|Artist impression of the Karatedo Kaikan to be built in Tomigusuku|
Of the 50 million people in the world who like to think of themselves as karateka, how many I wonder look to Okinawa for guidance? I suspect it's a lot less than the number worldwide who look to Japan. I also suspect that the vast majority of the 50 million individuals who climb into a keiko-gi of one sort or another, don't actually look past their own instructor or organisation for anything!
With the Okinawan Budokan just a kilometre or so away from the proposed site of the new Karatedo Kaikan, I have to wonder why this new building is even being considered. But apart from that, I also wonder who will use it to claim karate for themselves? But, I hear you say, the new Kaikan will be a showcase for all Okinawan karate...right? WRONG!!!
According to Mr. David Chambers, owner and publisher of Classical Fighting Arts magazine: "...the upcoming karate photographic exhibition that will be presented at the opening of the World Karate Headquarters (Karate Do Kaikan) in Okinawa contains photos only of "The Three Styles of Okinawan Karate, Shorin-ryu, Goju-ryu, and Uechi-ryu". Additionally, at a meeting of senior karate instructors I attended in Naha last Saturday night (October 19th 2013) at which the commemorative Okinawan karate book was discussed, only Goju-ryu, Uechi-ryu, and Shorin-ryu were approved for inclusion."
If this statement by Mr Chambers is true, then it raises a number of important questions; not least of which is, what was he doing at a meeting of senior Okinawan karate instructors, he's not a karateka, he's a businessman. More important however, is the apparent attempt by some Okinawa karate instructors to control the flow of information about the various methods of karate in Okinawa. Through magazine articles, a book, and now an "official" building.....those who look to Okinawa for guidance, it seems to me, are being groomed, and I for one find that not only disappointing...but very disturbing.