Shigeru Nakamura Ryukyu Martial Arts Institute

by Howard Webb

Grandmaster Shigeru Nakamura

It is commonly believed that Grandmaster Shigeru Nakamura founded the Okinawa Kenpo Karate and Kobudo system; this is an erroneous belief.  The martial art that we call Okinawa Kenpo migrated from China to Okinawa in the 7th Century.  Then known as Kempo, it was taught only to members of the Okinawan Royal family, until, 1472 AD. In that year, Naha Bushi Sakiyama agreed to accept students outside of the Royal family.  To ensure the lineage of the system’s grandmasters would stay within his family, he developed a scroll to document each successive grandmaster.  In 1925, Shigeru Nakamura become the 10th grandmaster listed on the Sakiyama  scroll and head of his family’s martial art.  At this point in time, the Nakamura family’s karate system was known as Tomari-Te (tay).  The Nakamura Family’s system of karate is the oldest documented style of Okinawan karate.  And the Sakiyama scroll is the only ancient Okinawan karate artifact to survive the U.S. invasion of Okinawa during WWII.

Without getting to far into the weeds of Okinawa Kenpo history, in the early 1920’s, Shigeru Nakamura became upset with the Japanese for two reasons.  First, the Japanese government had placed a prohibition on karate dueling to the death.  This ban greatly disturbed Grandmaster Nakamura, who had participated in many duels. Shigeru publicly denounced the ban, arguing that “If there is no full-contact dueling, then effective combat techniques will be replaced with ineffective ones.”  The second reason for his ire, the Japanese had high-jacked their native martial art, turned it into a sport (like Judo), and proclaimed it a Japanese martial art.  His strategy for countering, what he perceived as a Japanese assault on Okinawan karate, was to unite all the schools of Okinawan karate under one style designation, and that designation was “Okinawa Kenpo.” Henceforth, Grandmaster Nakamura co-founded the Okinawa Kenpo Remmei (league) as an Okinawan karate umbrella organization.

In 1969, Shigeru Nakamura passed away.  The result of his passing, organizationally, was the disintegration of the Okinawa Kenpo Remmei.  However, before his death, Grandmaster Nakamura designated Okinawa Kenpo to be the official title of his family’s martial art.

To honor Grandmaster Shigeru Nakamura and promote his family’s martial art, on April 1, 2019,  the Okinawa Kenpo Karate and Kobudo Association (founded in Okinawa) and Grandmaster Taketo Nakamura’s Okinawa Kenpo karate and Kobudo Remmei, in a joint venture, founded the Shigeru Nakamura Ryukyu Martial Arts Institute as their organizations’ educational platform.

Full contact

In the decades after Shigeru Nakamura’s death, in the United States, Okinawa Kenpo Karate and Kobudo evolved into an Americanized form of karate.  As a result, the Institute’s mission is two-fold: First, re-establish the original Nakamura’s family’s martial art as Okinawa Kenpo Karate and Kobudo in the United States and to instruct and practice Okinawa Kenpo as Grandmaster Shigeru Nakamura mandated it.  Second, to provide everyone, who desires it, an opportunity to learn and study Nakamura Okinawa Kenpo Karate and Kobudo, regardless of their financial status and/or geographic location.  In Okinawa there is a saying: “All karate sensei have full-time jobs.” As this saying implies, Okinawan karate is an art to be shared – not commercialized, and as a result, only offered to those who have the financial means to pay for commercially priced instruction. Moreover, there are places in rural areas of the United States (and in other countries) where the people do not have access to martial arts instruction.

It is for these reasons that the Nakamura Institute offers on-line, video, classes through the Patreon, video streaming, channel for five dollars per month for private lessons and ten dollars per month for group lessons.  Currently, we offer private lessons for teen/adults and separate private lessons for seniors.  In October, we will have our group lessons on-line.  And by December, we will have private lessons available for childern, we call them Wee-Warriors. Our lessons are available on our Patreon channel: patreon.com/nakamura_institute

To preview our educational content and training programs, we have sample presentations on two YouTube channels: Nakamura Institute (for videos, less than fifteen minutes) and Howard Webb ACCJT (for videos longer than fifteen minutes).   We have no idea why YouTube has placed a time-limit on the Institute’s channel.  For more information about the Shigeru Nakamura Ryukyu Martial Arts Institute, go to our website – www.nakamurainstitute.net

I hope you will take advantage of our training opportunities, regardless of your martial art or skill level.  I look for to training with you. Train hard and often.

