Judo on Okinawa;back in the day

Jeff_Beish

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Back in my younger days while stationed at Naha Air Base, Okinawa we started a Judo class at the base gym in late-1960 and around mid-1961 the classes kind of petered out. Then in early 1962 some Judoka came in and rejuvenated the classes, but the gym hired a local sensei, by the name of Uehara, to run the class. Since it has been so long ago I cannot remember his other name, but he was all Okinawa Judo champ for three years sometime before 1960 and should have been mentioned and/or photographed somewhere at some time.

Anyone here ever practiced Judo on Okinawa either at Naha AB or Kadena during the 1960's? Maybe so you may have remembered this guy?
 

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Back in my younger days while stationed at Naha Air Base, Okinawa we started a Judo class at the base gym in late-1960 and around mid-1961 the classes kind of petered out. Then in early 1962 some Judoka came in and rejuvenated the classes, but the gym hired a local sensei, by the name of Uehara, to run the class. Since it has been so long ago I cannot remember his other name, but he was all Okinawa Judo champ for three years sometime before 1960 and should have been mentioned and/or photographed somewhere at some time.

Anyone here ever practiced Judo on Okinawa either at Naha AB or Kadena during the 1960's? Maybe so you may have remembered this guy?
He didn't also coach boxing, did he Dusty?
 

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John Roseberry??? USMC

Great Grandmaster John Roseberry Shihan has been training in judo and karate since 1955. While in the US Marines John Roseberry Shihan lived in Okinawa studying Karate under Seikichi Toguchi-Sensei (a student of Grandmaster Chojun Miyagi) in Okinawa, Japan. Roseberry Shihan also studied Judo under Takaski Matsumoto Sensei and at the Kodokan in Japan. Roseberry Shihan also holds the honor of being a Judo Champion in Okinawa, Japan, and the US Marines. John Roseberry Shihan also trained with many other Okinawan Martial Arts Legends including Ei'ichi Miyazato & Sensei, Masanobu Shinjo. Presently, John Rosberry Sensei holds a 10th degree black belt in karate, 7th degree black belt in judo and 3rd degree black belt in Aikido. He is the founder and head director of the Internationally renowned International Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan Budo Organization in Lincoln, Nebraska.
 
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Jeff_Beish

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He didn't also coach boxing, did he Dusty?
That I do not know. He was a close friend to Miyazato sensei, our Judo sensei at Kadena Air Base and also at the Naha Butokuden (we called it the Naha Police Dojo or Ryukyu Police Academy). Miyazato was also a big shot in Gojuryu and Uehara would compare his karate with mine. Hey, it has been so long ago I have nearly forgotten what he looked like, but he resembled on of the stone statues on Christmas Island :)
 
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Jeff_Beish

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John Roseberry??? USMC

Great Grandmaster John Roseberry Shihan has been training in judo and karate since 1955. While in the US Marines John Roseberry Shihan lived in Okinawa studying Karate under Seikichi Toguchi-Sensei (a student of Grandmaster Chojun Miyagi) in Okinawa, Japan. Roseberry Shihan also studied Judo under Takaski Matsumoto Sensei and at the Kodokan in Japan. Roseberry Shihan also holds the honor of being a Judo Champion in Okinawa, Japan, and the US Marines. John Roseberry Shihan also trained with many other Okinawan Martial Arts Legends including Ei'ichi Miyazato & Sensei, Masanobu Shinjo. Presently, John Rosberry Sensei holds a 10th degree black belt in karate, 7th degree black belt in judo and 3rd degree black belt in Aikido. He is the founder and head director of the Internationally renowned International Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan Budo Organization in Lincoln, Nebraska.
If I met John it would have been at one of the weekly shiai at the Naha Police Dojo. We mingled with GI's from all the branches back then. He may have been one of our guys at Kadena, see attached photo, kneeling 2nd from right?

I think I took the photo. Too many Moons ago to remember.
 

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It is very possible that it is him, a very young him by the picture that is. But, back then we WERE all young. :)
 

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There was also a Frank Van Lenten there, back in that day. GoJu Karate.
 
