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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:11 pm 
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Before we go, while we travel, and when we return - this thread will serve as a place to keep track of our experiences from the Women's Friendship Tour.

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Last edited by Dana Sheets on Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 9:15 pm 
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Okay, you've been there for two days--why haven't we heard anything?! :D I know you all must be very busy, but I just wanted you to know that you are being thought of and I am looking forward to stories and copious amounts of pictures.

I am having to slow down my martial arts activities somewhat for the forseeable future, and will have to live vicariously through your experiences.

Only the best to all of you!


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 Post subject: Women on Okinawa
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:50 pm 
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Location: Washington DC
Check out a recent article on the Women's tour:


http://www.okinawa.usmc.mil/Public%20Af ... arate.html

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:48 pm 
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That is really nice Drew. Thanks for posting it.

Most Marines I have met do not realize that much of MCMAP was borrowed from the Okinawan arts.

Rich

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:12 pm 
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Rich,
That is true. One negative comment I've had about MCMAP is that the instructors I've worked with only know what they know, (if you know what I mean). Haven't been very receptive to understanding that many of the techniques come from Uechi, for example. Didn't want to see an alternate technique. I know you've helped to break that mold at the MACE that hasn't trickled down to the battalion level. Was happy to see the Women's tour would get a first hand look at the program. As you know, I'm a big supporter of the MCMAP and plan to take full advantage of the instructors who are resident in the battalion I will soon command.
Hope to hear more from Dana and crew when they get a chance.
Semper Fi.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:56 pm 
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Hello Hello Hello!!!

We're back! The trip of a lifetime. It's going to take a few days to sort out the notes and the pictures (I only took a measly 300 picts - others took over 1000). And wow.

No amount of the thanks to Peggy and Steve and Jack for making it all happen will be enough. I know I posted the schedule before we left - we'll the schedule didn't even come close to capturing all our experiences. I'll do my best over the next couple of weeks to write down impressions of what happened - but there's no way to cover it all. I hope some of my trip-mates will join in and write down their memeories too.

Here goes - memories of the Women's Friendship Tour 2004!

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Last edited by Dana Sheets on Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:13 pm 
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I'll start in Chicago - that's where the American contingent all met up for our flight to Okinawa. At the gate the first person Heather a and I recognized was Jack Summers. Jack is Peggy's teacher and was honoring us by accompanying us on our journey. Jack's prescence was "Big Time" for this group. He is well respected by the Okinawan teachers and well known on the island.

One by two or small group by group the other women arrived. Rhode Island, Mighigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Boston, Florida. We would be meeting the Canadians, the Germans (oooommmmpha!!!,) the Tokyo ladies and Peggy once we reached the island - almost 24 hours later.

WFT t-shirts, jackets, and greetings were passed around by all. We took a group shot in the airport and we got a little glimpse of what was to come during the next two weeks of picture taking. Have you ever taken a group photo where almost everyone in the the group had their own camera? Did you have over 20 people in your group? (Stay...STay...STAY!)

There was tangible excitement as we qued up to get onboard. We were going to Okinawa!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:17 pm 
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:)

http://www.okikukai.jp/English/info.htm

A taste of our moments at the Okikukai headquarters...and more to come.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:31 pm 
Welcome back glad you had such a great time, but we knew you would! :D

We will enjoy hearing your stories. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:45 pm 
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Welcome back. I'm waiting impatiently to hear about your trip!

Rich

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 Post subject: The Flights
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:56 am 
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The flight to Tokyo was long - but gave us plenty of time to get to know each other better - get in trouble with the purser for "congregating in the aisles" and take comical photos of everyone sleeping in their horseshoe pillows and eye shades. We all got some sleep, ate some terrible airplane food, and got our instructions for getting out of the aiport, through customs, and onto the bus that would take us across town to Hadena Airport and our final flight to Okinawa.

We all made it through immigration and customs without incidient and we were waiting for the bus and piled on board. It was a gray and rainy afternoon in Tokyo - but that did nothing to dampen our spirits. Some of the taller women in the group got their first taste of Japanese sized chairs and we all prayed we'd make it across town in time to catch the next flight

At Hadena airport you could see that sleep deprivation was setting in. We would sit with blank stares on our faces, some nodding off to sleep, some too tired to sleep. I'm sure we made a strong impression is our matching blue windbreakers. When they finally opened the gates for the flight we wouldn't wait to get to our seats and sleep. It is a long way to Okinawa.

I slept through the beverage service and was greeted by a little sticky telling me to ask for assistance when I woke up so that they could bring me a drink. Melon juice and a citrus flavored candy were swiftly brought by the flight attendant who was much more awake than I.

The plane also has a camera under the cockpit that they put up on the big screen so that you can watch the take off and the landing. Seeing the lights of the airstrip zooming up towards the plane gave me a whole new perspective on landing an airplane!!!

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 Post subject: The Arrival
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:04 am 
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Out of the plane, to baggage claim and through the doors we could see our welcoming committee.

We were greeting by quite a contingent of sensei along with Peggy Hess and the three women from Germany.

The sensei included (I think - because I'm doing this from memory and I didn't learn most of their names until the following morning...)

Mr. Inada - president of the Okikukai 9th dan
Mr. Takara - past president of the Okikukai 10th dan
Mr. Yonamine - he was in charge of our Okikukai workouts
Mr. Yomoshiro - treasurer of the Okikukai and in charge of the cultural exchange
Mr. Onmamine
Mr. Yonamine
Mr. Sakiyama
Mr. Kiyuna
Mr. Tobaru
Mr. Uechi (a different Uechi than Kanei's line) - he also served as an excellent translator for much of the tour)
Mr. Nakahodo
Mr. Asato
Mr. Arakaki
Mr. Tamayose (different from Mr. Tomoyose - who would greet us the following day)
Mr. Higa

If I've left off anyone I apologize and I may be able to fix it once I see some of the pictures.

