18 Feb

Yabiku Moden

Yabiku Moden, Vancouver, Karate, Kobudo, Goju

Yabiku Moden was an important and prominent teacher of Kobudo on Okinawa and one of the principle teachers of Taira Shinken. Yet very little is know about his early life. So I have decided to present a brief biography of the man that first appeared in Japanese in Okinawa Dento Kobudo: Sono Rekishi to Tamashi’ by Nakamoto Masahiro – This is the original Japanese language text that has been recently translated into English. I think it provides a good overview of this important man.

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11 Feb

Karate: Self-defense for Aging?

Karate, Aging, Older Adult, Vancouver, Kobudo, BC

Higa Minoru of the Kyudokan

Most older Karateka practice for the sheer love of their art and may give little thought to the health benefits it provides. Aging is inevitable, but how we age is just as important as regular practice. Indeed, if Karate is a lifelong pursuit then we have to be in the best of health in order to continue its practice as we get older. Read More

04 Feb

Shinpa

Uechi Kanei

Uechi Kanei

When I was still living in Japan I was finally able to see a kata that I was intensely curious about (this was pre-Youtube era).  I got the chance to see the “shitei-gata” version on a video I had ordered and was both surprised and disappointed at its performance. You see I had read Konishi Yasuhiro’s account of his and Mabuni’s meeting with Uechi Kanbun in his book “Karate-do Jotatsu” (1955), and how after their encounter the kata Shinpa was formalized.

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22 Jan

Kyan Chotoku’s ‘Other’ Student

Vancouver Karate & Kobudo, Karate lessons, Vancouver, BC, Kitsilano

The late Shinjo Heitaro sensei

I have to apologize as I’ve been quite busy lately and haven’t been able to post much to the blog as I would like. I expect I’ll be quite busy until the end of March, but will post when I can. I appreciate your understanding.

In today’s post we’ll learn a little bit about Shinjo Heitaro, a little known student of Kyan Chotoku. Way back in 1988 on my first trip to Okinawa I was fortunate to attend the 25th anniversary demonstration for the founding of the Myobukan dojo of Matsuda Yoshimasa. Matsuda had been a long time student of Shinjo and in the program guide for the demonstration was a short bio about Shinjo. The following is a translation of that bio which appeared on page20. While there isn’t any video of the 25th anniversary demonstration that I could find, there is video of the 30th anniversary demonstration held in 1993 that can be found here.

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28 Dec

Tradition in the Dojo

Tradition in the dojo

Japanese etiquette and terminology are part of the tradition in the dojo. But these traditions can be problematic when they are transplanted outside of Okinawa and Japan For myself, before I moved to Japan I was very much what you would describe as a “traditionalist” – kneeling bows, heavy Japanese terminology, kamidana, etc. But after living there for an extended period, learning the language, culture and customs, I came to have almost a different view on the value of tradition. Read More