My Journey With The Grandmaster
Good resources on traditional martial arts, let alone Okinawan karate, are a hard find these days. With the influx of sportive and new fangled modern systems devised by self-appointed "masters" it seems the techniques and values of karatedo have been lost, or worse, misunderstood by one generation after another with the administering of so-called "improvements" leading to an aberration of the survival arts of Okinawa that have been passed down through antiquity.
In his book My Journey With The Grandmaster, retired Major Bill Hayes recounts his experiences in karate training while stationed on Okinawa as a US Marine following a tour of duty in Vietnam from 1966 - 67. There, at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, he encounters Eizo Shimabukuro, 10th dan in Shorin-ryu karate. Hayes Sensei describes in fascinating detail his metamorphosis from a slightly full-of-himself "jarhead" to a dedicated and humbled student under the Grandmaster. While he was awed by the unbelievable skill and deadly proficiency of his teacher, the OSensei nonetheless possesses the compassion and wisdom one would expect from a master of any stripe.
The book is filled with thought provoking, mystical, and at times amusing tales relating to the maturation process necessary for one to embark on the karate path. The author explains that an in-depth understanding of Okinawan culture and history is imperative to appreciate karate's original intent as a bugei system (combative or "life protection" art).
In summation, Journey's formula for karate mastery as a way of life requires nothing less than a strong moral character, duly recognized high skill level and optimal health through proper training and nutrition.
For Hayes Sensei, the way of the empty hand is a never ending path, as he still regards himself an "Old Student" under the Grandmaster.
*For those interested in purchasing a copy of "My Journey With The Grandmaster", kindly contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.