Hi Everyone…Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!  Have you noticed that during this rather unusual year, the holidays seem to go by before we even realize it? Not having seen many of you since we ceased general classes in the Spring, it is my deepest hope and prayer that each of you is keeping safe and healthy and enjoying the Christmas Season despite some limitations on usual activities.  In the summer, the sempais and senseis did hold some training sessions working out the safety protocols (temp, contact logs, masks, social distancing) for whenever it becomes safe enough to restart class.  Till now, however, Oahu’s case counts continue to rise and the tier system and gathering limits has prevented normal training for all dojos, with the exception of virtual Zoom classes by a few places. That said, outside activities are less restricted than indoors where air is recirculated.  There is a hidden blessing in that our training actually occurs under a covered pavilion that is outside, exposed to fresh air.   Sometime next year, after case counts have dropped, perhaps after a successful vaccination rollout, with appropriate masks and social distancing, we’ll be able to safely train together once again. For [...]

A Short Shotokan Legends Video

I pray that each of you is healthy and keeping safe during these interesting times.  Hopefully, you have the time and inclination to continue some form of practice at home; probably one of the most important for us, ahem, older folks is stretching.  We all know that muscle mass is gradually lost each year once we reach our forties.  However, there is an accompanying decline in flexibility and elasticity of one’s muscles and ligaments.  Personally, I spend 15-20 minutes early each morning stretching out my aging body.  Whenever we do emerge from the COVID19 cloud and can safely/comfortably recommence practice, a hidden condition that must be managed is the flexibility of your muscles.  A single stiff tendon or ligament can sideline you from further practice.  Typically, stiff and vulnerable ligaments don’t show up until you execute a technique – and karate techniques require a lot more from one’s body than regular walking.  So please take a few minutes to stretch out each day….a little goes a long way. I came across this nice little video containing pics and short descriptions of whom the director considers to be the legends of Shotokan Karate.  It was compiled by a karateka in….India, no [...]

Is the Shotokan Tiger Inspired by Two Thousand Year Old Chinese Art?

In the past, I’ve written about the origin of Shotokan’s famous tiger symbol and the artist/karateka Kosugi Hoan, who designed it.  Recently, I came across an interesting article that fleshes a little more into what we already knew about how this tiger symbol originally graced Master Funakoshi’s first book, “Ryukyu Kempo: Tode”, way back in 1922. Now, of course, it can be found on our gi patches, on some of your sensei’s belts, on our website, and in thousands of Shotokan dojos throughout the world.  The article was on the Shorinjiryublog site, written by a Sensei Yuen.  I already suspected that the tiger had some Chinese influence since Japan doesn’t even have any tigers, but this article included a really neat side-by-side of our familiar Shotokan tiger with a Chinese plaque (over two thousand years old!). I found the resemblance to be remarkable – see what you think. the-famous-shotokan-tiger-symbol