Articles Blog

KARATE NERD IN OKINAWA | Season 2 (Ep. 2) — Jesse Enkamp

KARATE NERD IN OKINAWA | Season 2 (Ep. 2) — Jesse Enkamp


– [Narrator] It’s time again. The Karate Nerd returns to Okinawa to explore the history,
origins, and secret techniques of traditional karate. You’re watching season two
of Karate Nerd in Okinawa featuring your host, Jesse Enkamp a.k.a. “The Karate Nerd” himself. Get ready for another
epic journey to discover the untold story of Okinawa. The birthplace of karate. This is Karate Nerd in Okinawa. Season two, episode two. – The Okinawans have
known for a long time that people come to this
island to train karate. But they never really
did anything about it, except for this one sensei,
named Nagamine Shoshin, who used to bring busloads
of tourists to his dojo to watch practice, but then his students got so angry that he stopped that. Anyway, for many years the
Okinawans didn’t really do anything about this until
now, because right behind me is the Karate Kaikan, which is
a huge karate training center where they also have a
couple of museums and shops and all of that – just dedicated to karate, and I’ve actually never seen it myself, because the last time I was here, they were building it, so it’s brand new. So this will be a first
for both me and you. Now let’s check it out. (upbeat music) So this right here seems
to be the main dojo and it’s totally empty. They have several dojos in this building. I think maybe the tournament will be here, the one that I’m attending
where I’m competing in kobudo. They’re practicing Shorinji-ryu karate. (instructor speaking Japanese) Look, they got free posters. You know what? Let’s do this: The person who leaves the best comment on this episode wins this poster. I’m gonna send it to you for free. Just leave a comment, and if I like it, you might actually get this. Or this. Let’s take one big and one small, there will be two winners, alright? Leave your comments! (upbeat music) These are legends in
the history of karate. This is my favorite scroll,
written by Matsumura Sokon, the grandfather of Okinawan karate. And it says “A person who is truly humble will always have an inner calm.” These weapons were used by real masters, you can read on the signs here. This was used by Chinen Masami, the founder of Yamane-ryu kobudo. And this; Taira Shinken
and Matayoshi Shinpo. So cool! These were the actual
gi used by Uechi Kanei, this is awesome. This man right here is Konishi Yasuhiro, one of the main men responsible
for popularizing karate in mainland Japan. And he was actually the
teacher of Inoue Motokatsu who was my parent’s teacher. And of course, don’t forget Itosu Anko, because without him,
most of us would probably not be practicing today,
because he’s the man responsible for bringing
karate into the school system. Plus, he developed the
five Pinan, or Heian kata, that are practiced all
over the world today. Oh hey, this is me, look, I’m
on the cover of this magazine. There, that’s me, see me? Blocking with the sai? This was many years ago,
when we went to a grave site, a tomb, you know the turtle tomb? To practice and we did sai
kada Tsukenshitahaku in a group, and these photographers
and journalists came there at this exact moment, when
I happened to be there. And now, I’m on a magazine cover. (upbeat music) So, as some of you may know,
I’m a little bit of a coffee… I don’t wanna say snob, but coffee nerd. Just like I’m a karate nerd,
except I’m way worse at coffee than I am at karate. But I found this new super
fancy, super nerdy coffee place right here in the middle of
Naha, that I really wanna try. It’s really tiny from the outside, so let’s see what it
looks like on the inside, and more importantly, let’s
see what it tastes like. (upbeat music) Whoa. That was a tiny
place, but this coffee is unlike any iced coffee I’ve ever had. It has a really unusual taste, and I’ve been to many coffee places. It kinda tastes like fish…
like sardines, that’s it. Sardines. (upbeat music) Here we are at a playground slash park, where the most famous
monument of Matsumora Kosaku, a legendary Tomari-te karate
pioneer is supposed to be, I think it’s right there
in the corner, let’s go. It makes no sense why they
put this monument here, but it’s literally in the
corner of this playground. This is the monument of Matsumora Kosaku, the most famous expert of
the Tomari-te style karate. Because Tomari, this area right here, is the direct connection with China, so many Chinese fighting arts experts would come and gather
here in the Tomari region, and of course, Matsumora
learned from all of them and he handed down some of
the most commonly practiced kata today; including Rohai
and Chinto or Gankaku, Wanshu or Empi, Gojushiho,
Useishi, Naihanchi, so many kata, Bassai, that
are still practiced today, and that is so cool. And Matsumora was like a local hero, he was a politician and also, of course, a karate expert -and his
most famous students included Kyan Chotoku and of course, Motobu Choki, the notorious karate street fighter. In an interview in 1936,
Motobu Choki told a story about his teacher Matsumora,
