Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Jundokan

Karateka from around the world gathered in the Jundokan
My visits to the Jundokan these past twenty-years and more usually slip by unnoticed by most of the dojo members. Unlike other dojo, the Jundokan has an open door policy that takes into account the various working schedules of its members, and so it's quite possible for a number of weeks to pass and not meet someone who has been training in the dojo every day: it all depends on the schedule you keep.

This visit was different because of the duel memorial celebrations taking place, so on this trip it really didn't matter what time I went to the dojo, it was always full. After a "packed" start people began to gravitate towards training either in the afternoon or the evening, with a few die-hards making the most of their time in Okinawa by spending several hours in the dojo each day.....good for them!

The same open-door policy used to be extended to non-members from overseas who were visiting the island, but due to a number of recent abuses by visiting gaigin (foreigners) it is no longer possible for foreigners to visit the Jundokan without first gaining a recommendation from a shibucho (branch head): no recommendation, no training!

I'll finish this ramble by thanking all those "new" friends I had the pleasure of sharing the dojo floor with. And, to the tiny number who clearly suffered from delusions of grandeur, no doubt brought on by being a big fish in their local pond back home, thanks for the reminder to cultivate my humility with as much vigour as I do my technique; perhaps if you kept your feet on the ground and your head out of the clouds you may find your karate actually improves.