Karate’s Body Conditioning

At a special evening class at Okikukai Headquarters, most of the current high ranking Shohei Uechi Ryu Senseis including the current Okikukai President Nakahodo Sensei was in attendance.

The class was a traditional class with junbi undo and hojo undo at the beginning of class. Then came the kotae, a regular body conditioning exercise phase that is heavily emphasized in the Uechi Ryu style of karate. Every student was asked to take off their gi tops, and then was asked to break up into three groups to be tested in sanchin. Sanchin testing is very helpful in not just body conditioning, but allows the practitioner to have full one on one guidance from the instructor.

First class at Okikukai Headquarters

This is a picture of my first Karate class at Okikukai Headquarters. I did not participate in class, but I had the honor to sit and talk with Okikukai vice president Arakaki Sensei as we watched the class.

Yamashiro Sensei lead the first class to a group of mostly European students that just arrived on the island earlier that day. It was a very interesting sight for me at the time, because I had never seen a traditional Okinawan karate class being conducted. All of my karate class experiences has been from America and I only wondered how different the classes may be conducted in Okinawa. To my delight, many of the school (dojo) etiquette and beginning class formalities are very similar to what I had been taught in America. I did find that Yamashiro Sensei did have a different teaching style and different way of implementing basic exercises.

As I sat with Arakaki Sensei watching the class, sensei was very helpful in communicating what was happening during the class.