The Chibana Project

A blog where I post my research on a certain Okinawan named Chibana Choshin.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Who am I?

My instructor thought it was inappropriate that I post all this information on Chibana and that my name doesn't appear anywhere on this blog. His concern is that people will start to "borrow" information from here without giving me any credit for any of the research I've been doing. I'm also sure there are those who visit and say, "Who is this guy? Who does he think he is? He's no (insert famous karate historian's name)." There's hardly anything about myself on this site.

Well, my name is Terry Garrett, and I've been attempting to do karate for approximately 6 years (emphasis on attempting). I have a long way to go before I'm even 1/10th as good as those who have taught me - this isn't modesty, unfortunately, but truth. I'm that bad. I practice Shorin Ryu, and I was (am?) a member of the Shorinkan Shorin Ryu organization under Nakazato Shuguro; my first instructor was Mr. Mark Staal, a good man and a great teacher. Mr. Staal is a behavioral psychologist and Air Force officer. For the last 2 years I have been a student of Mr. Patrick Nakata, an extraordinary instructor. Mr. Nakata had the fortune of being a student of Chibana Choshin in 1962, becoming a virtual uchi-deshi for a year - he trained 14 hours a day, six days a week at Chibana's home and at the Yamakawa Dojo. Chibana thought him worthy of a shihan teaching license and awarded it to him in 1965 (he's the "American student" I refer to in the post "A Family Affair"). My interest in Chibana stems largely from Mr. Nakata's voluminous stories of him.

As a descendant of Chibana's karate lineage, I have a vested interest in finding as much information about him as I can and making it public for other members of his karate progeny. I believe that only by understanding the past can we look forward to the future of karate - okay...this statement is trite, but it's true.

Recently, I have also developed a keen interest in exposing overlooked masters. Itosu, quite frankly, was THE MAN, and his students were the vanguard of Okinawan karate to the world. However, besides Funakoshi Gichin and Mabuni Kenwa, how much information is out there on Itosu and his disciples? Hanashiro Chomo and Kentsu Yabu were, along with Chibana Choshin, Itosu's top students. Yet hardly anything in print exists on these men who were the dai-sempai of Itosu's dojo. Thanks to the efforts of people like Mr. Charles Goodin who recently wrote an article on Kentsu Yabu in Classical Fighting Arts (1), we are beginning to find out more about these karate legends. Hopefully, more information will become public; and as we dig deeper, karateka world-wide will realize that there's more to karate than jumping around, screaming, and breaking boards. That there's a rich history waiting to be discovered.

Hopefully, I'm playing a small part in uncovering said history. Then again, what the heck do I know? I'm an economist.

(1) See his article, "Kentsu Yabu's Senior Students in Hawai'i" in Classical Fighting Arts, Issue 8, 2006, pg. 15-21.


Blogger [Mat] said...

Hey there.

Don't be too hard on yourself!
I'm an accountant. I have lots to learn still. I've been in the arts for... 8 years? Different arts, but arts nonetheless.

You can't be as bad as you think you are.
And I really enjoy your blog, your research and learning more about those roots.

Anyone stealing those is... I won't say the words, but they're not good words.

Good day, Terry.


4:10 AM  
Anonymous Danny said...

Greetings Terry,

10,000 Thank You's for sharing your fantastic research and wonderful insights regarding Chibana Dai-Sensei. You are unfortunately correct in stating that there is little in print on him.

I trust that your blog site is only the beginning of a much needed renaissance of interest in Chibana Choshin and his preservation of Itosu's marvelous art!

In Friendship,

Danny Emerick

9:08 AM  
Blogger Bujutsu Blogger said...

Lies! All lies! How can we be sure you are who you say are!? I think you're making this all up.

Oh, and don't worry about shipping the book you got for me in Okinawa... you can wait until you head out here to good ol' San Angelo.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Onimitsu2004 said...

Thanks for the support, guys. I'm just doing what I can to get this information out to people interested in karate history. It's been wonderful having Mr. Pat Nakata as my sensei, since I begin to experience what it must have been like to know Chibana Choshin. I've seen still shots, video, and I've been to his house and his haka. I've heard stories. I've seen and trained his karate. It feels like I vicariously know him a little. Having this kind of experience with a piece of history is just plain awesome.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Bujutsu Blogger said...

I suggest you have this permalinked on your sidebar, with occasional updates to reflect any significant changes.

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Patrick McCarthy said...

Aloha Terry san,

Your e-mail finally reached me and I apologise for the delay in responding as I had been out of town teaching.

I like your BLOG and have sent you a few things that I hope might be of some assistance.


patrick mccarthy

2:51 AM  
Blogger Onimitsu2004 said...

Thank you! Thank you! I feel honored that you've enjoyed my blog, and I am especially grateful for the information you have given me!

9:42 AM  
Blogger Stephen Irwin said...

I enjoyed reading this posting.

I too have been reading up on Itosu and the other masters you mentioned, the reason being to help me understand my own future direction in my training.

I'm looking forward to seeing how your research goes, especially with regard to Itosu who, it seems, was a man of genius.

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Bryson Keenan said...

Hi Terry,

I am heading to Okinawa in early March and would like to catch up if possible (I am a Goju practitioner and will be training at the Jundokan). My PM is; please drop me a line...



7:58 PM  
Anonymous Jim Neeter said...

Hi Terry,

great blog, many thanks for the efforts.

I wanted to discuss a picture on a magazine cover here -

It shows Chibana O'Sensei performing a kick, which kata is this from please - some say Seisan which it seems is not part of his 'core' kata list, we have this movement in our Matsumura Passai of course, and indeed Kusanku kata.



3:19 AM  

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