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SHADES OF ISSHINRYU

The well that sparked Tatsuo's dream

   Who would have thought in May of 1959 that this photo taken of #3 daughter Yukiko, this photograph of a simple patch of weeds and flowers to the right of Master Uezu's wife, would be known as the well of Mizu Gami or Megami. The name all depends on what side of the broken spine of Isshinryu a person subscribes to.
   The well consisted of a circular shaft dug into the earth and the rock wall surrounding it rose about 4 feet from the ground. There was a simple crank that you could throw a bucket down and crank it back up again. This was their water supply but to other people, westerners, the well that provoked the dream.

   My concern with this dream is that my Master, as he was the one who supposedly had this dream, Tatsuo Shimabukuro, never ever wore the patch that is now the figurehead of Isshinryu. The credit for the following belongs to those who control the Internet.

   Master Shimabukuro's dream tells of him training alone in his dojo, when he was approached by an awesome stranger who challenged Tatsuo. Sensei, being a peaceful man and according to the dream, stepped back, into what is called a Seiunchin position, as in my version of the drawing of my Isshin Ryu patch. He then lowered his left hand, palm downward, and his right hand above and beyond his head. This, as I teach it, signifies a position of a peaceful warning backed up by aggressive action. Immediately his attacker disappeared, leaving Tatsuo surrounded by flames. Tatsuo simply drew water from the well and doused the flames.

   There are different names for the image portrayed on the several Isshin Ryu patches which are changed as the need of the egos of those need stroking. Westerners have the gall to challenge Angi Uezu's version of the patch, Mizu Gami, meaning Water Goddess, and then there are those who challenge Kichiro Shimabuku's version of the patch, called MeGami, which is supposed to mean Goddess of Isshin Ryu. In my opinion, why throw water on the flame if the water does not represent something? Mizu simply means water.

 

Shimabukuro Sensei wore this patch only once in his lifetime, as a favor to Don Nagle.

 

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Copyright 2005 Harry G. Smith