A Journey To Okinawa

Chief Instructor Matthew Apsokardu had the opportunity to spend one month living on Okinawa. He accompanied Robert Teller and Miko Teller as their research liaison and guest. It was through their kind invitation and the generous hosting of Ron Nix and Akemi Nix that Matthew was able to enjoy rich aspects of Okinawan culture, language, living, and training.

Please enjoy some photos and videos from the trip below.
okinawa shisa

Trip Highlights

Although Apsokardu Sensei has kept a detailed record of his trip, it would take too long to explore the whole thing on this page. Therefore, please enjoy a few of the highlight experiences that Sensei remembers fondly.

Odori and Kobudo during Okinawa New Year’s Festival

This was a lovely demonstration of traditional Okinawan dance. Kobudo (weapons) were also demonstrated, and the deep historic connection between the two art forms was made clear.

Visit to Nakamura Dojo

The purpose of this visit was to pay respect to the dojo of Nakamura Shigeru, founder of Okinawa Kenpo. The school had been operated by Nakamura Sensei’s son, Taketo, for a time but unfortunately was no longer active.

Inside the dojo was a wide variety of boxes and pieces of equipment, but many of the dojo implements were still in place.

nakamura dojo

Passai Kata at Katsuren Castle

Okinawa has a number of beautiful stone castles that have either survived the various wars on the island or are being carefully restored. The foundational remains of Katsuren Castle were inspiring, and it seemed like a fantastic place to perform kata.

It was my honor to do Passai in what was once a flat living quarter.

Niseishi Kata at Katsuren Castle

Another opportunity presented itself to perform a kata at Katsurengusuku, so I decided to jump on it. The Passai and Niseishi kata are considered black belt level forms in the Okinawa Kenpo system.

Nakamura House

Unrelated to Nakamura Shigeru of Okinawa Kenpo fame (I think) was the Nakamura House. This was the homestead of a wealthy citizen that through luck and out-of-the-way placement was largely spared from the devastation of the Battle of Okinawa.

The home was beautiful and carefully maintained. Around the home you could see the original grinding wheels and tonfa, reminding us that karate and kobudo were a closely knit part of everyday life.

Okinawa Kenpo Training

I had the opportunity to train at a variety of dojo(s) while there, but getting to connect with the contingent of Okinawa Kenpo practitioners was particularly special.

Josh Simmers was kind enough to make the connection and Kiyan Sensei was generous enough to let me into his class.

It would take a long time to show all the pictures and discuss all the lesson learned on the island. Instead, here are a couple of final shots that you may find enjoyable.