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My work hours varied so I would attend Nagamine's dojo practice early in the mornings or early afternoons. Since knowing Miyazato so well he would invite us to his Goju ryu dojo at times and work out with us. I stuck with Nagamine. Here is a video of his dojo class and I was in it! look at 4:09 fro a skinny round-eye white belt :)

Could never find anyone who did karate from Okianwa after I returned to the States -- until many years later, so I took up something else and just continued Judo until the age thing got to me. :) Now I am a retired fat guy.....
 

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I hope you guys continue this thread for many more pages. I could follow this stuff all day.

By the way, Jeff Round-eye, welcome to the forum, bro. :)
 
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According to some Net sources Nagamine had an American student, James Wax, who he promoted to shodan sometime back in 1958 or 59 and left Okinawa in 1960, a few months before I was assigned there. Wax was the first American to be awarded black belt from Nagamine sensei. There were several other GIs there during my time, including my Nisei friend who was in my basic training and tech school classes before being stationed at NahaAB, but most of them dropped out. Unfortunately my friend left the Air Force and returned to California in late 1961. Also, James Wax went to live in Dayton, Ohio and from 1963 until the end of 1964 I was there TDY ever few months but never knew he existed! So, I missed meeting him in 1960 and then later on; but would have been great to have practiceed with him because I never found anyone who had been taught by Nagamine sensei again. Also, some karate guy I correspond with on Facebook told me that I may be the only American graded black belt by Nagamine sensei alive today! Hum, such a deal. I do remember his son who was in high school.


I really never questioned sensei's motives for awarding me that rank but thought it was premature, but he was the boss and we never question the boss even though we only communized with broken Japanese/Okinawa and some pigeon English, but mostly grunts. Anyway, I went back to full time Judo and only took up the other stuff a few years later. Still wish someone who was stationed at Naha and knew Uehara would pop in. He was a friend who was sensei and beer drinking buddy after class.
 
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Jeff_Beish

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I hope you guys continue this thread for many more pages. I could follow this stuff all day.

By the way, Jeff Round-eye, welcome to the forum, bro. :)

From the low response here and elsewhere I'm not sure Judo interests many people these days. While I only visit three MA sites they all seem to be lonely places.

BTW, as a point of interest; when at the karate dojo we would randori on the wooden floors now and then. Such a deal! Many of my Okinawa karate friends were also Judoka as well. Actually, the tounge-and-grove wood floors were quite flexable and falling on them is not has bad as one my think.
 
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These days Jeff everything is MMA. It was much easier in the old days when it was just Judo or karate. Both Roseberry and Van Lenten were fairly well known on Okinawa but because they were Marines they probably traveled in different circles.
 
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Jeff_Beish

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These days Jeff everything is MMA. It was much easier in the old days when it was just Judo or karate. Both Roseberry and Van Lenten were fairly well known on Okinawa but because they were Marines they probably traveled in different circles.
In those time we all knew each other -- briefly. Besides Okinawans many of the military Judoka would get together at the Police Dojo and wrok out. Not sure when John Roseberry was there; my days were from late Nov 1960 until the end of Julyu 1962. Most of us felt like friends then, just our way.
 

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Back in my younger days while stationed at Naha Air Base, Okinawa we started a Judo class at the base gym in late-1960 and around mid-1961 the classes kind of petered out. Then in early 1962 some Judoka came in and rejuvenated the classes, but the gym hired a local sensei, by the name of Uehara, to run the class. Since it has been so long ago I cannot remember his other name, but he was all Okinawa Judo champ for three years sometime before 1960 and should have been mentioned and/or photographed somewhere at some time.

Anyone here ever practiced Judo on Okinawa either at Naha AB or Kadena during the 1960's? Maybe so you may have remembered this guy?

My Sensei trained in Okinawa in the early 70's. He received his Shodan from Tamaki Sensei. While researching Tamaki Sensei in Naha, I came across your story of your time there and you referenced "Seigen Tamaki". I was hoping to inquire more about him.
 
