something is up, or can
tell the mood of the place straight away. Combat can be just like this.
So now, you have ripples in your lake and you are emitting ripples
too. When the intent becomes strongly focussed the ripples increase in
speed and and the gaps between them less; they have vibration.
Tension builds and, with perception, you can gain a sense of when the

opponent is about to attack. All sumo matches start this way, watch
With an understanding of maai you can begin to develop the way in
which you will forestall, intercept or receive an opponent’s attack.
Done right you can do this with posturing and advancing alone to
secure victory without fighting.
At the risk of sounding cliche you have to ‘become one’ with your
environment – then knowing when or when not to attack is relatively
simple enough.
“Distancing and posture dictate the outcome of the engagement.”
- Bubishi
Practise meditating and ‘mapping’ the calm lake onto your immediate
environment and then take it into the dojo to develop further.
Okinawa: One Island and the Three Cultures that Call Her Home
An Article from
Click here to view on the web
I might not have noticed the three distinct cultures of Okinawa prior
to living in Taos—I might have simply assumed the Okinawans were
Japanese, when in fact they are no more Japanese than Native
Americans in Taos with Spanish Christian names are necessarily
Hispanic. The three cultures come together in ways that are both
reminiscent and dissimilar to Taos.
The Okinawans are descendant from a distinct Asian people called the
Ryukyu, which were first recognized by the Chinese in the 6th
century. They carry the same ancestry as some Chinese and Taiwanese
families, but they are distinct in both appearance and tradition. Some
of the earliest Ryukyu people continued on their journeys to the
eastern and northernmost islands to settle Japan. Okinawa was
captured in the 17th century by Satsuma-han of the Japanese
mainland, and was formally integrated into the Japanese kingdom
upon the kidnapping of the last Okinawan king in 1871. The two
languages—the Uchinaguchi of Okinawa and Japanese—are related,
but distinct. Okinawa is considered subject to, and their language
relegated to being deemed a dialect of, Japanese. The Ryukyu
descendants have maintained their own religion, which is a blend of
Shintoan ancestor worship, Buddhist deity worship and pure
animistic shamanism. They have distinct foods that are neither
Chinese nor Japanese, but rather some blend of the two. Pork, seafood,
soba noodles and Awamori—a rice wine similar to but quite distinct
from Sake (through the use of herbal tonics within it)—are all
common. The Okinawans are known for their black evaporated salt as

well as their dark-brown sugars made from sugar cane raised on the
island. Rice is not grown here, at least not on a mass scale.
It is clearly evident that the Japanese have had a great influence on the
Okinawans, through the use of the common language (Okinawan
dialect was banned in practice until last century, much like the Native
Americans were banned from speaking their native tongues); the most
ancient forms of Okinawan homes are very similar to Japanese
wooden houses; and the Okinawans borrow cultural traditions like
taking shoes off when entering a house or business. Japanese influence
is also clearly demonstrated by the Okinawan’s reputation of having
studious, harmonious and industrious natures. Japanese tourists are
plentiful, as they reach into the most ancient of their past to see where
they came from.
The Okinawans are quick to let you know they are Japanese only by
happenstance, and their rich cultural heritage confirms this. Vast
castle ruins of their own feudal lords, a unique style of kimono, and
dissimilar dance and music forms clearly illustrate the differences
between the Ryukyuan and Japanese cultures. The Okinawans also
modified the traditional wooden house forms to use concrete, bars
over windows, and glued-on tile roofs to deal with their common
typhoons. The architecture that results is industrial, but also
decorated, resulting in a marriage of forms that appears both Prairiestyle and Art Deco at once. The use of Shisa, or guardian lion-dogs,
borders on a requirement and nearly every business and home is
decorated with them. The Okinawans also reserve the most sacred
spots of land for their plentiful necropoli and there are entire weeks of
festivals where the family spends the week at the tomb of their
forebears. The Okinawans are known as being very non-Japanese in
that they are easy-going, talkative and positive.
After World War II, the United States captured Okinawa and kept part
of her for use by 13 Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force bases. In the
heavily inhabited central section of the island, where the Americans
are ever present—with lines of American women pushing endless
streams of baby carriages—the island is wrought with overcrowding
and the stress of a military force that is dominant. Few non-natives
attempt to learn the language(s) and others—without their own
families for years on end—act out their frustrations on each other,
giving the Americans here the challenging situation of being seen as
the “second oppressors.” Protests of the bases by the Okinawans are
common. Even with these challenges, the Americans that do embrace
the Okinawan experience find a rich heritage and a rich people who
are more than willing to share it. The American presence very likely
has contributed to Karate-do—a martial art that resulted from the
banning of Okinawans possessing arms so they could not resist the
Japanese—that was formed of the merging of Kung Fu from China

