Okinawa Tourism Information:ExperienceauthentickarateinOkinawa,thekingdomofkarate!

Experience authentic karate in Okinawa, the kingdom of karate!

post : 2015.07.18 19:00


When we think of things we can make people outside of Okinawa feel typical of Okinawa, there are eisa, Churaumi Aquarium, Nankurunaisa spirit, goya champuruu, etc.  And it is up to a person how soon he or she can think of, but one of the things that most of Okinawan people would like to brag about to everybody is probably karate.


It is not only because Okinawa is the birthplace of karate but also because karate is a popular martial arts which are often performed at wedding receptions in Okinawa as well as one of “visible traditional culture of Okinawa.”  And on top of that, karate embodies not only the physical movement and arts of gracious etiquette unique to Okinawa but also essences of what relationship between people and people as well as between country and country should be, which has been nurtured in the long history. 



However, even if you are interested in karate, you feel hesitated to knock the door to a karate dojo hall suddenly or to take an experience too hastily.  Here I would like to introduce you this seminar which you can observe for free.


“Okinawa Traditional Karate and Kobudo Worldwide Seminar” was held at Okinawa Prefectural Budokan Arena Building from June 13 to June 18.  This is the third year of the event, so it has not been well known yet.  But the event attracted more than 100 karate practitioners of young and old from all over the world including USA, Canada, Australia, UK, India, China, Taiwan, Russia, etc. to Okinawa, the mecca of karate, once a year to help improve the technique for each other regardless of which school they belong to as well as deepen the exchange beyond the borderline.  The venue, Okinawa Prefectural Budokan Arena Building, is located at the third monorail station both from Naha Airport Station and from Kenchomae Station.  As it is very conveniently located, the event would be highly recommended as a special opportunity to experience traditional culture of Okinawa. 



Now the number of karate practitioners in the world is more than 50 million people, karate has become the most major martial arts in the world.  However, surprisingly it is hardly known that the roots of karate lie in Okinawa. 


Okinawan conventional martial arts called “Ti,” which had existed since the old times, was connected with martial arts in the world including China as well as countries in the Pacific which had relationship with the Ryukyu Kingdom during the Age of Discovery and was developed into a new martial arts called karate. 


On their day off, young people from France visited Shuri Castle to fully enjoy the culture of Okinawa.  He experienced karate for the first time in this seminar.  Knowing about kung fu and karate in films and hearing about the martial arts from school teachers, he has developed an interest in them. 


They are karate practitioners from Shang Hi.


People from different nationalities and generations are connected to each other


What about karate keeps fascinating people in the world is its unique existence which does not fit in a frame as a sport or a martial arts.  Karate is arts of gracious etiquette as a human being as well as a method to live and a method to improve yourself.  Karate might have such a multifaceted, profound world. 


Students on the school excursion and karate practitioners from Russia


Female karate practitioners from Europe were gazing in wonder at Japanese “kawaii (cute)” culture. 


When we talk about characteristics of karate, we often say “There is no first strike in karate.” and “Do not think of wining. Think, rather, of not losing.”  Karate was developed not to attack an opponent but to defense yourself.  As the phase “Think of hands and feet as swords.” implies, a destructive power of karate is such fierce that even one blow or kick can kill people.  So it is a good lesson to tell that we should not use the power of karate easily. 


“Not only cuisine and buildings but also traditional Okinawan language are similar to those of China,” said young karate practitioners from Shang Hi.


They are karate practitioners from Fukuoka and Toyama.


In front of the State Hall of Shuri Castle, British karate practitioners perform karate movements, which attracts lots of attention from tourists. 


“If you beat an opponent, you will earn the enmity of the friends and family of the opponent.  The enmity will bring another confrontation, and the target is not only you but also the family and close friends of yours.  That’s why, “not to be beaten” without fighting is ultimate aim of karate.”


I have heard that before from a famous acting karate practitioner in Okinawa.  A Russian karate practitioner joining the seminar this year said “The charm of karate is to polish not only your physical strength but also your character.  If you master the way of karate genuinely, you will be able to be free from fight.”


In addition, Mr. Sureshu Kenichihara from India, who runs as many as 200 karate dojo halls in India and has as many as 25,000 disciples, told me this.


“I think there are two common things between India and Okinawa.  One thing is “hospitality,” found in an Okinawan phrase “Ichariba Choodee (Once we meet, we are brothers and sisters.)   Another is “spirit that one hate fighting” found in an Okinawan maxim “When you feel anger, back out of it.  If you throw the punch, squash your anger.”


Young people from France became fans of Okinawa and Japan through karate. 


People of different nationalities and races gathering in one place through karate shows that karate is literally “bankoku shinryo (bridge between nations).” 


Another face shown in international Okinawa


Karate is a precious culture which represents Okinawa both in spirituality and physicality.  Using this opportunity, we will be happy if you experience the charm.  Not only during the seminar period, you might often see karate practitioners from abroad visiting for pilgrimage to Mecca from Shuri to Kokusai Shopping Street in Naha City.  As one of fun ways to enjoy a new style of trip to Okinawa, it would be nice to have an exchange with karate practitioners like them.


The 3rd Okinawa Traditional Karate and Kobudo Worldwide Seminar

Host: Okinawa Prefectural Government and Society for the Advancement of Traditional Okinawa Karate
Venue : Okinawa Prefectural Budokan Arena Building (Onoyama Park Budokan Arena)  52 Yamashita-cho, Onoyama, Naha City, Okinawa
Dates: July 13, 2015 to July 18, 2015
Inquiries: 070-5412-4931(Okinawa Traditional Karate and Kobudo Worldwide Seminar Office)


Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Nobuya Fukuda