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TMA UnderGround >> Karate in Japan


12/26/04 10:16 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 26-Dec-04
Member Since: 05/20/2004
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While I was in the Marines I spent quite alot of time in both mainland Japan and Okinawa. My cousin (who is a Okinawan Karate teacher in Georgia) was extremely excited when I was sent there, and asked me to check out the Okinawa karate seen. In Okinawa (besides the karate classes they offered on base for kids) I could not find any karate schools. Now if you've been to Okinawa then you now that it is a very small island. I was however able to find some judo schools. When I went there and talked to one of the instructors (which was hard with his lack of Englsih and my lack of Japanese) he basically said that Okinawa Karate is pretty much a thing of the past. Shortly after, I was deployed to Mount Fuji and I had an oppurtunity to go to Toyko. I pretty much ended up with the same results as I did in Okinawa. I found alot of Judo schools and some submisson grappling but no karate. I actually met an Indian dude in Toyko who told me that he believed that traditonal karate is practiced more in the US than it is in todays Japan. He told me that Japan as a whole is pretty much interested in grappling and MMA type sports. I was very surprised by this and when I told my cousin he was extremely dissapointed. Has anyone ever ran into this? Has anyone ever been to Japan?
12/26/04 10:22 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 26-Dec-04
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ttt
12/27/04 12:33 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 27-Dec-04
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Nobody has anything to say?
12/27/04 1:54 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 27-Dec-04
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Hi Yah
12/28/04 12:03 AM
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Paul Carroll
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Edited: 28-Dec-04
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I live in Tokyo. There is pretty much at least one karate dojo per every train station in Tokyo. They are EVERYWHERE. A little hard to find sometimes, but there is plenty of dojos about the place.
12/28/04 9:04 AM
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damaebushi
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Edited: 28-Dec-04
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The dojos on Okinawa are also not easy to find, but they are there. Most are very small and not necessarily in the highest traffic areas, but are a bit off the beaten path and no huge signs, etc. I do believe that there are perhaps not as many as there used to be, but they are still there. Dojos in Okinawa are often very low key, and many of the old, traditional sensei's only teach a few people at a time. It is a lot different than in this country. Respectfully: Fred
12/28/04 5:18 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 28-Dec-04
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Hmmm interesting, thanks for the reply guys.
12/28/04 11:09 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 28-Dec-04 11:15 PM
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Hey Fred were you ever stationed in Oki? If so, what base?
12/29/04 8:51 AM
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damaebushi
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Edited: 29-Dec-04
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I was stationed at Camp Hansen from November 73 through November 74. Spent 4 months on float during that time based out of the Phillipines. Lots has changed on Okinawa since then. I did not start going back again until 96 and could not believe the changes. I still go back whenever I can, but it has been a while, again, due to a cash flow that has turned into a trickle. We were actually in the air and almost home from Okinawa on 9/11. Now that was a long trip home. Respectfully: Fred
12/29/04 8:52 AM
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damaebushi
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Edited: 29-Dec-04
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Come to think of it, Eizo Shimabukuro's dojo was very close to the main gate of Camp Hansen in Kin. Respectfully: Fred
12/29/04 10:35 AM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 29-Dec-04
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I was Hansen a couple of years ago. I remember good old "Kinville".
12/29/04 6:37 PM
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DaRealPorkChop
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Edited: 29-Dec-04
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I grew up on Oki, went to high school there. I did kung fu while I was there, but hung out with a bunch of karate folk. There was a small little dojo out Gate 4 or 5 Kadena (Chatan, possibly sunabe I believe). There was also that 2nd story gym off of errr 58 (the "highway" that goes the length of the island) just outside of Kadena Gate 1. If those don't work for you, there's a bunch of spots in Naha. There's an old f@rt judo guy (who's like sickly good) at Risner Athletic Center on Kadena. There's Fusei Kiisei, who I think teaches near Kadena; but I ain't a huge fan of him or his Shorin Ryu. Gordie Brayette (sp?) is a big Uechi Ryu (Pan Gai Noon) who I used to see on Kadena all the time. He's legit fo sho, but he also knows everyone and can get you set up. I think the guy he trained with was Take Miyagi (that might be 1 word for his last name). Kathy Baxter-Lukolopolous was the Goju Ryu queen when I still lived there. If yer uncomfortable training with her, she could at least steer u in the right direction as well. Don Hayhurst teaches on Kadena- i believe in the annex to Risner. He's another good guy who can give you the hook up. Yeah, you may have to take a trip down to kadena to seek out some of these names; but at least one of 'em should be able to get you hooked up with someone more local. If you're only looking to go straight "local national"; the Hokama family of southern Okinawa was the big name in Goju. Just make sure you don't forget the "H" on "Hokama". In answer to your other question- no, i don't think traditional okinawan karate is dead in okinawa. I think okinawa 'te, and okinawan kenpo were 2 styles i didn't know anybody in; but the others I knew a ton of people. Just from my experience, I would go with Uechi Ryu/Pan Gai Noon. Those guys were psychotic, but real tough and could usually fight. The Goju guys were a Karate-cized version of Chinese Ngor Chor Kuen (5 ancestor fist); so a bit more form focused. Seido(kai)kan was also another big one. I think that's what Hayhurst may have been. They usually had pretty good fighters, due to a close relationship between the on-base and off-base schools. If all else fails, Mas Oyama's Kyokushin(kai) is also still kicking- with a presence in Okinawa as well as mainland. Their bareknuckle full contact (no head shots) events were televised. All in all I'm surprised you didn't find anything. Even reading the Okinawa Times (or whatever that magazine-like local paper was) you would've seen at least one ad a year for some big on-base karate tournament at Kadena, Foster, Butler, or Futenma. For some of the off-base local national tournaments, they'd put up posters all over the place from Naha to Nago. Man I've wanted to go back for forever.... Working for the gov't right now hoping i can get transferred over there, but it's been 3 years here so far and ain't holding my breath. Good luck
1/4/05 8:22 AM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 04-Jan-05
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"Dont they have a phone book over there" Actually I never looked for a phone book cause I figured it would be in Japanese.