Howard Webb 

Howard Webb is a nationally and internationally recognized criminal justice liability management and use of force expert, who authored the four‐hundred and four page liability management and use of force treatise: MANAGING THE USE OF FORCE INCIDENT For Officers, Supervisors, and Administrators.    Howard’s textbook and his proactive liability management and use of force training program has been adopted by national and international criminal justice agencies and police academies as an effective solution to their civil litigation challenges, media relations difficulties, and Department of Justice civil rights investigations.

 

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My Martial Arts Journey

by Bill Fettes

My martial arts journey began in 1969 at the first classes of the Tomiki aikido style in Melbourne, Australia, under the guidance of (then) Leoni Heap.  I was a drifter at the time, doing unskilled work in order to finance my travels in Australia and overseas.  I was playing several contact sports at the time and Aikido was a fitness adjunct for me.  Eventually, against my better judgement, I was persuaded to attempt my shodan grading.  I had coached junior sports during my youth and suspected that I would be requested to teach when I made shodan, so I had resisted for nearly a decade.

Sure enough when I received my grading and whilst making preparations to travel to South America, I was asked to go to Sydney to fill in for a teacher who was relocating.  Not being particularly stable at the time, I accepted and through that decision was able to meet and learn from the first person to teach Shindo Muso ryu jyodo (way of the stick) in Australia, Paul Maloney sensei.

Shindo Muso ryu Jyojutsu
Shindo Muso ryu Jyojutsu at International school in Tokyo ca 1989

I was ready to depart for South America after a couple of years in Sydney, when the Falklands war broke out and I was advised it was an inopportune time to visit South America.  Step up Paul Maloney, who suggested a trip to Japan instead.  As he had not long returned from Asia himself and was full of praise for the culture and fighting arts, I quickly agreed.

Through Paul and his contacts, I obtained various introductions to Jyodo and Aikido dojos,where I trained under such notables as Kaminoda Tsunemori (SMR jyo), Ohba Hideo (Tomiki aikido), Nitta Suzuo (Toda ha Buko ryu naginata jutsu) and long-time Japan resident Phil Relnick (SMR).   Through the introduction of the principal of my Japanese language school, I commenced my third style of karate and Taijichuan, with Nakano Harumi sensei, a well-known teacher in Japan and China.  I studied with her for the best part of 8 or 9 years and, through her, was introduced to various teachers, including Matsuda Ryuichi who taught me Xingyi chuan, Bagua zhang and Shaolin chuan.  We were also regularly exposed to teachers from the Chen jia gou (Chen village) in their annual visits to Tokyo.

In 1989, I was introduced by friends to Nitta Suzuo shihan of the Toda ha Buko ryu naginata jutsu school, which I have also studied since that time.

When it was time (a regular occurrence for foreigners) to leave the country to renew my visa, Nakano sensei suggested the Chen village for further training.  Most foreigners either went home to renew their visa or went to Korea for a few days, but I wanted something more.

I wanted to continue Xingyi and Bagua as well as Taiji, so we decided on Shanghai, instead of the village and Nakano sensei gave me introductions to her friend Mr. Chu Jin Ming, who was then the vice president of the Shanghai Chin Woo athletic society and 2IC of the Shanghai Olympic Hotel, which at the time was the safest place for foreigners to meet Chinese without the obligatory “spies” getting their knickers in a knot.  Remember, this was 1987, shortly before Tiananmen

Mr. Chu introduced me to He Bing Quan who introduced me to Wang Zhong Dao.  Master He had trained with Chen Zhao Kui when they lived together in Shanghai.  He was a Shaolin master who had trained in several styles of Taijichuan under the old masters.

Wang Zhong Dao/ He Bin Quan
Wang Zhong Dao & He Bin Quan (ca 1990) at Shanghai Olympic Hotel

Master Wang had trained under Master Chu Gui Ting, a student of the famous Li Tsun Yi and taught me his version of Xingyi and Bagua – which differed slightly from Matsuda sensei’s version (which he learnt in Taiw

an).  When Master Wang died, I continued under Master Chen Jian Yun who had studied Shansi style Xingyi as well as learning from Master Chu.  When he died, I was left rudderless, to continue on my own.

