An Old Memory Brought Back to Life – Magic Island 1986

I’ve often written about Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi, who taught your HISKF instructors so much of what we know.  Sensei Peter, Wayne, and I were fortunate to have him personally instruct us for years at both the Special Training classes at the main dojo in the 1970s and, years later, at the Mililani dojo.  Even Sensei Trisha’s first lessons were under his tutelage.  Shihan is in his mid-eighties these days and retired from active teaching. In our memories however, he is still that young, charismatic karate champion of our youth.  In his prime, he was a burly, solid, and powerful presence both inside and outside of the dojo.  As earnest young students, we all tried out best to emulate his movements.  The magic of YouTube allows you to see how we remember our teacher’s movements in kata. This was filmed back in 1986 at Magic Island.  Shihan was in his late forties at the time and had been asked by Panther Productions to film a series of videos on Shotokan Karate-Do.  As I recall, it was a perfect day in the perfect location to feature Shihan performing kata in the natural tropical outdoors.  In this video, he’s demonstrating Heian Godan.  That [...]

The Way Beyond Tsuki and Keri

When my walk with karate-do began over fifty years ago, I had just two objectives; learning how to throw a karate punch and learning how to execute some basic kicks.  I persuaded my good friend (now Sensei Peter) to sign up with me, and so we entered the dojo together.  Previously, my training in aikido had provided me a decent background in how to fall, applying wrist locks and throws, and a feel for distance and leverage.  Although atemi is a part of aikijutsu, our aikido training did not include any striking techniques.  All I wanted to do was to gain a basic proficiency in this. Despite what Sensei Peter has said about our early training, we were both quick learners. I was able to acquire basic punching and kicking skills within a couple of months and so…I quit!  Mission accomplished!  Not a very good example for new karate students, eh?  Fortunately, Sensei Peter realized that there was so much more to learn from karate-do and kept on training.  I watched him continue to improve and get promoted over the following months.  After telling my then-girlfriend (now my wife), “Wow, he’s doing so well…if I had continued, I could have [...]

Outdated Similes

Seeing as how all of your senseis (with the exception of Sensei Trish) are In our seventies, I guess that we’d be considered “elderly” or (more kindly) as kupuna these days.  Nowadays, the term is often applied to anyone over a certain age (say, 65) and especially during the pandemic, you’d see “kupuna hours” at various stores.  Actually, the term refers to a grandparent or other prior ancestor.  Since Sensei Peter and I are indeed, grandfathers, we both qualify for the original meaning of the term. Being so old and having grown up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, I sometimes forget that our younger students are often two or even three generations after us.  This means that sometimes, the comparisons, similes, and analogies that I like to use when teaching karate can be so outdated as to lose their meaning and impact on certain demographics in our class, haha.  Small wonder that I see blank faces staring back at me when I use certain sayings during class.  Here are some examples and clarifications (for the kids): – “Sometimes, I must sound like a broken record.”  Kids, in case you don’t know, a phonograph record was the cassette….er, CD…er, streaming music [...]