9th World Budosai 2023

Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federatio (TOGKF)

Back in August I was lucky enough to attend the TOGKF 9th World Budosai in Naha, Okinawa as the UAE representative. The last time I trained in Okinawa was back in 2019 at the World Gishiki (IOGKF 40th Anniversary).

This year I encountered several challenges. The first was finding connecting flights from the UAE. Normally you can fly via other Asian countries at a reasonable cost. The most cost effective route was via Hong Kong. This flight allowed me to a have a night layover in Hong Kong before flying to Okinawa. Shorty after arriving in Hong Kong my airline contacted me as they had changed my booking to the first flight out of Honk Kong due to a typhoon heading toward the island.

This meant I arrived in Okinawa earlier on the Monday than planned, but still too late to register for Budosai as the the typhoon was near and the Japanese government was already posting safety alerts and restricting movements. Tuesday’s registration was cancelled and no training on Wednesday as typhoon Khanun passed by the south of the island. Thursday was a busy day at the Budokan – early registration and longer day of training to catch-up on what was missed from the previous day. As we had more sessions this meant that I got to train with Higoanna Sensei twice in one day. Both times I had a chance and honour to speak to Higoanna Sensei. I spoke about my background in Shotokan and we reminisced about Kanazawa Sensei and the early days of Karate.

Unfortunately, my airline contacted me yet again on the Thursday night and changed my Saturday flight to Friday midday as the typhoon that was heading towards Taiwan did a u-turn back to Okinawa. The subsequent training on Friday was also cancelled.

Returning to Hong Kong early gave me the opportunity to visit some of sites – namely the Avenue of Stars where there’s a Bruce Lee memorial and statue.