Then, in 2018, I was lucky enough to find Mr. David Kelly at studymartialarts.org who provides a wonderful introduction service for practitioners seeking training in Chinese chuan fa.  Whilst scrolling through his pages, I happened to come across a reference to Master Chu Yu Cheng.  Further research showed that he was the grandson of Chu Gui Ting – fancy that, his other students (my teachers) never mentioned he had a grandson!

David quickly arranged for us to get together and I went to Shanghai for the first time in 15 years to resume my true lineage.  I found Master Chu to be extremely knowledgeable and up to date.  Lest I be considered to be a poor follower of my previous teachers, they were getting on in years and had possibly forgotten some of the deeper work.  No such problem with Master Chu – in the space of a month, he was able to upskill me, even after 30 plus years of training in the art under various Masters.

Master Chu Yu Cheng
Master Chu Yu Cheng teaching Xingyi Quan

Unfortunately, it was a test run for me and I had let my Chinese skills lapse, which made it hard for Master Chu, but he never failed to teach from his heart and luckily enough I had enough experience to bumble through.  In order to honour him and his compassionate students, I am frantically trying to rejuvenate my language skills before my next visit.

If there is one theme you will notice through this narrative about Asian combatives it is INTRODUCTIONS – they are essential in Asia (for locals and foreigners) and you won’t find a more generous spirit with the necessary contacts than David Kelly.

If you wish to read more you can find my book “At the Feet of the Masters” on Kindle books.

Best wishes

Bill Fettes

Simplified Taijichuan (Licenced instructor All Japan Taichi Assn.)

Yang style Taijichuan (Fu Zhong Wen lineage)

Chen style Taijichuan (He Bin Quan lineage from Chen Zhao kui)

Xingyi chuan (Chu Guiting lineage)

Bagua zhang (Chu Guiting lineage)

Tomiki aikido (roku dan)

Shindo Muso ryu Jyojutsu (Yodan, Go moku roku)

Isshin ryu kusari gama jutsu

Kasumi shinto ryu kenjutsu

Uchida ryu tanjyo jutsu

Toda ha Buko ryu naginata jutsu (Chuden)

You can find details of Bill’s classes here. at budokaiaustralia.com

Learn Karate in Okinawa

If you’ve ever wanted to learn Karate in Okinawa look no further. This unique experience can be yours if you are trust worthy and hard working. The Okinawa KarateDo UechiRyu Zankyokai Nagahama Dojo offers both yoga and karate to beginners, intermediates and experienced instructors. The chief focus at the school is of course old-style Karate training with the purpose of creating a peaceful lifestyle while developing the means to protect that lifestyle if necessary.

UechiRyu Zankyokai Dojo – Karate

by Irina

On a small subtropical island such as Okinawa, it is usually physically impossible to take a road less travelled. However, if you are up to the challenge, you may find a certain small karate dojo in Yomitan to be just that rarely available detour.

When I got to Okinawa, I didn’t know a lot about martial arts, though I knew that Okinawa was considered the birthplace of karate in Japan. And, after having watched the Karate Kid movies, I thought it would be great to learn the way of karate at its source. The only problem was that I wanted to study it for my own personal satisfaction and self-improvement, not to fight in the ring or perform for others to see and judge on the tatami.

There are many places on Okinawa that will teach you the basic moves of karate, on and off the military bases. Luckily, I did not know about them when I saw the UechiRyu Zankyokai Dojo in Nagahama Yomitan for the first time. The location, environment, students and, of course, the sensei all made a positive impression on me. My intuition did not let me down since the philosophy, principles, and rules of the Uechi Ryu style have also appealed to my senses.

Surprisingly, the teacher (Seizan Sensei) is an American – trained almost wholly here on Okinawa, licensed and certified a true “Hanshi Kyudan” – a 9th degree black belt holder – and the only foreigner residing in Japan holding that rank level in the UechiRyu system. He began training in UechiRyu in 1974 in the States, but has been training on Okinawa since 1979. He teaches classes 50/50 in Japanese and English, so there was no barrier to learning the finer points and more subtle philosophies of the art.

