SHADES OF ISSHINRYU
Home and dojo of Tatsuo
Kyan Okinawa 1956
Coming upon the village of Kyan
you would be following a path rising above rice paddies wide enough
to accept a small vehicle or cart but when you actually entered the
village you would follow a foot path. The entire village was
surrounded by a wall consisting of coral and foliage.
Kyan consisted of about 20 houses and when
entering the village you had the impression that everyone was
related.There were no sidewalks, just beaten paths between the
houses. It was a rough trail because it had dirt over coral and at a
lot of places the coral was protruding from the dirt, cutting your
feet as you walked. When you approached the Shimabukuro home and
dojo two steps took you to wall surrounded by cinderblock, the wall
built of coral and covered with a coating of cement.
The wall was covered with bean vines
which blocked the view from the path to the home. When you went up
the stairs and around the wall you could see the yard. On the far
side of the yard was the living area. On the right side of the home
was the binjo or toilet. On the left was the kitchen and firepit.
The home consisted of three rooms with no
visible heating system but boasted of the only light bulb in the
village.The doors were the sliding type with sliding partitions.
Inside the home itself a large room was divided in half. Woven mats
covered wood floors. This front area would be considered the living
rooms or family area. The one large room in the rear was the
sleeping area. When we did not work outside in the yard we used the
living area, but not many times. There was also a small area which
could not be classified as a room but served as a kitchen. There was
no floor. A fire would be built on the ground and a metal grill
would be put over the coals in order to sit pots on.
Directly in front of the binjo, to the right of
the home was the well of Tatsuo's dream.
Floor Plan Shimabukuro
The yards served as the workout area as well as home
for the vegetables and farm life that supported the family's
existence. Coral covered by dirt allowed the coral to protrude and
cause some grief when walking, turning or jumping.
The well was a hole in the ground, surrounded by small
rocks. The water drainage from the roof kept the well filled.
The stills were used to insure a constant supply of
rice wine. Actually there were three seperate tanks.
The walls were a combination of coral, rocks, cinder
blocks, and wood, wree around 5 feet high. The entrance was
Punching boards sunk in the dirt were covered by some
type of rope. This area also held the master
mackiwara or punching pedestal. Built of wood, the pedestal was
around 6 feet long, allowing sufficient room to stand on. One end
had a 2x4 with a split in the top end to take up the concussion of
the strike. The opposite end had a smaller 2x4 built the same way.
The idea was to hit the larger post, which swung away from the
punch, then quickly the elbow was driven back to the lower post,
striking, thus creating a back and forth motion, assuring proper
retraction which is the basis of Isshin Ryu.