that, when they were practicing he had to block a strike from his sensei, and he accidentally hit his sensei back, straight in the face, so
his teeth started bleeding, and his sensei was like
ahh, and Motobu, of course, was like “sorry sensei,
oh, I hope you’re okay,” and then his sensei was like
“why did you stop punching me? You should keep hitting me
continuously in the face if you manage to strike me.” And that was the philosophy
handed down by the karate master Matsumora. (upbeat music) Now I’m standing right next to a cemetery, where I wanna show you
something really cool. It’s not about the graves,
it’s about something right inside of the cemetery,
next to the Seigen-ji Temple. Follow me. (eerie music) It was a long time ago, I was here, so I’m not sure exactly where it is, but it’s somewhere inside of the cemetery, and I’m gonna tell you what
it is when we get there. (eerie music) Watch out for snakes. It might be over there,
that looks familiar. Let’s see if we can get around somehow. The secret place that I’m
on my way to is called Furuhehin in the Okinawan language. (scary music) In case there are snakes,
I’m gonna use a stick. Watch your step. Look, it’s right over there. Sorry guys, I don’t wanna
go further, but trust me, the cave is right behind me,
because it’s actually a cave that we’re looking for, but
these mosquitoes are killing me, plus, I’m a little bit
afraid of the snakes that might be here, and
today is not a good day to die, alright? Behind me was a cave where
a shipwrecked Chinese sailor used to live, and the locals,
the local karate experts came here, of course, before
the word karate even existed, to learn from this martial
artist who shipwrecked, and he lived in this cave,
I was about to say “cage”, cave inside of this cemetery here, and every evening he
would teach the locals his kung fu skills and in return, they would give him food and
drink so that he could survive, because like I said, he was shipwrecked. And this is a place where the
locals, actually still today, come to pray and to sacrifice things, and to honor the memory of
this shipwrecked Chinese sailor who taught so much to
the local karate experts, including people like Matsumora Kosaku, who I talked about previously. Quick snack before heading off to practice a new karate style, and today we’re gonna check out Isshin-ryu. Have you guys heard
about this style before? It’s one of the most
unusual karate styles, but that wasn’t always the case. The year I was born, they
actually had over 300 dojos, but today there are
only two local Okinawan Isshin-ryu masters still up and running, and I’m gonna be training
with one of them. His name is Tsuyoshi Uechi,
so I’m just gonna meet up with my friend Andy at a
parking lot close to here, and then we’re gonna drive to Sensei Uechi to check out Isshin-ryu karate. (upbeat music) (kids speaking Japanese) This way? – Yes. (speaking Japanese) – Ah, relax. – (speaking Japanese) (upbeat music) I cut myself with my thumb nail. Is it still bleeding? I’m a disgrace. – (speaking Japanese) – Wow, that was so challenging. Do you know how hard it is, when you’re used to punching like this, to suddenly twist your
fist, put your thumb on top, and then keep it at the hip this way as you’re snapping your punches out? One of the most important things that I found very interesting was that every block is performed
with the flat side, so if you have your two
bones, radius and ulna, right? You don’t block with the
one bone or the other, but with both at the same time. Whenever you do a, for
example, a low block this way, or a side block this way,
or a high block this way, which was very strange,
because muscle memory is a b**ch, it was super difficult for
me to not twist the hand at the end and then keep
this kind of vertical fist. And the reason they keep this
tate-ken, as it’s called, is because imagine if you wanna do a pushup on your knuckles,
which one is the strongest? This way? Or this way? The answer is obvious, right? You wanna do your
knuckle push up this way, so you can squeeze your lats
and connect them to your waist. And when you generate
power from your waist, which is what they call “gamaku” in the Okinawan language, then you produce something
known as “chinkuchi”, which is a sudden release of power, almost like if you’re sneezing, achoo, and when you release that power, it’s very different to
what modern karate uses, which is “kime”, because kime
is all about full control, while chinkuchi is all about full contact, and of course, that was the
original purpose of karate. Oh, and if you’re wondering
why I had the while belt on, it’s because it never crosses
my mind to even put on my own black belt when I enter a new dojo in a different style with a
new master I’ve never met. I’m not there to show
that I’m a black belt, I’m there to humble
myself and learn, right? That’s the beginner’s
mind, “shoshin”, in Japanese. Something that I think more
people should strive towards, because we attach too much ego and pride in the belts that we wear. Honestly, that’s what I think. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know. And I hope you really
enjoyed this episode. Goodnight.

