Friday, 6 June 2014

Catching up with the Tamster..!!!

Hokama sensei's Kenshikai hombu dojo, Okinawa 2004
One of the things I'm most impressed by when I meet karateka, is the drive that some have to "make things happen". Excuses are plenty, reasons are few, many say they want to, but not so many do. Ha...I just made that up! Ok, so where was I...oh yes....people who get off their backside and make things happen.

For many years now, each time I'm in Okinawa, I travel over to Nishihara and visit with Hokama sensei. Quite apart from his infectious enthusiasm for karate and kobudo, he's an absolute gold mine of information regarding the history, and social and historical milieu of karate on the island, and even though I'm not sure why, he seems to like me. During one such visit, back in 2004, I met a young woman from Canada who was living at the dojo and training every day with Hokama sensei; Tammy was taking time out to immerse herself in karate before returning home to begin University and gain a degree in teaching.

Ten years on....
After the Montreal seminar in Quebec, I travelled west to Ontario and the small town of Innisfil, eighty kilometres north of Toronto. As a guest of Peter St-Onge sensei, I lead the morning and afternoon training at his private home dojo, and in the evening, at his public dojo in the neighbouring town of Barrie. A big highlight for me that evening was the opportunity to meet with Tammy again and to catch-up on events in her life. Emails and cards over the years have kept us in touch, but there is nothing quite like being in somebodies company.

It was an hour long drive on the highway for Tammy to get to training in Barrie, so I was very happy to see her again. These days she is settled into academic life, working at what she loves to do, and engaged to be married later this year, I couldn't have been more happy for her. On our first meeting I was impressed by the fact she was in Okinawa on her own, pursuing her karate in a way that many karateka today seem too timid to try; now, I was impressed that she was still smiling at my jokes.....

I hope it's not another ten years before we share some more training....and maybe a few less jokes!