The Ultimate Guide to Training Karate in Okinawa – The Birthplace of Karate

Okinawa…karate

This “mythical” island somewhere southwest of Japan, where old-school Karate was born a couple of centuries ago.

Wouldn’t it be cool to visit once?

For sure!

The island of “Uchinaa”, as the Okinawan’s call it, is a pretty special Karate place to visit in many ways (read my primary reason here), and there’s a lot to discover around the island both in the regular tourist/cultural sense and in the Karate Nerd™ sense.

Believe me, I used to live there.

For instance, as my most dedicated readers will undoubtedly remember, during my own travels around Okinawa I’ve personally both infiltrated the last living Funakoshi super-granny clan, discovered the holy burial place of master Kyan Chotoku, found the unknown hideout of Tomari-te legend Kosaku Matsumora, dug up the secret weapon of legendary Karate warrior Bushi Matsumura and much, much more.

But you’re not like me.

You’re smarter!

When you go to Okinawa, you don’t want to spend your few precious days running around barefoot in the jungle, getting bit by huge mosquitoes, searching for ancient graves in the mud, sweating gallons, kicking in front of old castles, ducking nasty bats during night training, or wasting all your money on repulsive bean goo.

Oh no.

You want to use every minute in Okinawa wisely!

Shuri_kick_2
Greetings from Okinawa! ; -)

So, today I’ve invited my dear friend Miguel Da Luz – founder of the Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau – to teach you guys all about the essentials of training Karate in Okinawa as a foreigner.

Miguel-san, who has been interpreting/translating/publishing authentic Karate stuff from Okinawa for 20 years, is the “main man” when it comes to connecting Karate masters with foreigners on the island, so it was a no-brainer to get him to share his best knowledge with you guys in the effort to make your trip to Okinawa more epic.

KbJ readers deserve the best!

That being said though, please believe me when I say this:

There’s a LOT of stuff that can go wrong when you visit Okinawa for training Karate the first time. I learned this the hard way (like one time, when I was literally half an inch away from getting my nose broken by a 9th dan ex-world champion, due to a simple linguistic misstep)!

And let’s not forget about those pesky lizards!

So don’t be me.

Be smarter.

Read this guide.

Shuri Castle – a historical hotspot for Karate

Let’s go!

“What are the top 3 most important advice for people who want to visit Okinawa for training Karate?”

  1. Attitude: Most of the time, you will be welcomed in a real Okinawan dojo, not a gym or a martial center. Here in Okinawa, a dojo is like a family. It is a concept hard to understand if you have never been to Japan; the sensei is like the father, the sempai are the oldest brothers and the regular students are like young kids! Without a doubt, you have to be respectful to all members of the “family” as they generously welcome you in their home – the dojo itself.
  2. Ask questions: The student: “Why didn’t you tell me?” The master: “Because you never asked!”. I would suggest asking questions as much as possible to the master or other dojo members. If you are not supposed to know the answer, or they don’t want you to know, they won’t answer. But most of the time, they will answer or give clues. You shouldn’t be too persistent or inquisitive though, but frankly I think there is a lot to be learned beyond the physical practice – both in the cultural, historical and spiritual aspects of Karate. And if you don’t speak Japanese, find an interpreter!
  3. Tuition fee: In a way, I believe people should see “training in Okinawa” as if they were going to join a seminar like many often do in their respective country. Therefore, paying a training fee is a normal and respectful etiquette, even if the masters do not ask for anything. To do so, don’t flip your wallet out of your pocket and pay. Find a simple envelope before going to the dojo for the first session, insert the money and hand it politely to the master with a bow. Most of the time, it is not the amount inside that matters, but the attitude.

“What is the best protocol/etiquette for contacting and training in an authentic Okinawan dojo?”

In the past, one needed an introduction letter from a reliable and trusted person to be accepted by a master.

Today, however, more instructors are open to teaching unknown foreigners – but still it is easier and faster if you are introduced by someone. For decades, Nakasone Kenzo, owner of the Karate shop Shureido, has been helping those who came to Okinawa. Today, next to Shureido, my Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau (OTKLB) acts as an intermediary between martial artists around the world and local masters, so people can plan and be sure to practice as soon as they land.

But regardless of the channel, it is important to be frank about what it is you do, the schools or organizations you belong to and the masters you trained with in the past. For you to be allowed to train in an Okinawan local dojo, trust is an important matter – so make your intentions clear. Are you looking for training and exchange, grading, affiliation…? There are many people with many goals. Regardless of what you are looking for, you will be accepted or not.

