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Karate Competition Reflects Spirit of Mutual Understanding

By: Michael

Date Posted: 2000-06-10

Martial Artists are perhaps the most courteous type of people I've ever met and we at Japan Update were honored to report on The Okinawan Kempo Association's Friendship Competition held at Camp Kinser's gymnasium last Sunday.

Courtesy or manners do count for something, indeed, the highest ranking officals of the Association were the most accommodating. The politeness is genuine and stems from the fact and fear of their own ability and knowledge.

However, you should be warned: don't mistake size or gender for ability while residing as a guest on Okinawa!

The opening ceremonies began promptly at 9:00 a.m. with respect to the nations of Japan and The United States Of America. This was followed by speeches from the Base Commanding Officer and local politicians, a U.S. Consulate officer and members of the association.

Out of respect, Gysgt Earl Herndon, Earl Herndon Jr., Lawrence Herndon and Precious Herndon, all black belts, performed the first demonstration or Kata. The Kinser Gym has served as Gysgt Herndon's school or Dojo for his recent tour-of -duty on Okinawa. Unfortunately, the Herndon family will be departing Okinawa shortly.

Mr. Toru Kiyan a 7th degree black belt and Gysgt Herndon's teacher, with the help of many, was the event's chief architect. His devotion to the spirit of this peaceful, yet deadly art was proven through his deeds in designing and orchestrating this complicated event.

The Deputy Principal Officer of The U.S. Consulate on Okinawa, Dr. Lawrence J. Mire was a key-note speaker and made the following comments, " the spirit of karate is a reflection of the living spirit of the Okinawan people. Participants in today's tournament will have a unique opportunity to experience at first hand the living traditions and values which gave birth to their martial art."

Camp Kinser's Base Commanding Officer, Col. Paul R. Puckett is a man of compassion and believes that events involving U.S. forces and locals will "increase our friendship and communication, which will ultimately lead us to a mutual understanding."

"Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor, as it says in the Good Book (Eccl. 4:9)

My personal impressions of the Okinawan Kempo Association's tournament are varied. The competition judges, masters and referees performed their respective duties flawlessly. The youngest competitors displayed the best virtues of being young. However, mistakes did occur and excess was occasionally present, yet still, we learn more from our mistakes than we ever will from our accomplishments.

Historically, Okinawa has been a place of great tragedy, but the strongest steel will always be forged in the hottest fire. The competition honors the memory of Grand Master Nakamura-sama.

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