Friday, 19 April 2013

An Alternative to Disney


Not the first - but perhaps a better alternative?
With the ease of air travel these days, and the relatively inexpensive cost of a ticket, it's now possible for a great many karateka to journey to Okinawa. Not slow to pick up on this, one enterprising businessman in America began running 'karate tours' to the island; that he managed to talk some of Okinawa's better known sensei into working with him has surprised me: frankly, I'm bemused by their involvement.

I guess if you don't have it in you to take ownership of your karate, or feel too intimidated to step out on your own, then a high-school excursion to Okinawa is a possible alternative; after all, you get to buy the tee-shirt, grab the photo opportunities, and then gain bragging rights to bore everyone to death for years to come about the time when you were 'training in Okinawa'....

Run by karateka - for karateka
There is now a new kid on the block when it comes to "arranged" visits to Okinawa. On the surface it looks like more of the same, but the difference here is that the folks at Gateway to Okinawa, are practising karate/kobudoka, they live on the island and have set up this venture in response to the increased number of foreigners they have come across roaming the streets of Naha looking for a dojo to train in.

So...if making your own travel arrangements is too much for you, or seeking permission from a sensei to visit his dojo too difficult; if the thought of being alone in a foreign country scares you, or the idea of training without your dojo buddies all around is enough to keep you at home.....then no worries! You now have a couple of ways to avoid  all that personal growth stuff, and maintain the image of being an authentic karateka.