49 thoughts on “KARATE NERD IN OKINAWA | Season 2 (Ep. 2) — Jesse Enkamp”

  1. I love the comment about the pride in the belts! I have been studying Taekwondo for almost 14 years now, and I have seen many people of different styles take way too much pride in their belts. I am the president of the TKD club at my University, and personally, I don't even wear my belt since my philosophy is to be open to all styles of TKD and other martial arts. I can show others my belt so they can see that I've been practicing for a while and am probably pretty good. Alternatively, I can practice with them and pass on the knowledge I have from years of practice and study. Thanks for the videos Jesse! I've only recently started watching you, but I love what you're doing. Keep it up!

  2. I cannot believe that you have had the ultimate honor to see the historical relics of the great Okinawan karate masters

  3. It was just awesome. You are truely karate expoler in my eye. Because we are also with you & viewed with your eyes. As A karateka not financially possible to visit this memorable place for me from India . But now like A dream comes true only because of you. Oss sensie.

  4. Great Video as always.

    When I trained in Tibetan Lama Kung Fu, we where also taught place our thumb on the top of our fist. The reasoning was not only for a stronger fist with slightly less movement in the wrist, but it also gave us the ability to strike with our knuckles on the bottom of our fist without our thumbs getting in the way. i can imagine just how hard it would be to undo that muscle memory as it was for you to adjust to it.

  5. Hi! Your videos are awesome, thank you very much for sharing all your experiences and knowledge!! And I totally agree with what you said about the shoshin mind that we all should embrace! It is funny that people needed coloured belts to have their progress in mind while in the beggining karate was practised with the white belt which eventually turned black due to trainning time. I always find that old school way greater than the coloured belts. And I think in a way simplicity goes along with humility. But I understand that western culture is different than the eastern. Anyways, we should always remember that we are all continuously learning in life 🙂

  6. Jesse please do more on isshin ryu. Very cool to get to see your visit to that school, would love to see more about it's history and the founder.

  7. I am so happy to see you covering Isshinryu Karate in this episode. That is the style I train in, and I love it. It's rare to ever hear or find things about it but I love it!

  8. This video was more about karate's history in Okinawa. And you did that job wonderfully. I would love to learn what you all said about karate and masters and watch this video again and again. Thanks and best of luck!

  9. As always Sensei, your videos are very interesting. I had the pleasure of visiting and training at the new Kaikan in Okinawa in 2017. Do you know Sensei, the greatest living Isshinryu karate master is the great Master Angi Uezu, that I had the chance to meet privately during my trip to Okinawa. Unfortunately, his health does not allow him to teach anymore. Sensei Uechi you met was one of his students. Today, unfortunately, the house is divided, sensei Uechi started his own organization, Master Kichiro Shimabuku also has his own. I am proud to be with Master Uezu's organization, OIKKA. Thank you Sensei Enkamp, and continue your great work. Greetings from Canada.

  10. I am totally agree with you. I came to others dojo a long time ago because I didn't find my style dojo. So I wore my white belt. Eventhough when we are practise, our Sensei saw my kime and asked if I did karate before. He asked me then to used my ussual belt and teach me the difference about the style. He is a great teacher. I dont mind if I wore white belt. It's about humble attitude, to push your ego. A true learner.

