Judo on Okinawa;back in the day

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.
And we are not getting any younger. Back then at age 20 or so it did not occur to me that someday when I was 81 those guys would be history and me too!!!
 
And we are not getting any younger. Back then at age 20 or so it did not occur to me that someday when I was 81 those guys would be history and me too!!!
I personally like looking at the history of who brought it over and how you were perceived by the Japanese and Okinawan masters
 
I personally like looking at the history of who brought it over and how you were perceived by the Japanese and Okinawan masters
I was stationed at Naha AB with my Nisei friend who was not treated as well as me by the locals. The reason for that was the way the Japanese had treated Okinawa in the past. You can search some of this and learn much about the Chinese and Japanese invasions of Okinawa. After my friend and Naha Judo Club instructor returned home to his wife I took a break from Judo and spent most of my time doing karate with Nagamine sensei and some with Miyazato sensei.

Both sensei and dojo members treated me like one of their sons. They both taught me the Okinawan language, at least some conversation speak, and translated karate terminology to Okinawan. We only had a hand full of American GI's and one guy from Canada.

The first American to earn black belt from Nagamine was a guy named Wax in 1958 I think. He awarded me shodan in late 1962 and for some years I was uneasy about that due to my short time with his dojo, but learned later that he felt I was ready and hoped I would spread his particular "style" of Shorin-ryu around. I later joined up with a Kajukenbo Kenpo black bets, Tony Lasit, who used me to teach Nagamine's kata and stuff.

So, in a manner I fulfilled Nagamine sensei's wishes. So I remain shodan in Matsubashi-ryu. It was fun and fulfilling to study under such a master, even though I didn't appreciate it then.
 
Oh, I remember Miyazato would ask me and a few other GI's to some up to Miyagi's "Garden Dojo" the train and then help weed out the gardens around the dojo. It was fun and hard work as well. He would in turn teach us Goju-ryu. However, he was also a great Judoka and teacher. A fun guy to be around. I think he was around 50 or so years old then.
 
I spent five of my eight Air Force years on a mobile simulator that was moved to eleven air bases to spend a month training B-52 and KC-135 flight crews. So, training for Judo tournaments was out of the question, but I did workout at the various base Judo clubs and met some great Judoka and sensei. While I had to stop competing spending time with the various Judo clubs and learns from some good Judo people. My best competition days were overseas on Okinawa and Japan, but I did manage to compete a few times even during my traveling days. Back in those days in the 1960s going to tournaments was not as important to us as just practicing Judo and spending time with friends.

Yeah, much of the shiai time was between dojos in kohaku shiai; red-white team where each dojo would line up the best and fight until only one as left standing. Lots of fun.
 
I was on Camp Schawb but use to take the bus down to Kadena. I was USMC infantry so we didnt have any woman around us so we would all go to the Air force Eclub. Never trained anything over there I was young and dumb and cared more about drinking and looking for woman then anything else. Looking back now I'm pretty mad at myself for missing the opportunity to train in Oki.
 
I was on Camp Schawb but use to take the bus down to Kadena. I was USMC infantry so we didnt have any woman around us so we would all go to the Air force Eclub. Never trained anything over there I was young and dumb and cared more about drinking and looking for woman then anything else. Looking back now I'm pretty mad at myself for missing the opportunity to train in Oki.
You and me both. I was at Foster in 83, used to work with Angi Uezu. Did I train at his dojo? Nope. Stupid of me!
 
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.....
That video was moved to:
and my part starts at 04:06.
 
Back
Top