Okinawa

What We Value at our Dojo

I recently started listing out what we value at our dojo. It’s because I was thinking of Sei Shōnagon. She was a writer who lived in service to Japanese royalty. Even though Sei Shōnagon died nearly a thousand years ago, we can get an idea of her personality, intellect, life and values due to her…

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Japan’s Children’s Day

Because we teach Okinawan martial arts, and because our kids’ karate program is popular, our dojo takes an interest in Japan’s Children’s Day. A friend visited Japan recently and spoke about the carp flags flying in preparation of this holiday. It takes place as the third and last national holiday in Japan’s Golden Week. May…

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Ryukyu Kempo’s Core Principles 4-5

In the United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance, we apply five core principles to our martial arts training. These principles also help us to be more effective and successful in other areas of life. In my last blog, we covered the first three principles with both martial arts and life examples. Here we will finish up with…

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Traditions for a Dojo New Year

The New Year in Japan is a time of renewal and celebration, just like in other countries. At our dojo, we enjoy special traditions for entering a dojo new year together. Our traditions come from Japanese culture and martial arts. LAST CLASS BEFORE A DOJO NEW YEAR One way that we celebrate a dojo new…

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The Okinawan Sweet Potato

The Okinawan sweet potato was one of the few things that I missed out on when we visited Okinawa. There, purple sweet potatoes are a part of the culture in the cooler months of autumn and winter. Small trucks with ovens on the back go around selling fresh roasted sweet potatoes. I hear they are…

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Veggies Please! How to Increase Vegetables

Okinawan elders live longer, more physically active lives well into old age. And later they spend less years in nursing homes at the end of life. One of the things that helps them keep robust physical health is their diet. And the most obvious difference in nutrition? Okinawans traditionally eat a lot more veggies than…

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Vegetables of Okinawa: Top 10

The traditional Okinawan diet had over seven times more vegetables than the modern American diet. Why does this matter? Many tout the diet of elders in Okinawa as one of the main reasons they live active, healthy lives to over 100 years old. The biggest difference in nutrition? Okinawans traditionally fill up on vegetables (instead…

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OKINAWA TRIP 21: GRAND FINALE

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger On the first leg of our Okinawa trip, we stopped overnight in Hawaii, and got to witness a beautiful sunset along with a rainbow.  That night inspired this haiku: Waikiki sunset! tourists clamor in the street soba in bellies Here are two highlights of our trip on video, as promised.  These kata…

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OKINAWA TRIP 18: ON THE ROAD FROM NAHA

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger I enjoyed comparing and contrasting the everyday things like road workers and signs. Naha: the city’s road sites adjacent to Shuri Castle: I found this interesting: the center high-rise is completely covered in tarps as they do construction on it: This elf sign adorned several locations that we saw on the road. …

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OKINAWA TRIP 17: SHURI CASTLE

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger On Saturday, July 4th, we went to Shuri Castle, in the capitol city of Naha.  There were a lot of (mostly) Asian tourists there, and it was fairly crowded.  Our hosts worked their magic with the attendants in the full parking garage and finagled enough parking for our whole group. Shuri Castle…

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