|John with Akamine sensei, at the Shimbukan dojo, Okinawa - 2012|
When I'm in Okinawa, I split my training time between karate at the Jundokan dojo in Azato, and kobudo at the Shimbukan dojo in Tomigusuku. At first the two different practises felt just like that....different! But as the years role by I'm beginning to grasp a little feeling for kobudo, and as that feeling grows, so I have begun to note the similarities that exist between karate and kobudo.
I've reached a point where I can't imagine not practising kobudo as part of my ongoing engagement with the martial culture of Okinawa. This morning, I spent a wonderful two hours training with a student; we reviewed all six kobudo kata that we practise, spent time on bo, nunchaku, and sai kihon, and finished the training with a series of bo/sai kumite drills.
Later, after I'd showered and began to get ready for the day, I found my mind was still going over the morning training: I also found I was still smiling.