His Okinawan wife (Sumako) teaches Yoga on Saturday mornings, too, and is a licensed Thai Masseuse. That’s right – all this under one roof!

Most importantly, this dojo offered me an opportunity to train and practice alongside my husband and daughter as opposed to just sitting outside and waiting for the session to be over. An ability to study the principles of karate as a family has been paramount in our quest to embrace this particular way of life. We don’t compete at tournaments in this dojo, so there is no pressure to beat total strangers senseless in front of family members!  The dojo is a place where one can do physically challenging exercise, relax with a green tea and a snack during the break period, or it can be a healthy psychological outlet after a long day when you leave all your problems outside the screen door and just practice karate for a few hours.

UechiRyu Zankyokai Dojo l Okinawa Hai!

As time passed, the learning process allowed me to understand that true karate is not simply a martial art, but a life art – a true lifestyle. Personally, I can apply the knowledge gained long after I leave Okinawa.

Martial Arts School Reviews

Thanks to my wonderful colleagues at StudyMartialArts.Org, I’m able to share this list of full-time Martial Arts School Reviews. Click the link and you’ll be able to compare and contrast Martial arts schools based on student reviews, price and StudyMartialArts.Org’s independent assessment.

Below you’ll find a list of schools that currently have the most reviews on the www.StudyMartialArts.Org website. Please note that after 5 page views you’ll be asked to login to the site. This is easy and nothing to worry about. If you find the site useful and want to learn more contact StudyMartialArts.Org for a full consultation on schools, training and travel. The consultation service is free and there is no obligation. However, to keep the service free, make your booking through them. Booking through SMA is the smart thing to do as it affords students who use there service two essential things that should give you piece of mind.

Firstly, you get extra support!

And secondly schools are less likely to bullshit you or rip you off.

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A comprehensive list of martial arts schools and masters reviewed by students and experts.

Free Stuff

Here are some of Free things you get when you book through them.

  • Special offers and selected discounts
  • Free language learning materials
  • Free martial arts materials
  • Travel resources and guides
  • Support and assistance throughout your experience
  • No BS information

 

Martial Arts School Reviews

Here are some links to schools which have either been reviewed by students directly or have been collected to provide site users more information to help you narrowing your choice down.

Tianmeng Shaolin Kung Fu School – China

Tianmeng Shaolin Kung Fu Academy primarily focuses on teaching the traditional Meihua Quan (Plum Blossm Fist) which has both internal and external elements. In addition to Meihua Quan, Shaolin Kung Fu, Qigong, Qin Na, Tai Chi, Xingyi, Bagua, are also taught here. The school itself is relatively new and it has all the facilities that students will require to build a solid foundation in Martial Arts or reach higher levels. The school is unique for Meihua poles and Meihua training methods. These are designed to impove balance, internal power and footwork in a very short time.

Master Chen Fusheng’s  Martial Arts Academy – China

Master Chen Fusheng’s Martial Arts Academy is located in Lixian Zhen, Daxing District of Beijing. Here you will learn traditional Bagua, Bajiquan, Pigua, Qi gong, Tai Chi, Tong Bei, Gong Li, Xi Yang Zheng, Hei Hu, Xingyi and Praying Mantis. Master Chen will teach you the best aspects of each of these styles for combat as well as his own Qi gong and fighting style Ba Ji Zhan Dao this is translated as Baji Battle Way. Master Chen has a vast wealth of knowledge in traditional martial arts and also in martial, healing and longevity qigong.

Rising Dragon Martial Arts School – China

Rising Dragon Martial Arts School is location in Yongping county in Southern Yunnan Province. Yongping County is a very mountainous region which borders Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam and has an average altitude of 1980m. YongPing has a population of around 170,000. and is located roughly in between the two Cities Dali and BaoShan, which are both no more than an hour’s drive away. The area is steeped in history with numerious temples, senic areas, mountains, lakes and even natural hot springs to visit.

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Kunyu Mountain Shaolin Kung Fu School – China

Kunyu Mountain Shaolin Martial Arts Academy is a popular and long running International Kung Fu Schools in Shandong Province. Located in a beautiful rural setting on the edge of the Kunyu Shan National Park the school offers students of all abilities the chance to learn Shaolin Kung Fu, Taichi, Qigong,Wing Chun, Xingyi, Bagua, Baji, Northern Praying Mantis and Sanda.

