He opens the dojo doors with his small hands and makes eye contact with Renshi Jose and Shihan Harry. He bows and takes his place to warm up. From memory he begins to count “Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Go, Roku, Shichi, Hachi, Kyuu, Juu“.
My son Mason is about to take his first belt test and we are excited and a little anxious. Over the summer we took the kids to the Haines City Library Summer Reading program at the Lake Eva Center. There we saw the flyers for “Karate for Success”. After Mason expressing interest in Karate we signed him up in January at the Haines City Okinawa Shorin Ryu Kokosuai Kempo Karate or OSKF for short. Since his start at the beginning of the year I can already see improvements in his form and technique. The Sensei are great working with each child teaching them karate as well as learning important life skills such as respect and discipline.
Karate which translates to empty hands originated in Okinawa, Japan. My mother Haruko was born in Naha, Okinawa so this form of karate Okinawa Shorin Ryu is special to us because Mason will be learning about his heritage. My nephew Rudy has also been studying this style of karate for several years as well. In class each Karateka (student) is taught various Waza (technique), Kata (form) and Kumite (fight).
At the end of class Mason name is announced and he comes to the front and is awarded his Mudansha Certificate and promoted to the Kyu rank of 9th Kyu/ Yellow Belt. His little face is beaming from ear to ear with a great big smile. Way to go Mason!
Mason is now in his 3rd year of OSKF Karate with Sensei Jose, here are some photos of his journey along the way.