Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Essence of Okinawan Karatedo



I'm often asked what the difference is between Okinawan karate, and its Japanese counterpart. It's a tough question, and not one that can be answered properly without a least some understanding of the two different cultures involved.

Behind the techniques and the physical prowess, the ranks and titles, the tournament wins and the number of followers gathered, there lies the essence of karatedo. The essence goes beyond style or affiliation, it goes deeper than ability, past academic understanding, and lasts longer than success.

The footage seen here was shot earlier this year at the Nagamine haka (tomb) in Okinawa, and features a number of Matsubayashi ryu students from New Zealand, lead by their sensei, Kevin Plaisted. When I watched it for the first time a few days ago, it reminded me of something similar I, and others I know, have done in the past. Unlike many karate videos on YouTube, the music here fits perfectly and sets the atmosphere just right.

If asked that question again, about the difference between Okinawan karate and the karate found in Japan, I might just refer them to this piece of film....and leave it at that!