|Meitetsu Yagi sensei of the Meibukan|
|Yagi sensei demonstrating with sai|
Our initial conversation went well and I was subsequently invited to call on him when I was in Okinawa. Arriving at his home, just below the Meibukan dojo, I was greeted warmly at the front door and ushered into a small back room where introductions were made and I offered Yagi sensei a few small gifts; this set the scene for what was to follow, two hours of very convivial conversation.
As a retired English language teacher, Yagi sensei had no trouble expressing himself or getting his thoughts across. He's not exactly shy either, and a number of times I was asked to turn my recorder off so he could share something he felt might be "controversial". A lot of our conversation will be published in the April 2014 edition of Blitz magazine, but significant parts of it I'm saving for a future book.
|Makoto Gibu sensei - also demonstrating with sai|
It was a hot day, but the Butokukan offered a cool oasis from the heat as well as the noise of the ever-present busy traffic. Gibu sensei welcomed Miguel and me to the dojo and we sat down to sip ice tea and chat. I like Gibu sensei a lot, he's younger than me, by about ten years, but he is a very sincere and dedicated karateka, and he reminds me of how senior (if not all) karateka should conduct themselves.
Our conversation ranged across a number of topics to do with karate and kobudo. Gibu sensei never speaks without first giving his words some thought, a trait I first observed in his father, Seikichi Gibu, when I interviewed him back in 2011. The afternoon was passing quickly and I would have liked to have stayed longer, but unfortunately all three of us had other appointments that evening; so I took a number of photographs to go with the article before Miguel and I said our good-byes and joined the early evening traffic heading back into Naha.
|Makoto Gibu sensei - Butokukan kancho|