Kunlun International Martial Arts School – China

Kunlun International Martial Arts School is a traditional Chinese kung fu school in rural Yantai. The school adjoins and uses the facilities of an ex-military base so as a result has excellent facilities. The school employes translators and has support staff in Yantai City. The School specialises in Seven Star Praying Mantis Boxing, Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing, and Throwing Hand Praying Mantis Boxing as well as traditional Shaolin Kung Fu, Qi Gong and internal styles such as Bagua, Chen Style, Tai Chi and Xing Yi.

Wudang Hongdao Kung Fu School – China

Wudang Hongdao Kung Fu School’s lineage comes from the Xuan Wu Sect of Daoism and is located near Zhong Guan Temple on Wudang Shan. Situated on the Mountain and with training taking place in and around the temple. The school offers a unique experience and the chance to study martial arts as well as study the healing arts of internal alchemy, qigong on herbal studies. Students should have some level of Chinese and knowledge of TCM to get the most out of their healing arts studies. Part of their studies will involve finding and identifying various mountain herbs for the Zhong Guan Temples daoist monks as well as learning about their uses.

Lion Muay Thai Camp – Thailand

Lion Muay Thai is Phuket’s fastest growing Muay Thai camp offering students an opportunity to learn a new martial art, get fit and have fun in the paradise island of Phuket. Nestled amongst lush greenery in an area called Rawai the camp offers seclusion without being too far away from the local amenities. Students who attend this school include seasoned fighters and beginners. This is because the gym caters to every need. As a result students may get a chance to train alongside or rub shoulders with world champion fighters who appear on international fight shows and work with some of the best trainers in Thailand.

Kung Fu School, China – China

The Kung fu School, China offers Sanda, Shaolin Kung fu and Taichi quan intensive martial arts training. All this is provided by an equally intensive master. Master Wang Xinglong is a 32nd generation disciple of the Shaolin Temple. At the age of 12, he joined the Shaolin Temple and studied traditional Shaolin martial arts under the 31st generation disciple, Master Shi DeQian. At the school students should expect to train 8 hours each day, five days per week. All skill levels are welcome at the school and each student gets personalised training where Master Wang Xinglong considers your skills, strengths weaknesses, preferences and goals. Progress is solely determined by the effort you put in and your ability to learn and practice the skills.

Maling Shaolin Kung Fu School – China

The Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy is located in Xingyi City in Norther Jiangsu Province. Headmaster Bao founded the school recently, having previously been training international students at other academies. He has set up a fantastic place to train and live, where students can learn 7 different styles of Chinese martial arts. The main style is of course, Shaolin Kung Fu, although you can also learn Baji Quan, Tai Chi, Xingyi, Qigong, Sanda (Chinese kickboxing) and Bagua.

Yangshuo Taichi School – China

Yangshuo Taichi School was the first registered International Taichi and Kung fu training School in Yangshuo. The school is located in a tranquil and truely stunning location a bike ride from Yangshou. The school headmaster, Master Huang is a National Taichi Champion who is enthusiastic and dedicated to teaching Taichi as a martial art, as a healing art and also a philosophy.

Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School – China

Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School is a medium sized Shaolin Kung Fu school that has a freindly and welcoming feel. A perfect alternative to the often overly busy and inpersonal Shaolin Kung Fu Schools located in and around Dengfeng. This school is located on the outskirts of Qufu City, the birth place of Confucius and was founded in 2008 by 34th Generation Shaolin Warrior Monk Master Shi Yan Jia. Although the school is not located in and around Dengfeng it is one of only a few that have been given the seal of approval by the venerable Shi Yong Xin Head Abbot of the Songshan Shaolin Temple in Henan. This is a direct result of the Schools links to the Shaolin Temple’s Warrior Monk demonstration team.

Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy – China

Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy is located inside the Original Shaolin Temple in Henan Province. The Shaolin Temple is was included in the UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List in 2010. And training at this school will uniquely allow you access to this amazing iconic cultural site. Indeed the training grounds of the school are located in areas where Temple monks train regularly.

Yuntai Mountain International Cultural and Martial Arts School  – China

The Yuntai Mountain International Culture and Martial Arts School was founded by Shi Yan Lin, a vastly experienced Shaolin Kung Fu master who teaches both Chinese and international students. The Martial Arts training at the school will primarily focus on the various Shaolin fists and weapons as well as Sanda and Taichi. In addition to the Martial Arts training the school also offers students the opportunity to study Chinese in combination with their martial arts training. The school itself is located in the famous Yuntai geological park, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. This area is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful place in Henan Province.

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Zen Martial Arts Training – Senegal

Zen Martial Training is located in Les Mamelles. The school offers authentic Chinese traditional martial arts with traditional Asian healing arts along with the combat sport of Taekwondo. The head instructor of the school has over 20 years of experinece in competitive martial arts and has lived and studied martial arts in China for over 6 years. The Head instructor of the school speaks, Chinese, English, Spanish & French and is certified as a Yue Jia Quan Master, has a 5th degree belt in Mantis Fist, 3rd Dan in Taekwondo and is certified in acupunture and herbalist.

 

Following in the footsteps of Miyamoto Musashi

Following in the footsteps of Miyamoto Musashi

musashi

In honor of Miyamoto Musashi and his inspirational Go Rin No Sho (The Book of 5 Rings) the following information is for those wishing to visit Japan and various significant Miyamoto Musashi sites of interest. The following is his post with a little added extra information by me.

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Reigando Cave

 

One of the best general resources is the Japan National Tourist Organization website at http://www.jnto.go.jp/ That being said, some of the places which martial artists may want to visit are very much off the beaten track and require a lot of searching online, questioning friends and strangers (a visit to any local dojo for help is highly recommended) and help from a local tourist office or bus station. Japan has very low crime, and its people are usually very helpful, so you will eventually get to where you need to be. Please be very respectful to everyone you deal with. For specific directions to the Reigando Cave I suggest getting to the Kumamoto City bus terminal / station and asking (you can write in English if you don’t speak Japanese and can’t find an English-speaking person). This site is also helpful: http://www.manyou-kumamoto.jp/contents.cfm?id=292

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The Reigando Cave (霊巌洞) is basically a small cave in the mountains close to Kumamoto city. It is on the grounds of the very old Unganzenji temple (雲巌禅寺), and it was here, in this cave, where Miyamoto Musashi was said to have written his treatise the Go Rin no Sho (五輪書) in the early 1640′s. Here is a link to a relevant blog http://kenshi247.net/blog/2011/06/20/kendo-places-11-musashi-no-sato/ and here is a youtube link so you can have a look at the cave. Although this gives a good idea visually of how the cave looks. I really feel that you have to visit these places to feel the connection and the sense of peace. Its all about being truely there. That is after all why we enjoy traveling and why it can be a catalyst for awakening.

These links are for Ganryu-jima. – “Ganryūjima (巌流島, (formally Funajima 船島) is an island in Japan located between Honshū and Kyūshū, and accessible via ferry from Shimonoseki Harbor (下関港). It is famous for the duel between Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojirō. The small island was named for its boat-like appearance, and later became to be called the Ganryū kenjutsu school Kojirō had founded” (wikipedia)

During Golden Week (May 3-5) a small festival is held in honor of the epic duel fought between the legendary swordsmen Miyamoto Musashi (author of the Book of Five Rings) and Sasaki Kojiro known as the Demon of the West. They met in 1612 on the island which is now known as Ganryujima and when the duel was over Kojiro lay dead and Musashi was victorious. The actual details of the duel are debatable but the legends of it are very persistent. It’s said that Musashi purposely arrived late, unwashed, and carrying a wooden sword he had carved out of an oar on the way over – all of this to unnerve his opponent. Kojiro is said to have struck first but failed to cut Musashi down. Musashi smacked Kojiro on the head killing him or in the some versions finishing him off with a blow to the ribs.

And if you do pass through Shimonoseiki to get to Ganryu-jima, I recommend that the more adventurous of you try the “fuku” or Japanses blowfish. It’s the famous fish which can kill if not prepared properly, and rumour has it that chefs have to be specially licensed to prepare it, and that they have to try a piece every time they make fuku.