欢迎来到

Karate master woman shatters glass ceiling in Okinawa

时间:2024-07-26 01:10:55 出处:阅读(143)

Karate master woman shatters glass ceiling in Okinawa

By GEN OKADA/ Staff Writer

March 13, 2024 at 07:00 JST

  • Print

Photo/IllutrationNobuko Oshiro, a pioneering female karateka, strikes a fighting stance in Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture, on Jan. 23. (Gen Okada)

URASOE, Okinawa Prefecture--Nobuko Oshiro didn't back off when her instructor of an Okinawan-style dance suggested that she take karate to improve her dance steps. 

“I found that a karate dojo constituted a male-dominated community, though,” Oshiro said, looking back when she started learning the martial art when she was 28. “I often heard others remark that women cannot excel in karate.”

But Oshiro persevered, training her muscles and enduring punches to her belly to strengthen her body. She said she could continue taking karate just because mastering new physical skills intrigued her.

Reaching the 5th dan rank when she was 45, Oshiro became the first woman to open her own dojo on Okinawa.

The female karate master has witnessed the gradual changes the traditional martial art underwent on the nation's southernmost island. 

According to Oshiro, karate was born during the era of the Ryukyu Kingdom in Okinawa. Whereas various theories abound about the actual origin of the martial art, many schools have since been founded.

“Its detailed history is unknown in many respects after records were destroyed by fire in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa,” Oshiro said.

Oshiro once traveled to China to explore the possible relationship between karate and the Chinese martial art of kung fu.

“Unique body positions in karate called ‘gamaku’ and ‘muchimi’ were not found in Chinese martial arts,” she recalled. “I became convinced that karate came into existence and was developed on Okinawa.”

INTIMIDATED BY HUNDREDS OF PUSH-UPS

After she opened her karate studio, Oshiro had to overcome skepticism about being a female instructor. 

“Two people showed up for ‘dojo-yaburi’ to challenge and defeat me at the time,” she said. “They seemingly wanted to see how well a woman can perform.”

Oshiro said her challengers promptly ran from her dojo after seeing her doing 200 push-ups to warm up.

She was awarded the hanshi 9th dan status last year, a first for a female karateka on Okinawa, as a result of her prolonged period of teachings and training.

Oshiro remembers her karate mentor telling her that techniques in the martial art should be refined “late at night so no one can observe the moves.”

The aim was likely to prevent outsiders from stealing developed techniques and pass them down exclusively within the karate school.

Oshiro retraced the step-by-step changes the traditional martial art form has been undergoing.

“Karate used to be solely practiced by young men around midnight,” she said. “Now a diverse range of individuals from children to elderly citizens engage in it diligently and a growing number of women are involved in karate as well.”

Karate has spread the world over. Oshiro has heard about one instance in which a U.S. military officer took an interest in the martial art when stationed on Okinawa and went on to become an instructor.

Karateka and fans across the globe currently visit Okinawa since they deem the region as a “holy place” for karate.

“Okinawa may be considered to be something special not only because karate derived from Okinawa but also because karate training is part of everyday life in this place marked by many dojo,” Oshiro said.

She vowed to keep moving forward.

“I will continue working hard to maintain people’s passion for karate in this sacred place, although the numbers of both dojo and students were down amid the novel coronavirus pandemic,” Oshiro said.

分享到:

温馨提示:以上内容和图片整理于网络,仅供参考,希望对您有帮助!如有侵权行为请联系删除!

友情链接: