As a student of Wu Shu (the Five Arts*), for many years my focus had been on the study of Xiang (‘Appearance’/Visual Appraisal/Auditing) and Ming (‘Destiny’/Birthchart Analysis); but I had neglected Shan (‘Mountain’/Life Improvement).
The crisis? I needed to get fit!
I’ve spent my life travelling to Japan, so when the opportunity to learn karate arose, it just felt right.
What a moment of 'kismet' to find a Chinese Martial Artist teaching Japanese Martial Arts!
However, Shihan was not taking students at the time. I think his focus was on the perfection of his techniques, overseeing the progress of his black belts and practicing kata before his retirement.
Nevertheless I wanted to see for myself, so in 2012, as a Brown Belt, I attended a competition and won two medals for kata Seiyunchin and Kumite:
By 2018 I had been in search of a local dojo for ages, and as luck would have it, I found a wonderful Aikido Master Kinefuchi Sensei, founder of Iyonoma Ryu Aikido.
I started attending classes once a week, through the winter, often driving at night through snowstorms to get there.
Spring came and we attended a weekend training workshop in Kyoto:
Yamaguchi-san was very hospitable, but he said before I could train at the Hombu, I needed permission from the Australian Goju organisation.
“I don’t know you from a bar of soap.”
We won’t get into the politics of the Martial Arts world…except to say that it’s a shame to see karateka who want to train, are rejected.
Being in the dojo is a sacred experience, and to visit the Hombu was an honour.
Often in dojos you will see this character, Shinobu (endurance/perseverance/patience), it contains the character for ‘heart’.
‘Osu’ originates from the term ‘Oshi Shinobu’ – to push through and endure.
One must put one’s heart and soul into the effort…and persevere.
It reminds me of Shihan’s words of encouragement in times of difficulty,
“Keep going Jodi! Work harder! Don’t stop! Drink water later!”
The Purpose of Karate is to Practice Samurai-do
1. To Cultivate a 'Higher Spirit'
2. To Grow Strong By Technique
3. To Help People by not Fighting
When I trained with Shihan, I knew I was in the presence of greatness…and that I was in for one helluva workout!
Training with Kyoshi (he will always be Shihan to me) was a wonderful time in my life.
I aspire to be as dedicated to budo, as Kyoshi Hobein Wong.