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Guest Post: Budo

This Guest Post is by my friend and mentor Sensei Pat Nakata. Nakata Sensei is the head of the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Association in Hawaii. He was a student of Chosin (Choshin) Chibana in Kobayashi-Ryu Shorin-Ryu, and also studied Ryukyu Kobudo under Sensei Fumio Nagaishi. When he was a young man, he studied Wado-Ryu Karate under Sensei Walter Nishioka.

Nakata Sensei is the Vice President of the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai and serves on its Ranking and Titles Committee. He teaches classes six days a week in Kapahulu and strives to perform 10,000 kata each year!

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Many years ago, I attended the Mas Oyama Kyokushinkai All Japan Open Karate Tournament. This tournament is a bare knuckle, full contact tournament. The opening speech was given by Kyokushin Karate's famous founder Mas Oyama. Oyama Sensei stated that because of the actual contact, this tournament was true Budo. He further stated that this Budo tournament was the ultimate test for a martial artist.

After the tournament, I was honored with an invitation from Sensei Bobby Lowe to a dinner with Oyama Sensei and the top instructors of his organization. At the dinner, Oyama Sensei expanded on his tournament's opening speech.

Oyama Sensei stated again that this type of tournament was real Budo because it was real hitting. Then, he explained that the real Budo he was talking about went beyond actual hitting. In this type of tournament, winners and losers of a match both receive punishment. The winner advances and again goes through a grueling match.

Oyama Sensei concluded, when one has no more energy but still punches and kicks, when one can hardly stand but still moves forward, when one has nothing left to remain upright but still remains standing, this is Budo.

In this context, when we train and we are totally exhausted, when there is nothing left physically and we reach into our inner self and we continue to endeavor, this is Karate.

Pat Nakata