And just for the record, very few Okinawan masters will ask you to join their organization or give you a higher rank after one visit!

“What are the top 5 most “foreigner friendly” traditional dojos in Okinawa?”

Living in Okinawa and interacting a lot with the local Karate community, this is a politically hard question to answer.

However, from my experience in helping people not affiliated with local organizations, I would say in no particular order:

  • Kyudokan of Higa Minoru sensei (Shorin-ryu)
  • Shubukan of Uema Yasuhiro sensei (Shorin-ryu)
  • Jundokan Sohombu of Miyazato Yoshihiro sensei (Goju-ryu)
  • Kenshinkai of Hokama Tetsuhiro sensei (Goju-ryu)
  • Shimbukan of Akamine Hiroshi sensei (Ryukyu Kobudo)

As you know, there are some 400 dojo in Okinawa and many organizations have their own worldwide network and overseas branches. These five are just a part of the tip of the iceberg.

Just remember, Okinawan Karate is different from Japanese Karate.

Related reading: 10 Differences Between Okinawan Karate & Japanese Karate

“What are the top 5 “must-see” places for Karate people visiting Okinawa and why?”

  1. Downtown Naha: You can find good Karate everywhere in the world. But the Okinawan atmosphere is only in Okinawa. Downtown Naha (the “capital” of Okinawa) might seem obvious, but people who visit Okinawa should really open their eyes more when they go here. One famous proverb says that “Karate is not only in the dojo or when with the master”. There are so many things to see in Naha that are more or less connected to Karate: More than 150 dojo in the city itself, monuments and sites, old areas that remind of ancient Ryukyu Kingdom, performing arts where the dance moves resemble Karate… But for that, you need to look around, and more importantly, be open and receptive.
  2. The Budokan: Home of most of Okinawa’s major Karate events, you must visit it once for the many martial arts that can be seen and practice there, and the many people, famous or less famous, that you will encounter in the premises.
  3. Karate museums: Nakamoto Masahiro sensei and Hokama Tetsuhiro sensei’s private museums are a must-see when coming to Okinawa. Call before to ask for a private visit. Kinjo Masakazu sensei also has a really impressive collection of kobudo weapons and he welcomes people on a “per request” basis.
  4. The Makabi cemetery: There are many monuments and sites related to Karate and its history, as stated. This cemetery however, located between Naha and Shuri, is incredible as this is where many old masters are actually resting: Matsumura Sokon, Itosu Anko, Hanashiro Chomo and many others…
  5. Gangara no Tani & The Bugei Cave: A great walk in an ancient valley that leads to a place where Kobudo was secretly practiced in the past. Located close to the Okinawa World, there is a fee, but the walk is really nice!

Allow me to make it the “top 6 must-see places” so I could add the Dojo Bar. Even though I am sure most visitors will find it easily, this place is a great hang-around for many Karate enthusiasts who visit or live in Okinawa. (Note: Make sure to order the KARATEbyJesse coctail (seriously!) and tell James-san that I sent you).

“What is the #1 mistake most foreigner make when they come to Okinawa to practice Karate?”

I could list quite a few but I would say, the wish to train simultaneously in various different dojo or different styles while on island.

While it is OK to take seminars with different masters overseas, Okinawa is a small island and fidelity to a clan or a school is primordial. Many of the local masters do not appreciate having their students (especially direct ones) or trainees go training “here and there”. As I said before, remember that you are entering a family of sorts. So, if you intend to “go fishing”, make sure that every one involved (the masters and the ones acting as intermediary) know in advance to avoid any later problems.

It is foolish to think that “He won’t know if I went here and there” because the masters will hear about it one way or the other and it might ruin relationships. One should stick to a master to fully appreciate “the Way”.

Still, if you want to go visit other styles while on island, a good way is to simply ask your welcoming instructor for advice on which dojo they would recommend for a visit. It is a nice way to have some doors open for you the traditional way! And most of the time, it will lead to great discoveries.

“What are the 3 best hidden “secrets” from foreigners in Okinawa?”

As you already know, there are no so-called “secrets”. It is just a matter of discovering new things and clearing confusing matter along the way. Like with any other martial arts, coming to the birthplace or living there offers the luxury of experiencing unique aspects of the culture and society of the place. But then still, you need time to really understand what’s below the surface.

