There are So Many Schools and Sensei - Why Oshita Sensei?
First - I meant what I said with 'sensei'. The word 'sensei' means 'teacher' and comes from Japanese. The Japanese do not pluralize words the way we do by adding an 's'. The pluralization is determined by the context of the sentence. Therefore, I do not add the 's' to the end of 'sensei'. Sorry - too much time spent 'on the ground' in Japan. Now that you understand that I DO proofread...
Another note is that karate is pronounced with equal emphasis on each syllable and the last syllable is pronounced 'teh' not 'tee'. This was one of the first reasons I was drawn to Oshita Sensei. During our first conversation he pronounced the word formally and I knew that he was already head-and-shoulders above any sensei I had met stateside. After more than 25 years away from martial arts (having grown up and trained in Japan) I knew that it would be well worth my time to continue to investigate Jon Oshita. Why was it so important to hear one word pronounced correctly? Because everything about karate - the details - are so important. One slight deviation can lose the entire intended effect. This is why so much of the karate we see looks so 'watered down'. Karate should be hard and powerful (when appropriate) and soft and graceful (when appropriate). I knew that Jon paid attention to the details - it was obvious. So I wanted to learn more...
Oshita Sensei and I spent a great deal of time talking about karate in general (he is not an Isshin Ryu snob per se but believes 100% in the style. However, he may be an Okinawan Karate snob!) I had only spent a small time in Okinawa and was surprised at how little I knew. He talked a great deal about the history of karate and the way that Okinawa served as a melting pot of ideas and culture (in stark contrast to Japan which had remained an isolationist nation throughout almost its entire history). Did you know that the western most islands of Okinawa are only about 700km from Taiwan? He talked about the fusion of Goju-ryu (a traditional 'hard' style) and Shori-ryu (translated as 'Shaolin style' and a 'soft' style). He told me about snapping kicks AND punches (versus the cork screw punch). He showed me how to practice throwing kicks from a natural stance versus the normal 'fighting stance' most practice with. I can only add a few anecdotes here but trust me when I say that Oshita Sensei had my mind spinning and I joined right away. Almost two years later I can say that I don't regret a minute of the time I have put into my studies.
My advice when choosing a style and sensei? Make sure you look at BOTH!
Oshita sensei is legit. His moves are not superfluous; they are not for show. He has complete control of his mind and his body - and after knowing him for these two plus years - his heart. I could not recommend a better sensei and style than Jon Oshita and Isshin-ryu.
Thanks for reading,
Heath Franklin, Brown Belt