Gendai no Bushi – Nakamoto Masahiro (pt. 2)

[continued from part 1]

Nakamoto-sensei is very fond of travelling.

During his youth he actually made a long trip to America, demonstrating Kobudo in many cities, and today he has visited a couple of other countries too, including Norway, Denmark, Belgium and Russia.

But one country stands out from the rest:

China.

-The first time I went to China was in 1986. Actually, our Karate and Kobudo is originally from China, but it was mixed with our local old traditional martial art when it arrived in Okinawa. I have been fortunate to go to China on scholarships from the Chinese government to study their martial arts, and they pay for everything. Totally I have been there 24 times.

What most people don’t know is that Nakamoto-sensei is also a master of the almost extinct art of Chinese Dog Boxing, which he found out was once practiced in old Shuri district of Okinawa, and therefore decided to resurrect. Dog Boxing is, simply speaking, a traditional Chinese style of Kung-fu ground fighting, hailing from the province of Fujian.

Nakamoto-sensei subduing the author (me)

-When you stand up and fight, it is an advantage if you are tall. But when you sit, or lie down, shorter people actually have an advantage. It is also an advantage for women, and in many Chinese temples they have sculptures of female goddesses that use sitting and lying techniques. Of course, nowadays standing techniques with high round kicks are popular in China as well, but seated techniques are more practical, actually. Karate masters today only teach standing techniques, and don’t know seated or lying techniques. In my dojo I teach it all, and not many people today know those kinds of techniques.

And believe me, Nakamoto-sensei knows his stuff. I’ve myself been on the receiving end far too many times to enjoy it anymore.

-I always ask students this: Where are the weakest points below your waist?
I point to the crotch, then the knees. He nods, and says next comes the shin. He casually taps his shin, and I know what he means. Nakamoto-sensei has been training his shin bones for many years, and one of his favorite tricks is to bring forward a big sledgehammer, and repeatedly slam it into his shin bone. The sound is horrible, but he just smiles. -Even the most hardened body builders will fall when you hit their shin bone, but I don’t have a weak spot there at all.

And the reason is simple:

-In China I learned to harden my shin bone by hitting it with a stick one thousand times every morning and evening, and then massaging it with seven special herbs. The herbs are very important. If you don’t use them, you will get hurt by this type of training. Many people who try to harden themselves forget the herbs, and have trouble walking later in life.

Speaking of life: Nakamoto sensei has four sons, who all practiced Karate as kids.

–All of them reached black belt before they entered high-school. But after that, I let them do whatever they wanted. My first son plays Japanese drums. The second one continued Karate and Kobudo. My third son became a boxer, and actually reached third place in the All Kyushu Championships.  But one day he was hit straight in the eye, so he lost some of his sight, and therefore had to quit boxing. My fourth son plays basket ball.

Nakamoto-sensei, with his son Mamoru-san in the foreground, during 'mokuso'

With K-1, UFC, and other modern forms of martial arts taking over Japan, and the world, many traditional masters feel threatened. But not Nakamoto-sensei.

–If my students want to, they can participate in things like that. I don’t say yes, but I don’t say no. As far as I know, none of my students have competed in those sorts of martial arts.

–The goal in my dojo is a little different. Big tournaments like those are more concerned with making money. Modern martial arts are kind of like race cars. They go really fast for a short time. But my goal is to be healthy my whole life, training my heart and mind, my spirit, living long and being happy. I don’t want to be a winner for only a short while. But everyone needs to have a free will. Some people like being race cars. There are different kinds of people.

On a side note, Nakamoto-sensei wants to warn people who are planning on competing in full-contact tournaments. –I know many boxers, and kick boxers, who have competed a lot and damaged their nervous system. When they are young they don’t notice anything, but as they get older they get handicapped and have a hard time walking and standing. But of course you never read about that in magazines, or media. I think they should inform about those things though.

For Nakamoto-sensei Karate and Kobudo are inseparable. He often likes to hold his fists in front of him, saying that they are like brother and sister.

Karate and Kobudo.

-In Kobudo you use tools, weapons, for fighting. In Karate it’s only the body. Through Kobudo you learn what the strengths and weaknesses of the different weapons are. So if somebody should attack you with a knife, you know the weaknesses of that kind of weapon, and have a bigger chance of surviving, and winning. If you only train Karate, it’s hard to know how a knife works.

And Nakamoto truly knows how a knife works, as it happens to be his speciality. Nunchaku against knife, or sometimes a wet towel against knife.

Sometimes only his hands.

It doesn’t really matter.

Not if you’ve been training your whole life.

3 Comments

  • ANDREY TAMPA BAY FL
    2010-1,5. 11 PM TAMPA TIMES.OSHU !!VERY GOOD AND VERY INSPIRING.CONGRATS WE NEED MORE OF THAT.KEEP YOUR GOOD WORKS.AFTER 1000 DAYS OF TRAINING WE ARE A BEGINNERAND AFTER 10 000 DAYS WE BEGIN TO LEARN.OSHU !!!ANDREY.
  • ANDREY TAMPA BAY FL
    OSHU !!!I DON T KNOW IF YOU REALIZENAKAMOTO SENSEIWAS BORN IN THE YEAR OF THE TIGER (1938).WHEN HE TALK ABOUT HIS FIRST TRIP IN CHINA1986 STILL IN THE YEAR OF THE TIGER2010 STILL IN THE YEAR OF THE TIGER.KARMA AND CHINESE ASTROLOGY WORK HAND IN HANDCHINESE ASTROLOGY 12-24-36-48 YEARS OLD(1986)AND KARMA BY 7,14-21-28-35-42-49(1987)NEW CHANGE IN THE FUTUR LIFE.PROBABLY SOMETHING MAJOR ALSO HAPPEN IN 1998WE HAVE TO ASK HIM ??OSHU !!!NAMASTE, ANDREY..
    • Vimal
      Sensei AndreyGlad to know that you have used words like Karma and Namaste, having Indian Origin.It conveys great sense.And, I appreciate contribution of the Author as also yours in enlightening people in Karate.Oshu and NamasteVimal

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