So, thinking about some aspects that could be experienced or researched while on Okinawa, I could mention:

  1. Mura-bo: Many Karate-ka know or even practice Kobudo. But Mura-bo, the “village staff” performed in some local festivals is a must-see if you visit Okinawa. I know that some Kobudo masters look down on it, but in some areas I believe it is performed beautifully, martially speaking. Maeda-bo, Yomitan-bo, Sashiki-bo, Kochinda-bo, you name it… One particularly impressive event is Itoman Maezato tug-of-war and the Maezato village’s men of bo! If interested, I suggest that when you are planning a trip to Okinawa, you check for possible event dates.
  2. Okinawa sumo: It is the same for the local sumo. Nagamine Shoshin sensei in his last book mentioned the relation between Okinawan sumo and Karate. While many people know Japanese sumo, the Okinawan version of sumo is quite different and worth watching.
  3. Kusu: Although awamori (the Okinawan distilled liquor) is not a secret, in too many cases foreigners taste regular and low degree awamori with a lot of water and ice and decide that awamori is not that good! Well, I would advice to taste some kusu or vintage awamori to better enjoy Okinawan nights. Jokingly, I like to see awamori as the petrol or gas that makes many Okinawan Karate-ka have a “formidable machine” that run so well. And if you are lucky, you might even have a taste of a similar secret, Uechi-gusa…

“What are the most important Japanese phrases foreigners should memorize before visiting Okinawa?”

The all purposes “Yoroshiku onegai shimasu” for “Please” and “Arigato gozaimashita” for “Thank you” are a must. But don’t shrink these expressions to “Yokoroshiku” and “Arigato” as it might be rude depending to who you are talking to.

Of course, counting from one to ten (“Ichi, ni, san, shi…”) in Japanese, to blend in with the others in the dojo when repeating millions of punches and blocks is a must too.

“Konnichiwa” (“Hello”) to be said a bit loudly to announce your arrival, and “Watashi no namae wa (insert your name here) desu” for “My name is… “.

But today, many dojo have people who speak some English so I wouldn’t worry too much about language. You can also pick up some original Okinawan words (“Haisai” = “Hello“!) to impress your audience but don’t overdo it. Depending on who you are talking to or the situation, it might not even be to your advantage.

Finally, PLEASE, no “OSS!” This modern Western/mainland Japanese expression is NEVER used in Okinawa and will make you look like a mainland Japanese Karate-ka who does NOT understand the Okinawan customs!

Related reading: The Meaning of “Osu” / “Oss” (+ When You Should NEVER Say It)

“What are your 2 favorite moments from your life as a “Karate connector” in Okinawa?”

  1. My relation with Taba Kensei sensei: In 2006, while I was preparing an article on the late Nagamine Shoshin sensei that would later be published in Okinawa Karate News no. 14 (note: I was interviewed by Miguel in Okinawa for issue no. 62, when I released my #1 Amazon best-seller The Karate Code), I interviewed Taba sensei in Itoman village. Since then and until his passing in July 2012, he was very nice to me anytime I met him, giving me advice both technically and spiritually, although I was not in his organization and rather new to him. For me, he represented the true image of a Karate master. And even after his passing, I was privileged to have access to some of his vast knowledge only because Taba sensei himself said on his death bed that he trusted me with promotion of true Karate worldwide, dixit one of his top students! This adds to my feelings of “Ongaeshi” or “Giving back for what you have been given”.
  2. Higaonna sensei’s finger on me: I think the following occurred during the 2003 Okinawa world tournament seminars (note: read my 2009 report on the world seminars here). I was interpreting for Higaonna Morio sensei in his seminar. To his left was his assistant and I was standing to his right. He performed one of his favorite “seize the opponent’s finger, break it and simultaneously smash your other hand in his chest.” Having demonstrated the technique on his left hand assistant, he suddenly turned to me, asked that I seized his gi so he could demonstrate on the other side. Automatically obeying, he performed the technique a few times on me! Later I thought “Wasn’t I supposed to be the interpreter?!” Well, I went home happy with a twisted finger and a few nice marks of his hand on my chest. But the most fun thing about this moment was the faces of the participants who, thinking I was just a guy translating, told Higaonna sensei to stop. His answer to them, “It’s OK, he is one of us!” made me feel good!

Related reading: 2 Forgotten (But Deadly) Techniques of Okinawan Karate

“Last words to people visiting Okinawa for Karate?”

