Written by Shihan Lipman in 2012
My wife Masumi, Shihan Rick Cunningham and I departed Sydney on Sunday November 18 and arrived in Okinawa Monday November 19. On arrival, we contacted Sensei Hokama and drove to his Dojo to meet him at 5:30pm. As always, our meeting with Sensei was most pleasant and he took us to dinner in the evening.
Sensei was busy on Tuesday, so Rick and I decided to show Masumi some of Naha (capital of Okinawa). In the morning, we visited Shuri-Jo Castle and in the afternoon went to Tsuboya, the old pottery village. Then onto Kokusai Dori for a little shopping! The evening was spent having dinner with Shihan Shichinohe, the Kyokushin Branch Chief and his wife Vera – both long term friends of mine.
On Wednesday morning we had our first training session with Sensei, and at this time were instructed in the use of the Kama (sickle) and our first kata with this weapon. Rick and I both enjoyed this session and found the Kama an interesting weapon. In the afternoon, Sensei took us to the Thalasso Spa in Ginoza, with his friend Chikako Chibana and he presented Masumi and I with a beautiful wedding gift – a wall hanging of a dragon, done by Chikako. We went then onto Ginowan for a Soba dinner.
Thursday morning we had training with Sensei again, this time a new Bo kata – Sushi No Kon Dai. Rick and I were pleased to have yet again extended our knowledge. Friday morning saw more training and revision on the Kama kata and Sushi No Kon Dai.
We went to the restaurant of a close friend of Sensei Hokama on Friday evening. The friend was Sensei Miyazato. We enjoyed dinner and a show, which presented various demonstrations of Okinawan weapons, music and song. We were encouraged as guests to participate, which Rick and Masumi did. Following this, we were all dressed as old Okinawan Kings and Queen. We all had a turn in these outfits and Rick was quite impressed, and for a short time could actually envisage himself as Okinawan royalty, as did Masumi! I of course, accepted this with the modesty and dignity of a senior Shihan.
Saturday saw us with another free day so we went to Shureido Martial Arts shop, had lunch in the city, went to the Chinese Gardens, wandered around book shops and a little more shopping on Kokusai Dori.
In the evening we drove to the Dojo again to see the senior black belts, Shihan Arakawa and Sensei Seki, and to say our goodbyes to Sensei Hokama. Sunday morning saw us depart from Okinawa and arrive in Sydney on the 26th.
We all enjoyed our time in Okinawa. For Rick and myself it was time well spent as always with Sensei and we came away with yet more Kobudo knowledge from him. It was Masumi’s first trip to Okinawa, and it was a joy for Rick and I to be able to share these experiences with her.