2004 Trip to Okinawa
I had the pleasure of talking with O'Sensei 6 or 7 times before my trip to train with him. He was very nice to talk to and always welcomed a call. House I found our conversations made me relaxed when I met him for the first time. This was my first time leaving the country. I was both nervous and excited. I was traveling with 4 other black belts: my instructor Penna Sensei, another one of his black belts Rob Wallace, Weinberg Sensei from NY Rendokan and Felix Sanes one of Weinberg Sensei's black belts. Also training with us was Betsy Barton of North Carolina who met us in Okinawa.

After 22 hours of traveling we landed in Okinawa. Waiting for us at the airport was O'Sensei. It was a great feeling to see him. As we walked toward him he had a "proud father's smile" on his face. After Weinberg Sensei introduced us we were on our way to his house. His house is awesome. Training There is a Tori Gate leading to his front door. He lives on the first floor and his dojo is on the second floor.

The training sessions were twice a day for about 2 hours each session. Each session started with warm up exercises. We covered all 24 katas and O'Sensei's kumite, jujitsu and kobudo sets. The first few days were spent on jujitsu, going through 1 set at a time. Then we went through all 24 katas. We went through most katas 10 to 12 times each. After the katas were completed we went through the kumite and kobudo sets.

Initially I was trying to go to Okinawa by myself because my Sensei (Penna Sensei) was unable to make the trip. I was very happy that I waited. His working knowledge of Shorin-Ryu and of myself helped me get more out of the Rainbow training.

After a few days passed Weinberg Sensei & I noticed we were both getting up early so we decided to pick one site to go and see each morning. It was Weinberg Sensei's 7th trip to train with O'Sensei and his knowledge was valuable. I quickly fell in love with the island; the aqua water, the changing skies, the sunrise and sunset, the rain in batches while the rest of the sky was blue (We were lucky to see a rainbow). We even had 2 typhoons.

O'Sensei ate every meal with us. Japanese food was a new experience for me. I found I liked most of it. Eating Some of my favorite foods were sushi, pigs foot and dragon fruit. My favorite snack is peanut M&Ms. I brought a few pounds with me and was happy when O'Sensei said they were #1.

My favorite part of the trip was experiencing O'Sensei. Goodbye It was great to actually live in his presence. Besides being the master he is, he also is a great person to talk to. He has a wealth of stories to listen to. As I found in my phone calls to him he is a pleasant and kind man that likes to talk to everyone. As I left for my airplane I turned to look one last time and saw him standing watching until we were gone. I felt that I was leaving a grandfather behind in a far off land. I miss him and hope to see him again soon.

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