Remember that in this interview I have been speaking exclusively for those with no connection or affiliation to a local Okinawa organization. Whether it is through the internet, through locals, the OTKLB, or through someone who has been there and can introduce you, you’d better prepare your visit so you don’t lose time wandering for a dojo.

It still happens often. People thing: “Okinawa is the cradle – we’ll find a dojo easily.”

Big mistake!

While many people can certainly help you, you need to really prepare your stay in advance thoroughly. That means, more than just a couple of weeks before. Many of the masters ready to welcome you are busy in Okinawa and overseas – so plan correctly to get the most of your trip!

Good luck!

That concludes this practical foreigner’s guide for training Karate in Okinawa – the birthplace of Karate.

Got questions? Leave a comment.

See you in Okinawa! ;- )

/Jesse

64 Comments

  • Andy
    Hi Jesse,Thank you very much for the informative article.Could you write an article for foreigners that want to train in Japan ?Best regards,Andy
    • Hi Andy-san! The basics of training Karate in Japan is pretty much the same - although some crucial details differ, of course. I'll keep it in mind. Stay tuned!
      • Riaz
        Hi there i am looking for martial arts training in japan can you please guide me the low fee institutes. Thanks
  • Lukas
    this article makes me smile and brings back so many memories. i used to mix your drink as i worked in dojo bar! do you remember what its containing? ;)fortunately i dont seem to have missed anything essential you mentioned (beside the karate valley). i got pretty much the same impression of okinawan karate.especially the "stay with one master" thing because even when you are going to ignore this rule they dont really show their disagreemend. fortunately my sensei was patient with me after i once did that mistake but really dont try it out. once they hit a decision there is a very small chance of talking about it again.beside that dojo bar was the place to go first especially when you dont speak japanese. i got some invitations for very interessting seminars there and that is what your sensei tolerates but of course its better to tell him.
    • Lukas-san: Awamori and Calpis... desho? :P
      • Lukas
        right! and it always had a green touch which came from the lime syrup :)
        • Umai! Sounds like the perfect touch... ;)
  • the andrew
    James' right hand is too low...
  • Boban Alempijevic
    Wow, now I have a great link in my boorkmark list that I will SOOOO use in VERY good time before I go to Okinawa ( whenever that will be, but it WILL happen :D )Thank you Jesse-San for a great Howto for us unaffiliated ( with Okinawan Dojo's) karate geeks :D
  • karateMom
    Another great and useful article. Does it make a difference is the unaffiliated foreigner in question is female?
    • Hi karateMom! That would absolutely not be a problem. (And if it is, you should really go somewhere else.)
  • Ken
    Just wondering As a shotokan karate-ka how welcomeing are they of shotokan? I have heard that many Okinawan sensei do not like shotokan, I guessing a shorin-ryu dodjo would be a better fit. Just a couple question that may be a little silly but curious. Thank you as always.
    • The Andrew
      Never heard that, never witnessed that. In the Shorin dojo I used to train Shotokan people were always welcome, and actually many of the international leaders are former Shotokan stylists. The problem with Shotokan and Shorin-ryu is that many Kata are similar, so Shotokan stylist, naturally, tend to do everything the Shotokan way. Styles are not in Enbusen, but styles are in Kihon, that is, in the fundamental physical, geometrical, and aesthetics principles of the school. And these differ a lot. If you are able to let go from what yu already know and really try it out these diffing concepts, I don't think you will feel unwelcomed.
    • With an open mind and a white belt everything is possible! :) And hey, the Okinawans are generally like most island people - welcoming.
  • Hi Jesse, good reading. It also amazes me when someone spends a couple weeks training on the island that they become instant authorities on Okinawan Budo. Even to the point of holding seminars on kata bunkai and you tube uploads on "this is how it is done" - hoping to catch with James and Miguel san later this year. Cheers
  • The Andrew
    Thou shalt not talky Karate if thou don't knowy Ti.
  • Sash
    Thanks a lot, man! This is fantastic!
  • Richard Langenstein
    Thank you so much for this. Every time I go to an " Okinawan style" dojo here in the states and hear everyone say " Oss" 100 x I just cringe.....Sensei Lindsey has said for the past 40 years that the Okinawans do not do this but I see more and more American sensei of Okinawan styles do this in their dojo. Great article!
  • Theresa
    Hi Jesse,I'm a Shorin-ryu Reihokan student traveling to Okinawa, Japan. Do you know where Chosin Chibana Sensei's burial site is?Thanks alot! Theresa Stonington,CT USA
    • Hi Theresa-san, thanks for chiming in! If I remember correctly, the burial site is pretty easy to find - it might even be the famous Makabi one (mentioned in the article). To be completely sure though, I suggest asking a Kobayashi-ryu/Shorin-ryu stylist living in Okinawa. Good luck Theresa-san!
  • Josep
    Thanks Jesse-san! I will got there soon, and I DO apreciate your help. Last thing I want is to be rude in a karate dojo.
  • Jesse, Wonderful. But I little late for me. (LOL). I whish you would have writen this before my visit in 2009 to Naha. Would have made things easier. No worries. I will use this for my next visit there next year. This time, I will be bringing some students. Maybe I will see you over there again. Take care friend. Yours in budo, Chris (Somers, WI USA)
  • Katherine Loukopoulos
    Good Job Jesse!
  • RH Gutierrez
    Great article again and thanks for mentioning Taba Sensei. I had the honor of training under him a few times. I became part of his organization because of his treatment of visitors
  • Jeff
    Good article Jesse!I have lived here for 30 years, and have been involved as a karate-ka off and on for many, but being associated with the US military I trained on-base (no real dojo) under different instructors, my first being the late Seikichi Odo Sensei (Okinawa Kenpo). A few years ago I joined a traditional Okinawa dojo in my home town of Yomitan. Now you would think that after 30 years of living here there I would not be many surprises in store for me. Wrong! There is not many weeks that go by that I am confronted with various things that at times make me scratch my head and wonder. I have learned to just accept a lot on face value and not to question things in a manner that gives off the impression that you may disagree or question something. It’s ok to question, but not to pass judgment.And yes! The Dojo Bar is a must see!
  • Great stuff as usually! Something that would be interesting also is what to see over there, like the Kings Castle, Ocean Expo Park and Churaumi Aquarium, Habu park and the caves under that and the beaches, ruins and temples to visit etc. Where and how to go there.
  • Teresita
    I simply couldn't leave your website before suggesting that I really loved the usual information a person provide for your guests? Is gonna be again continuously in order to check up on new posts
  • k larkin
    Hi Jess, love the article, it's really good piece of information. do they have any wado ryu dojo on the island
  • Joya
    Hi jesseThank you for that great article. I am very much interested in visiting Okinawa in summer 2014 but I read about the taifuns and the rainy days.. but I am not so sure about the quality of those information.. Which month would you recommend to visit and train in okinawa? What about august? Thank you
    • Joya-san, August is perfect if you like hot and humid! I will be there too :)
    • Jeff Hazelbaker
      August is super "HOT" and its in the middle of typhoon season. I love April and May and September / October.
  • Sayeda Mohammed
    Please I want to continue to prepare the way for a visit For traditional karate training specifically I'm from Egypt
  • JGrey
    Thanks for this great article, Jesse! karateMom asked my first question, but here's my second: Do you know of a dojo in Okinawa that teaches Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu? I saw that 2 of the 5 schools you listed were Shorin Ryu, but I know there are different lineages & Matsubayashi is a bit different from the others I've seen. I studied it at one point for a couple of years and would love to study it in Okinawa, where it was born. Thanks in advance!
    • Jeanie-san, the HQ dojo of Matsuyabashi-ryu is actually located just behind the main shopping street in Naha (Kokusai Dori). Check it out! ;)
      • JGrey
        Arigato gozaimashita, Jesse. I most certainly will! :)
  • Hi Jeanie, you will find that there are many dojo that teach Matsubayashi Ryu karatedo in Okinawa : ) If you are serious about training / travelling to Okinawa a couple of options are these. Check out the WMKA web site which will show you the various Kodokan dojo and their locations and contact information. Alternatively visit the website "Okinawa traditional karate liaison bureau " ( Miguel Da Luz ) who can help and facilitate such a visit to Matsubayashi Ryu and many other dojo on the island.Regards, Tim
    • JGrey
      Thanks so much for the info, Tim. It'll take me a while to plan this trip, but it's been a dream of mine to study Matsubayashi Ryu in Okinawa since I had to move away from my dojo. You've given me some great resources to look into.
  • Jesse san. The HQ for Kodokan Matsubayashi Ryu Okinawa is now found at / with Kaicho Yoshitaka Taira, Jichaku dojo, Urasoe. It is our understanding now that Nagamine Hombu, Kumoji is now formerly closed and this historical dojo,sadly may not be with us much longer.
  • Enrico
    Hi mate,many thanks for your information I would like to go to Okinawa for at least six month and as your advise to Kenshinkai of Hokama Tetsuhiro sensei (Goju-ryu). is it possible to work and train in Okinawa or to be Uchideshi. Do you know how can I live ( work and train) in Okinawa? Thank you so much for your time and your article.
  • Gregor
    Hello! I'd like to know if there are any shotokan dojos there too, where I could go to train for a month or a bit more. If anyone has any racomandation please reply.
  • Jennifer
    Thank you for your article.How does one contact a Master to ask to train under if there is no person to introduce them? You mentioned preparing long before going and I'm curious how that works.Where do most people stay while training?Is this advice applicable for both male and females, or is anything different?Thank you.
  • Louis-Philippe Caron
    Hello Jesse, I know that sounds like an unimportant detail but I want to know if the amount of money I wuld give is enough. If I was planning to train for a month in Okinawa. What would be reasonable $ ?
  • John
    Thanks in advance for sending me an email. I am a video trained Shotokan practitioner. Also learned Kenpo and boxing on my own. I paid a local 7th Dan in Goju to make an assessment of my skill level and after a two hour private session which included kumite he said techniques and skill was equal to most 2 nd Dan and that my Western boxing was decent golden gloves level. Mind you I have been self training solo for three years. That being said would I be welcome in an Okinawa dojo? I normaly practice three days for about an hour each session. On two alternate days I run sprints and lift weights for 45 minutes. Thanks again for input.
  • julian soto
    Hello jesse..I have a question ..I'm considering traveling to Okinawa to train in karate I already have a black belt in tkd ,I would like to know how much do the dojo's charge per month if you could tell me in dollars and are the hotels or apartments cheap ..thanks
  • julia
    Hello, Is it possible to do a one hour session somewhere? could you recommend anywhere. i know that it sounds super touristy but my partner and i are only there for one day and would love to give it a go. thank you!
  • Arjun
    Hi Jesse, very nice article, my sensei always says " domo arigato gosatai masta"" in dojo after class. but i am not sure what exactly the meaning is and whats the history behind it, could you please let me know?
    • Masaru Hoshi
      Arjun,Arigato means literaly "thank you", in Japanese. The most formal way of saying is "Dömo Arigato gozaimashita", which nearly means "thank you very much". It's tradition in many styles thanking your comrades, your sensei and all the those who influence the lineague you now study.
  • Masaru Hoshi
    Jesse-San, konnichiwa.First of all, congratulations for your website and all the work you develop around it. It's absolutely exciting.I started training karate a little "old", when I was 31. I was granted my brown belt last year on kenpo karate. I've been also training yoseikan karate for the last two years because I was interested on learning how a more traditional karate style looks like.Going to Okinawa and training with a honorable master is one of my long-time dreams. I have this friend of mine who was granted his shodan last year with whom I was planning visiting Okinawa and training on a Shorin Ryu dojo, most probably under sensei Higa Minoru orientation as he was highly recommended by one of our Yoseikan karate sensei.Unfortunately I'll be moving from where I live now to another town, where I'll have to start over at another karate school, probably from white belt. My question is: do you think it's still advised keeping this trip in mind for the next year, even though I'll surely not be a shodan?My best regards.
  • Massimo
    Deare Jesse, thank you for your website, it provides very useful insights in okinawan karate . In these days I am planning a trip around Japan and I will have the pleasure to spend a few days in Okinawa as well. I would really like to train once ore twice in an Okinawan Dojo, to experience the Old Way and gather as much knowledge from the Great Masters as possible. Question is which dojo would you recommend to get the best experience as a foreigner shotokan practitioner with little japanese knowledge and little time available? Thank you for your time, Massimo
  • noviard
    this website very infomative to peoples who want to know more about karate and editorial easy to understand. dear jesse....my daughter practice karate in shito ryu karate-do Indonesia since 2010, he realy want to go to japan for practice kata, after she graduate high school next year. she told me about hasegawa karate school..etc.. etc, but i've no idea how to sign up there,how to get information and what condition. :)) i realy duno nothing about that. could you give us some advise or information ? regards
  • bahar
