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First Day of the Okinawan Festival

Today was the first day of the Okinawan Festival.  Behind me are two panels from the Okinawan Sumo exhibit.


Charles C. Goodin

Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani Park


The annual Okinawan Festival will be held at Kapiolani Park on Saturday, August 31st and Sunday, September 1st.  Here is a link to the Okinawan Festival website:


Here is a link to a map of the site:


Here is a link to the entertainment program for both days:


This year, I (the Hawaii Karate Museum) will be giving two exhibits: (1) the S. S. China steamship (the ship that brought the first Okinawans to Hawaii in 1900), and (2) Okinawan Sumo.   I will be exhibiting photographs and artifacts in the Cultural Tent.  There is no admission for the Cultural Tent.

Here is a link to my handout:  seinenkai.com/handout.pdf

I hope that you will be able to attend the festival.  It is a great cultural experience and lots of fun.  Karate is from Okinawa, so our art is part of Okinawan culture.  To better understand Karate, we should study Okinawan culture.  Please make sure to stop by and say hello at my exhibits.


Charles C. Goodin

A Centipede Bite

Last night I was working in my garden in the back of my house.  It is cooler at night and the area is well lit, so I sometimes prefer nighttime gardening.

Anyway, when I was almost done re-potting some plants, I felt a sting on my left calf.  I looked down and there was a 4 inch centipede, not the big one with blue legs, but the smaller fast one.  I brushed it off but the damage was done.  I went inside to wash the bite, put rubbing alcohol, some neosporin, and some cortizone.  It burned for a few hours (like a jellyfish sting) but that was it.

So here is the point.  I looked down at that centipede on my leg and thought that is must be thinking: "Take that Karate man!  Block this!"  Just keeping it real.

I think this was my first centipede bite.  Lucky I am not allergic.  Most people don't know this but we have little scorpions here too -- I saw one a month ago in my eldest son's yard.  I will have to be more careful.


Charles C. Goodin

Update -- Nakata Sensei


It has been quite an active and overwhelming time since February when my very good friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata, passed away.  To be honest, it is still hard for me to believe that he is no longer with us.  He was such an active and generous person.  We ate lunch and dinner together at so many places that I always expect to see him.

I felt the same way about my Aikido Sensei, Sadao Yoshioka.  This was especially true when I recently went to a graduation party at the Natsunoya teahouse.  That was the place where Yoshioka Sensei has his kanreki (60th birthday) back in the 1980s.

With respect to Karate, I am at a loss without Nakata Sensei's guidance.  Whenever I had a question about a style or teacher, I would not look for the information in books -- I would simply call or see him.  He was literally a walking encyclopedia of Okinawan Karate.  He would either tell me about his personal experiences with the style or teacher, or share Chosin Chibana's recollections.  I was always amazed by Nakata Sensei stories.  I had the good fortune to hear some of the same stories many times over the years and they never changed.  His memory and attention to detail was phenomenal, even during the last two years when his health condition declined.

I also relied on Nakata Sensei whenever I wanted to know what a particular movement meant.  He practiced Chibana Shorin-Ryu and I practice Kishaba Juku Shorin-Ryu. Although our kata are not identical, they are similar enough for comparison (same but different).

I have watched a lot of people demonstrate the meaning (or "imi") of kata both live and on various DVDs and videos.  Nakata Sensei's explanations were always very down to earth and brutally effective.  There was no "fluff" or "puff" or guesswork.  Basically, there was just a lot of pain.

Once he told me about Chibana Sensei demonstrating a certain throw to him.  He had asked Chibana Sensei how the throw could be done if the attacker was not wearing a gi or strong clothes ("how would you grab?").  Chibana Sensei said "come, come" and demonstrated the answer.  I then said, "What did Chibana Sensei do?"  Nakata Sensei said, "come, come" with a gesturing motion of his hands.  I walked up to Nakata Sensei and he grabbed me by one ear and the side of my neck.  With a twist of his hands I was helpless and in a perfect position for him to throw me.  Chibana Sensei had demonstrated the same thing on him.

I had practiced Karate for quite a while when this happened, but I have to admit that I was not thinking about a counter at the time -- I was just flailing around and half-screaming.  Good thing that Nakata Sensei was my good friend and was only moving lightly.  I would hate to see him mad.

I actually did see him a little mad -- just once.  During one of our lunches with senior Sensei, I excused myself to go to the rest room so that I could pay for the bill.  Nakata Sensei almost always paid the bill and I wanted to pay for this lunch.  When the lunch finished and the waiter came, Nakata Sensei asked for the bill and was told that I had already paid it.  Nakata Sensei informed me in an especially firm tone that I should not do that again.  (I was honestly scared.)

Now I understand that the host pays the bill unless it is addressed in advance.  After that, I would offer to pay the bill before we got together and things were fine.  But even then, Nakata Sensei was the one who usually hosted and paid for everyone.  He was extremely generous, not jsut monetarily but of his time.  He would think nothing about driving half way across Oahu to pick up a Sensei so that he could attend a lunch.