1/4/05 10:17 AM
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Golden Arm
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Edited: 04-Jan-05
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"If all else fails, Mas Oyama's Kyokushin(kai) is also still kicking- with a presence in Okinawa as well as mainland. Their bareknuckle full contact (no head shots) events were televised." I trained Kyokushin over ther with Yasuhiro Shichinohe, who at the time was the Okinawa branch chief of the KyokushinKai. He had classes on Camp Foster (in the karate room, after Angi Uezu finished his Isshinryu class), and a dojo in Naha. Hope this helps.
1/5/05 3:07 PM
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kroddy_man
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Edited: 05-Jan-05
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That was an old Ashihara school on 58. Don't think it is there anymore though... -km
1/5/05 10:44 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 05-Jan-05
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Did all you guys that visited Okinawa visit for vacation or were you in thes service?
1/5/05 11:19 PM
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damaebushi
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Edited: 05-Jan-05
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Both.
1/6/05 8:03 PM
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Golden Arm
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Edited: 06-Jan-05
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military
1/7/05 10:52 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 07-Jan-05
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Bring it up from the gut yut, yut!
1/11/05 3:56 PM
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kroddy_man
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Edited: 11-Jan-05
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"Did all you guys that visited Okinawa visit for vacation or were you in thes service? " I went cause I am a kroddy man! seriously, ask Damaebushi.
1/11/05 4:03 PM
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FloridaArm Bar
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Edited: 11-Jan-05
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Sorry, but what is a Kroddy Man?
1/11/05 5:06 PM
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damaebushi
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Edited: 11-Jan-05
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Oh, that's an interesting story. You'd have to know the individual involved who "kroddy_man" is mocking with that screen name to appreciate it, and believe me, there is no way to describe that individual to even remotely come close. Trust me when I say he is one of the many that give TMA people a bad name and why so many ridicule us. I will say that the kroddy_man who posts here is definitely the real deal, though. Respectfully: Fred
1/14/05 8:27 PM
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kroddy_man
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Edited: 14-Jan-05
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LOL. Yes, my screen name mocks one particular person with whom damaebushi is well aquainted. More than he ever wanted to be! But now, I just use it to mock all the other idiots that do TMA along with the MMAers who hate on TMA without actually seeing the real deal. -km p.s. damaebushi really does, truely live up to his screen name.
1/15/05 2:34 PM
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damaebushi
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Edited: 15-Jan-05
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Like I said, km is the real deal, one of the few people whom I have been acquainted with who actually understands what real TMA is really all about and how to train it properly, IMHO. No posing, no pretending, no musical kata, no cute little dipped foam pads, no phoney no contact tournaments, no satin, multi - colored gis, but lots of hardcore training with much sweat, good contact training, and realism. Nothing like the kroddyman he makes fun of with his screen name and so many others. Respectfully: Fred
1/16/05 6:49 PM
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m.g
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Edited: 16-Jan-05
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One of my classmates was from Okinawa (I studied Enshin Karate which derived from Ashihara Karate which itself is an off shoot of Kyokushinkai). He was especially good. The interesting thing about him was he didn't look very asian in appearance. He looked hispanic or maybe from Hawaii. He had brown skin complexion and curl/wavy black hair. Anyway he insisted that you called him Okinawan instead of Japanese. I believe he originally startd out in ashihara style of karate and switched later to Enshin (which at that time really wasn't a big difference). As far as the Karate styles in Okinawa I never talked to him about it but I got the sense that Karate clubs or dojos weren't a big public thing in Okinawa like in the U.S. Only people who were interested in it knew about it and those who were interested in it were generally serious students. I don't think Karate (or martial arts in general) is casual like here. I think the instructors and schools are usually geared towards those who really want to learn it and have a strong passion for it. My understanding is Karate clubs and schools in Okinawa (and the mainland) are very brutal and tough.

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