  11. It has been my dream ever since 3rd grade to go to Japan and train . Your vids make me feel like I have. Thank you.

  12. When you wore the white belt, despite being a black belt, only and simply with this act of humility, you proved to be a true Karate Master, a karateka who caught the spirit of Budo and Karate Do, besides being an honest person and, ultimately, a real man. Osu 🙂

  13. Very informative and eye-opening episode, Jesse-san. What I wouldn't do right now to teleport to Okinawa and drink some fish-flavored cold brew ^_^. One thing I don't understand is why you were being taught to brace your thumb against the pointer finger of your closed fist when punching. What advantage does that offer over the traditional karate and Western boxing fist form?

  14. Hi Jesse,

    I've been watching your videos for some time now and I really like your world view. So I figured I may as well comment finally on my opinion regarding something you said.

    I would have to agree that we have way to much EGO attached to our belt systems. I have seen to many times studios turning into "belt factories" and training taking a second fiddle to testing fees. Breaks my heart to see it. I have been training primarily in Tang Soo Do for 28 years with some random variety throughout the years. And every time I went into a new studio with a master I didn't know I never once considered asking if I was to wear my acquired rank. A true master and student know their place.

    I am excited to be testing for my master instructor rank this year, and look forward to many more years of learning as I teach.

    Thanks Jesse

  15. Jesse, peace to you and family. Appreciate your dedication to the arts and ability to tear down walls between styles by giving due respect to all. You have been an inspiration to start training again. Stopped at 3rd dan… been a while but I purchased the Seishin Supreme Gi, Seishin Black Belt & Seishin Bag which should get me off to a great start.

  16. LOV THE WISDOM YOU in your show, i have never learned so much about any martial arts as much as i have here

  17. In karate technique matters the most . Thank you sir . From your videos I get to learn a lot about karate . Your videos have helped me to get deeper into tradditional karate . You should actually have more subscribers in YouTube than Pewdiepie. 😀

  18. Respect for Isshin Ryu. It looks like a profound internal martial art. I hope it can get out from decline and go back to its golden era. Today the Mcdojos rule…

  19. Jesse, great video! How do you get a master you just met to say yes to video recording? That’s pretty remarkable in itself. Bravo!

    The main thing I find so interesting Jesse is you are “style agnostic “. My teacher Shihan in Goju Ryu told me not to study another style or martial art for 10 years. I need to stay true to my style for a long time. But you’ve been into this since you were a child. And you are such a nerd!😂😌👌 So you are able to distill the basic fundamental laws of nature and biomechanics from all the styles, so I don’t feel like I am going against what Shihan told me. When you speak about developing better technique or speed or strength, your teaching is universal across all karate styles. I really appreciate that about you. Gratitude!

  20. i think karate isn´t in belt (sorry for my english im from czech republick and we don´t learn so much from english in school yen)

  21. I think the most important part og the video was the «take home message». It took the okinawa-video back to the roots, back to Okinawa, where it all started and back to how it all started.
    Stay humble.
    Oss.

  22. I practiced one on one with sensei every other day in that dojo in 2013. That dojo hasnt changed one bit same maps same fan same punching bags. Lived in the house just at the end of the street to the right facing the dojo. Miss that place. Is he doing well?

  23. This is awesome!
    I like seeing collections of martial arts history,and this looks like one of the best!And this style looks pretty good!
    I wonder why it is not around as much anymore.

  24. really enjoying the videos Jesse! I lived in japan for 14 years it is great see it again in your videos. I did kung fu in japan and am now doing kook sool won here in the UK which i am loving. the school i go to is excellent.I totally agree with you about the belts. Being humble is such a part of Japanese culture and I believe it is a very important in martial arts for all students to be humble.

  25. Sir, I like your video very much, I wish to visit Okinawa but from your i am able to know and saw our traditional art. You are a Black Belt perhaps you were wearing white belt because you want to learn

  26. my father is a black belt in Isshinryu and he teaches me what he learned in Isshinryu, I train in American Kenpo and your videos really help me

  27. I’m a brown belt in Isshinryu. It’s kind of like a mixture of Gojuryu and Shorin-Ryu . We have some katas and well as techniques from both styles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *