MASTER EGAMI'S WORRIES IN HIS LAST YEARS

BY GENSHIN HIRONISHI

EXTRACTED FROM SHOTOKAI SPAIN BULLETIN Nr. 11



Egami has truly been an authentic prodigy of Karate. He dedicated all his life to the development of his own style. He was blessed with many disciples that respected him. Karate in his hands evolved in general. Nobody could have contributed more to karate than he did.

Even considering the sicknesses that attacked him in his last years of life, his passion and restlessness never declined. Right till his last moment he worried how he could transmit his message in the best possible way.

His worries were infinite, which clearly showed his continuing passion for Karate and his interest in attaining a better efficiency in his teaching method.

Another of his worries was based on the fear that his style had become a sacred form, untouchable and unmodifiable. If this should ever happen it would be a contradiction, because he himself, in his youth, had rebelled against the Kyokai that had transformed everything into something untouchable.

I can surely say most of his worries were due to the mental weakness of the youngsters.

As it is often said, today the young ones are in no way the same as in the past. They do not want hard work, they only want to get to the goal effortlessly and taking shortcuts. This surely explains a film which had a title that very much amuses me, "How to advance in your business without hard work".

The advances in our civilization offer us a comfortable and easy life. The young ones always have the enormous advantage of having many comforts at hand. But unfortunately, once they are accustomed to comfort they are incapable of realizing that behind every comfort there are implicitly many years of effort and research. They never get around to think about things that way, their mentality is weak.

The young Egami students shared this weakness with today's youngsters. They should think back upon those years of hard training to understand, reevaluate and definitively approve those achievements attained by the masters. But who actually does this type of exercise?

Egami was horrified seeing the young ones imitate his achievements, transforming them in mere forms. This happened with the IRIMI technique, that must be practiced with defiance confronting all the opponent's attacks with a very strong mental attitude. However the younger ones practiced without this defiance and without the mental attitude, transforming irimi into just another evasion technique.

The young ones are changing and together with this change the teaching method must also change. But how shall it change?

This sparked his intention of reintroducing the use of the Makiwara in training, something he had eliminated as useless. The students should then train with it, feel real physical pain and understand the uselessness of the instrument in order to attain a superior level.


My friend Egami has died.

I should follow with his wish to stimulate the young ones. But I am tired. Physically I am well off, but his death has weakened me and I am tired. Now I have the feeling of living in a great void. I will not get over this weakness.

I should say that I will continue making my friends dreams come true, but I can't. My words would sound empty. I would not be able to utter them.

My friend, I will go to your side very soon and we will remember all we went through in our youth.

Wait for me a bit, alright?


Comments by Master Hironishi, he was, when this article was written, the President of the International Shotokai Association with Headquarters in Japan, the only surviving 5th dan of the 12 that existed by the end of World War II.


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