In a few minutes the women from Canada arrived.

We were greeted by an address from Mr. Inada which went something like "Welcome to Okinawa. We are very glad you have come. You all look tired. We are honored that so many of you have come to Okinawa to train. We hope you will enjoy the training. The training will start in the morning. Have a good night."

We piled in the buses, drove about an hour to the hotel and got to see our home for the next two weeks.

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 Post subject: The Hotel
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:11 am 
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Kitahama Mansion Hotel

Six floors, four to a room. The rooms had a western bedroom (with mattress) and a tatami bedroom (with foutans on the floor). The common room came with a small couch a table, dining room style chairs on hardwood floors, a small fridge, a microwave, a sink, two gas burners, and some cabinet space.

The bathroom area had a washer/dryer combo (though our dryer was out of commission) a shower/bath room with a Japanese style tank bath and a room for the toilet. In what I consider to be a masterful design efficient - the top of the toilet has a spicket and a place for your soap. So you can use the water filling up the tank of the toilet to wash your hands. Probably not a good idea if your favorite pet uses your toilet as a water-bowl - but very useful in an area that often suffers from drought conditions. The water was almost turn off twice while we where there. Thankfully both times it rained. The hotel was about 3 km from the Okikukai headquarters and many wonderful people helped to pick us up and drop us off in a selection of cars and vans and busses to and from our various destinations.

We were dead tired. We got in the room, dropped our stuff, and went to bed. The vans were going to pick us up at 9:00 the next morning for our first workout at the Okikukai Headquarters.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:24 am 
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The vans arrived on time and we were wisked off for our first training. Boy were we excited! At the headquarters we were able to pick up our beautiful commemorative gi. The WFT logo was on a patch on the left breast of the jacket and our names were embroidered on the jacket and the pants. The left arm of the jacket had the 3 concentric circles that are the flag of Okinawa and April 2004.

Our team of teachers for the first monring included:
Mr. Inada, Mr. Takara, Mr. Nakahodo, Mr. Kiyuna, Mr. Onamine, and Mr. Yonamine. We started out with junbiundo and hojo-undo then we each did our kata in rotation in front of the various teachers. 3 sanchin, 3 seisan, 3 sanseiryu. During or after each kata the teachers would offer corrections. Personally I think the teachers did an excellent job of making corrections that would help each woman improve their kata for their own body structure.

It was fun to get different corrections from different teachers. Nice to see the similarities and the varions among their thinking.

I'll post some of what I received in terms of individual correction as well as comments that were given to the group.

Single Sanchin Thrusts:
-the target of the final strike must be inside the bodyline
-must be done with the elbows close to the body
-stop the retraction dead, stop the whole body, explode with the strike, the strike should stop dead.
-the target of the strike is just below the clavicle

Please keep in mind that as I go through this journal I'm going to post my understanding of the corrections I received. I'm not trying to tell anyone the right way to do anything and I don't even dare to claim that I completely understood everything that was being said. The transmission of karate across a language barrier is going to be flawed. Some other women on the tour may flat-out disagree with what I write. So please take these posts for what they are --- my impressions and memories of my experiences. Nothing more, nothing less. And words are just words, they can never substitute for training.

Double Sanchin Thrusts:
-the hands should close into fists before you retract them
-the fists should then be opened to finger tips by the time the arms end the retractions
-the retraction should stop dead and the whole body should stop dead. Then the strike should explode out.

Double Bushiken Strikes:
-the target for the upper thumb knuckle is the same as the target of the single fingertip strike
-the wrist of the lower hand must be bent back to keep the fingers out of the way so that the thumb knuckle strikes first. The fingers of the lower hand are parallel to the floor, not perpendicular for two of the three sets of targets of sanchin. The only time the lower hand fingers point to the floor is when you strike the final pair of points. However- when you show your sanchin only show 1 set of targets. Show the same set of targets for all three strikes.
-the target for the lower hand is inside the body line
-the target should be somewhere that you are able to grab the obliques after you hit with the thumb knuckle.

Seisan:
-the three shoken strikes are done from a regular sanchin stance. Neither an elongated sanchin stance nor a kiba dachi stance should be used - just regular sanchin.

It was hot, we were sweaty, and with 28 women on the tour, there should have been a long line for the bathroom - but we were too excited to drink. After the first workout we were much better and drank TONS more water. It was hot and humid. 75 degrees isn't so bad if you're in a t-shirt and shorts, But when you're in a full length canvass gi without airconditioning and working your but off - it's hot.

Another group of women were working on Yakosuko Kumite and a third group of women - those planning on testing for a dan rank - were pulled off to work separately as a group. I know that the group doing the 10 point Okikukai Yakosuko kumite learned a few new things - but I didn't have the opportunity to train that exercise during my visit.

After our cool down we bowed out. Our first workout in Okinawa was a huge success!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:45 am 
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Rich, Mary, Drew and Rick,

Thanks for your posts. As this journal unfolds you'll begin to see that we had very little free time. Some folks were able to use a cyber cafe a couple of times - but I was very focused on taking care of my body so that I could remain as injury free as possible. Which meant resting during almost every break. The extra walking in the heat to get to the cafe just wasn't something I felt up to.

I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself. I want to share as much detail as possible and capture as many experiences - as much for my own benefit as for those reading. Suffices to say - by the end of the day on the 17th we'd already had over 20 hours of training.

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