As a martial arts nerd, I frequent several martial arts forums and groups, but the groups that I have made the most connections through have been the Ryukyu Martial Arts Facebook Groups, which were founded by Ryan Parker Sensei. These groups have been a melting pot for martial artists from many backgrounds, and have generated plenty of deep, thought-provoking conversations. For years, a lot of the regular members of those groups have talked about how great it would be if we could all get together to train in real life. Well, now that time has finally come!
October 16-18, my dojo will be hosting a Ryukyu Martial Arts Friendship Gasshuku, which will be open to teen and adult students of any martial art, so long as they are interested in learning about the roots of karate. The event will not be your standard training camp, with everyone just working basics next to each other. Instead, we have gathered many very knowledgeable instructors from a variety of arts to lead sessions that will explore the techniques, principles, and methods of old Okinawan karate. It is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, featuring sessions with Jiro Shiroma (9th Dan, Hanshi, Shorin-Ryu), Chuck Merriman (10th Dan, Hanshi, Goju-Ryu), Richard Poage (5th Dan, Renshi, Shorin-Ryu), Ryan Parker (Bunkai and Kiko Expert), and many more! You will have the chance to experience several Okinawan arts, including Goju-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, KishimotoDi, and Yamane-Ryu. There will also be open exchange sessions for participants to talk, share knowledge, and spar with each other. Space is limited, and you will pay a lower participation fee if you sign up early, so please contact me for more information if you are interested in attending!
In addition to the event, itself, the Phoenix metro area is full of interesting things to see and do, and the weather at this time of year is excellent, with highs averaging a dry 87°F and lots of sunshine! For the nature lovers, there are many trails to hike, a renowned Botanical Garden, and a beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden, all right here in the city. Additionally, we are only a 2 hour drive from the famous red rocks of Sedona, 3 hours from scenic Flagstaff, and 4 hours from one of the greatest natural wonders of the world—the Grand Canyon! For the city-dwellers, there are many museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, and clubs to visit, as well!