and purely Okinawan movement practices. It has become the most
popular martial art practiced in the world. This tiny string of islands,
56 miles long and 26 miles wide, has had a massive emotional impact
on all the Americans who have come to call it home, even for a time.
The abundant resources provided by both Japanese and American
tourists have helped the Okinawans restore many of their ancient
temples and castles that were destroyed in the war. Entire industries
have risen to meet the tourism prospects, with four ancient Ryukyu
themed parks on the island as well as various orchards and pottery
villages that find ways of surviving on tourism dollars.
Somehow in the milieu, there is a peacefulness about this place and
her cultures trying to manage the situation of living together. The
Okinawan people are kind and gentle. If one even attempts to speak
Japanese, and especially if attempting Uchinaguchi itself, the
Okinawan will smile and help you say the right words in the right
way, then pat you on the arm or back when you get it right, finally.
When asking for directions, they will take your hand and walk you to
where you want to go. A glimpse into the garden, if you are caught
peeking, will result in a tiny little Okinawan rushing out to take your
hand and walk you through the hand-crafted garden shrines that
Okinawans are proud to create in their gardens. It’s as if each home
needs a place for the god(s) to rest, so they create amazing little worlds
of mountains, bonsai as big as houses, waterfalls and koi ponds, and
beautiful plants and flowers for the gods to be surrounded and
entertained with. They are proud of their culture, their religion, their
history, and as long as you are respectful, take off your shoes before
entering, and are polite, they will try and teach you what they know,
even if it’s in Japanese. They assume some of the lesson will stick, even
if you can’t actually understand what they are saying.
On a recent trip to an Okinawan beach—which are quite distinct from
the vast sprawling sands of the American-favored beaches in that they
are rich with foliage, caves and rock outcrops—a group of four little
Okinawan ladies was walking the hiking trails behind me. I found
myself singing a song of offering to the East China Sea from a beach
cave and they waited ’til I finished to come in. As I turned around to
pass them and leave to do more hiking, I realized they were at an altar
at a tiny little cave going down into the earth behind me, making
offerings, as it is the women of this island who are the priests and
family ministers. I suppose I had made an offering too, in my song.
They smiled at me, and I left them to do their work. A little later,
further up the path, as I stopped to rest under a beautiful rock outcrop
and attempt to write a haiku, they caught up to me and went about
their chatting and observations. One pretended to push a great rock
over, as if it were her intent to steal it for her own celestial garden.
They proceeded to explain to me—in Japanese that I do not

understand, supplemented by gestures and my own personal
background that allowed me to comprehend—what a scholar’s rock
was for: a place of respite, to mentally project oneself into while
meditating, and a place for the gods to reside. Being a bit of a
Asiaphile, I knew what the stones are used for within the garden, but
it was them reaching out to me—for no other reason than sensing I
was interested and wanting to participate in their culture—that struck
me. Tears formed and I bowed repeatedly in gratitude to them once
they finished the teaching. I couldn’t help but be honored that they
decided to share themselves and their traditions with me. And by
doing so, they guaranteed a little piece of their culture would carry on.
For after all, now I get to share the story with you—and it is in you
now too.

Videos of Interest
Waza Wednesday 2/17/16 by Sensei Poage and Sensei

Sai Dai Ni by Nakazato Shugoro Sensei

Handgun Retention and Self Defense Drills for Firearms
Carriers by Sensei Poage

Pinan Sandan Flow Drill by Iain Abernethy

Pinan Shodan Bunkai by Chris Denwood

Training Kata Techniques with Resistance Bands by
Shinsokai Dojo

Stability Ball Drills and Covering Distance from Karate

Stress Awareness Month Segment from ABC15, featuring
Miss Tiffany’s Back Rub Company