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Jeff_Beish

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My Sensei trained in Okinawa in the early 70's. He received his Shodan from Tamaki Sensei. While researching Tamaki Sensei in Naha, I came across your story of your time there and you referenced "Seigen Tamaki". I was hoping to inquire more about him.
It has been just too many years. The only thing I have now is my notes from the early 1960's on my PC. Sorry. We associated with many Okinawans back then, but remembering them is quite difficult now.

Jeff
 

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It has been just too many years. The only thing I have now is my notes from the early 1960's on my PC. Sorry. We associated with many Okinawans back then, but remembering them is quite difficult now.

Jeff
Thank you for your reply. I totally understand.

My sensei, Fuskushima Sensei, is pictured on the left. While in Okinawa he helped to develop many great Judoka. After serving in the army, Fukushima Sensei moved back to Hawaii and started a very successful club. Two of his students from Okinawa, Keith Nakasone and Kevin Asano, went on to compete in the Olympics.

I appreciate your writings on Judo in Okinawa. It give me a glimpse of what life was like there.
 

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Shatteredzen

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Thank you for your reply. I totally understand.

My sensei, Fuskushima Sensei, is pictured on the left. While in Okinawa he helped to develop many great Judoka. After serving in the army, Fukushima Sensei moved back to Hawaii and started a very successful club. Two of his students from Okinawa, Keith Nakasone and Kevin Asano, went on to compete in the Olympics.

I appreciate your writings on Judo in Okinawa. It give me a glimpse of what life was like there.

I was stationed in Okinawa between Courtney, Hansen and Schwab from 03 to 06, there was a group of Air Force guys doing Judo at Naha who we rolled with a few times but I didn't know them or have many interactions with them. My group met at the Courtney gym for most of those three years until we all rotated out. While we were there we made it a point to stop in on other schools to observe/spar and talk shop/wave howdy. Isshinkan dojo in Naha is still there, many of the Karate schools have made it but the big thing in and around Kadena is BJJ nowadays and I know the Judo schools near Gate 2 have switched over to MMA with new owners.
 
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Jeff_Beish

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I may have known Fukushima Sensei back then and thought he was my age, but not so; he was a few years older. At my age memories of those days are foggy at best and at times I wonder if they are real or not. Judo was a total different world then and the politics that I encountered years later soured my feelings, so in 1989 I packed my Judogi up and walked away from it all. In my youth we would work out so much we bled on our Judogi and was happy about it. We did not give a hoot about rank but that was not so in the USA where rank is the total thing. I hate it. Shodan is the only important rank. After that it is just not important.
 
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Jeff_Beish

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Since Miyazato sensei was President of the Okinawan Judo federation the U.S. Air Force would invite him to accompany the Air Force Judo Team from Okinawa to Japan when we needed a coach. He liked that because it was a free trip to Japan to see relatives and catch up on politics. He was a very good Judoka as well as Goju-ryu karate master. I remember once he drove me to his new dojo in north side of Naha and allowed me to train there for an hour or so. After that I would go up once a week to train and learn from him. Goju is a very different type of karate that I was used to and I was usually drained of energy after practice. At any rate I would never practice Matsubayashi-ryu or Goju-ryu karate formerly at a dojo again. Miyazato sensei passed away in December 11, 1999. Eiichi Miyazato : biography - Eiichi Miyazato biography, Early life, Later life, Karate career (.Eiichi Miyazato - Interesting stories about famous people, biographies, humorous stories, photos and videos.)

FB_IMG_1570635019890-768x527.jpg

Photo from 1951 in the garden of Miyagi Chojun's house. Behind the Master (sitting), standing from left to right Miyazato Ei'Ichi, Meitoku Yagi and Seikichi Toguchi (Ei'Ichi Miyazato (1922-1999) - AKKKA)
 

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Great thread , keep it going because remember you guys were the pioneers of karate & Judo back in the US. You brought it back and spread the word.
 

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