Our lunches were really something -- two or three hours of nothing but Karate talk.  When other seniors would come, we would talk about their styles and experiences.  What an excellent overview of the arts!  I almost hated to return to work!

So it has been difficult for me since February.

But... during that time I completed the donation of the third increment of rare Karate and martial arts books, magazines, and multi-media to the University of Hawaii for the Hawaii Karate Museum Collection.  This increment was 10 boxes, and included some of the very oldest and rarest materials in the collection.

The third and final part of my article about Shozen Sunabe was published by Classical Fighting Arts and is now available.  Sunabe Sensei (a student of Chotoku Kyan) is another person I sorely miss.

I am preparing right now for the Okinawan Festival which will be held on the Labor Day weekend at Kapiolani Park.  This year I am giving two exhibits: the first on Okinawan Sumo and the second about the Pacific Mail Company's S. S. China, the steamship that brought the first Okinawan immigrants to Hawaii in January 1900.  I received grants for these projects from Hui O Laulima.  The exhibits will be in the Cultural Tent.  I will also write an article about the S. S. China (I have a ton of great material).

I am also teaching and studying Karate as usual.  The other night I told the students to always remember that they are students, and that I am the biggest student in our group because I have been studying the longest and continue to try to improve each day.  I will never brag about being a good instructor or about rank and titles.  If I ever brag, it will be about never giving up as a student.  So when it comes to Karate, I am still working at it.

Thank you very much to several readers who have inquired about my health.  I am fine, thank you.


Charles C. Goodin

Guest Post: E Homai (Asking for Wisdom)

This Guest Post is by my friend, Sensei Angel Lemus, of the Zentokukai Okinawa Shorinryu Toude Association. Angel was a writer and editor of Bugeisha, one of the finest Karate journals ever published. He lives and teaches here in Hawaii.  Angel and I are members of the Hawaii Karate Kenkyukai.

- - - - - - - - - -
E Homai (Asking for Wisdom)

Today I took part in a hike on the beautiful mountains on the windward side of Oahu.
The tour guide ended with a common Hawaiian chant called E Homai which asks for wisdom and understanding from above. It is a beautiful chant which I have heard many times before but this time it was different because of what our guide mentioned after the chant.

He was talking about the rainfall on the mountains which is the source of our drinking water and how in old Hawaiian folklore it was said that the sky father "Wakea" gave the water to mother earth "Papa" and thru this connection life is possible. Then he said that the old Hawaiians believed it was very important to have "knowledge and understanding" of things, but even more important is to have the "WISDOM" of what to do with this knowledge.

This made an instant connection for me with Karate and all the countless hours of practice that we spend year after year. Why do we continually practice karate? There are many reasons of course but I thought of myself when I was younger and of new students in general who want to learn the next kata, and the next, thus the accumulation of knowledge becomes an obsession and the goal. As if when you learned the last kata you are somehow transformed into something better (which you are not) and you are left with an empty feeling, because there is something very important that is missing. And what is missing is wisdom, something you certainly do not have when young or when first learning something.

The separation between knowledge and Wisdom is a vast chasm. This is why the old Okinawan Senseis would take their sweet time teaching their students, years just on one kata, they were in no rush, because it is truly pointless to accumulate knowledge that is unusable without the needed wisdom that can only be attained thru time and maturity.

We all need to seek Wisdom in order to make use of the knowledge we have. The Hawaiians express their humility every time they do this chant, the words are charged because they believe them with an open heart otherwise they are meaningless.

Next time we say "Sensei Onegaeshi Masu" lets make sure we really and humbly mean it (not just say the words out of habit), then and only then we may gain some wisdom because we are humble (and our cup is empty). And not just in the dojo but in our daily life where our Karate wisdom is put to use.


Nakata Sensei Demonstration


The demonstration in honor of Sensei Pat Nakata has been announced for Saturday, March 16th, from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., with lunch to follow.  The location is the Kaimuki High School Performing Arts Center.

For information, contact Sensei Alan Yokota at AYokota@CJSGroupArchitects.com.

Members of Nakata Sensei's dojo will perform each of the standard Shorin-Ryu and Kobudo kata in their curriculum.  Members of the Hawaii Karate Kenkyukai will perform their own versions of Nakata Sensei's eight (8) optional kata.  I will be performing Gojushiho.


Charles C. Goodin

Here is the flyer (click to enlarge):

Passing of Sensei Pat Nakata

I am very sad to report that my good friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata, passed away last week, on Thursday, February 7th.  He was 68.  Words cannot express my sense of loss and also my deep respect for and gratitude to Nakata Sensei.

If his approach to Karate could be summed up in one word, it would certainly be: TRAIN.  You learn Karate by training.  Talking about Karate is OK after you have trained.  But you don't learn Karate by taking about it -- you learn Karate by training.  And for more than the last 50 years, Nakata Sensei certainly did train!  Tomorrow would have been the 50th anniversary of his dojo here in Hawaii.

If you are student of Nakata Sensei, you might want to contact Sensei Alan Yokota or John Oberle who are coordinating events for the dojo.


Charles C. Goodin