    thank you Jesse, Miguel,the liason bureau and all the participating dojos. two related questions:(1) Can one go to train in an Okinawa Dojo as an absolute beginner? I have 7 to 8 weeks that I could be in Okinawa this coming winter, and I'd like to start karate training there.. Well, I might be able to start a little bit in the todaima dojo in Figueres, Spain, to do a couple of hours per week of shito-ryu during the few months before my trip (I'm not sure though, because the schedule and location are not exactly practical for me). (2)Is the difference between shito-ryu and shorin-ryu very great? I mean, would what I could learn of shito-ryu here be useful in a Dojo in Okinawa?thanks again. take care, bahar
  • Mike Sullivan
    Hey Jesse, really enjoyed reading about your perspective of training on Okinawa. I have recently had the luck of acquiring a job there and would like to learn karate there but I'm 47 and a beginner, would any of the dojos be willing to take me on as a student? I will be there for the next three years, if that helps. Thanks for the great information.
  • James Foong
    Hi Jesse, i had my shodan during my school years, now due to nature of work, i had to travel around the world for my current job.thank you so much for the information in this article. wonderful !i am wondering, do you have any recommendation which local dojo or office we can review the programmes and the durations of stay in Okinawa for the karate training purpose?i am looking forward to hear from your reply.James Shodan (YR 2006) Goshin-Ryu Karate MALAYSIA
  • Kate
    thank you Jesse-san. i have a couple of questions, thank you. it looks like you haven't been on this article with answers for a couple of years, but here goes anyway. my husband studies Okinawa karate in a non-mcdojo. i am interested in teaching English in Japan and he really would prefer Okinawa for the karate reason. what would it take for him to acquire a visa if he didn't work and only practiced karate? also, it seems there are not a lot of teaching options there b/c schools they tend to hire from the military base, so should it be heartbreaking to him if we had to go to the mainland or somewhere else and he studied there? thank you, Kate
  • Gina
    Thank you for this, it was really interesting. I was wondering if I could ask a question- my husband used to practise karate some years ago. He has continued to love it (he is in awe of Master Higaonna- I hope I spelled that correctly), but has been unable to practise for various reasons. We currently live in Japan, and are planning to visit Okinawa at some point. I was wondering, do you think it would be possible to arrange a day for him to train, just basics or something as it has been so long, in a way that I could surprise him? If not, not to worry, but if it was possible I would love to be able to do that.Thanks in advance,Gina
  • Jennifer
    Awesome article Jesse! Very helpful! I have a few more questions, I'm blue belt and haven't practice since I was at high school (I'm now 24), do you think a month or so in a dojo would be too much to start with? Or are there different levels? Cheers Jen
  • Hector A Perez
    Jesse i want to thank you in advance, for sharing all the Katas videos on youtube relate to Goju Ryu Karate Do, the bunkai following them are so informative. I have notice that there are a number of Katas not presented under Chojon Miyagi, but i guest they have been develop later. Thank you once again love this page, i do want to visit Okinawa Japan one day, but i will need to find a full package that can help me.
  • mehboob Hasan
    Hi i heard that food and all things are very costly in okinawa. Can you give us an idea
  • idiri
    I am going to japan and I am looking for a 2 days ( from April 6 th to 7 th)training with a master in Naha( Oshiro zeneï or an other). Could you help me to find a school? and the price, I just need lessons no accomodation. i am 6 dan. I hope to hear from you soon, thanks a lot best regards
  • James
    Jesse-son I was. Always wondering how do the living situations work in okanowa
  • Michael
    Advice for contacting the Jundokan Dojo and training there? Possible trip this May for 10 days. I only want to train at the Jundokan (Goju-ryu). Thanks
  • Taka
    Hi Jesse I would love to visit Okinawa and train. I recently graded to a yellow belt. Will the masters generally accept someone who is still a begginner?
  • diosdado
    laoag city, Philippines April 6, 2017 sir. I plan that one of these coming years, after retirement, I will go to Okinawa and personally experience karate training where karate originated. I like to learn Karate training as my way of physical fitness. This is my primary purpose. Learning martial art to know about unarmed fighting is secondary and incidental to my purpose. The problem is I do not have any truly formal training in karate except what i learned(Shotokan style) for a few weeks during high school; and a little Aikido from a local club. The Okinawan Karate which I like to train is Euchi Ryu to be under that Sensie Katsuji Tamayoshi which i saw in youtube. Thanks.
  • Sunpreet sigh sidhu
    Sir Oss Which is the better karate japanese or okinawan karate for kumite for training

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