I recently attended the re opening of the newly renovated Waikea Recreation center in Hilo on April 26th 2013. The Waikea recreation center is a building dedicated to martial arts and physical training. It was stated during the opening speech that the rec center in Hilo is the only dedicated building in Hawaii for martial arts. The former pick and pay supermarket became a county building dedicated for martial arts in the early 1970’s. Billy Kenoi the Mayor was there and gave a excellent speech about the dedication of the people who gave their time into the renovation project and also thanked the people who did the great work on the building.
The next speaker was Pastor Renee Goday. She also spoke about the great people involved in the renovation of the recreation center. She stated that we needed to have something like this in our community. A place where families can bring their children to learn discipline and respect. She then mentioned she had to thank someone very special to her heart. Pastor Goday proceeded to thank Yoshi Obasa Sensei, chief instructor of Kongo Zen Shorinji Ryu Son Ryu club. He is also known for being a very strict and tough teacher. Obasa Sensei has been teaching Shorinji Karate here in Hilo for 48 years. Pastor Goday said that her mother was an active member of the Karate club for about 10 years many years ago. She then said her mother was starting to suffer from psychological issues and would often think Obasa Sensei was her husband. She would get jealous at the other women in the club when they talked to him. Non the less he kept teaching and treating her with respect despite the issues she was having. Unfortunately, later she had a break down and was hospitalized. Several times during her hospital stay she refused to listen to anyone or receive help and she said she would only talk to Obasa Sensei who she thought was her husband. Obasa Sensei would receive calls late at night to talk to her and he would drive down to the hospital to make sure she would listen to everyone there. Obasa Sensei would let her know everything was all right and people were there to help her. Later when she passed away, Pastor Goday saw Obasa Sensei at the funeral and thanked him for being nice and taking care of her mother. He could have easily kicked her out of the club but didn’t and took the time to help her when she needed it.
Martial arts I think for the most part we all take for similar reasons. Either self defense, physical fitness or something of that nature. We get caught up in the complexities of a kata , the physical endurance of randori or being able to express oneself powerfully. I think sometimes we can learn something just from the actions of our Sensei or club members off the mat. Sometimes those lessons are more meaningful and inspiring than anything you learned on the mat.