Joel Reeves writes about Okinawa, martial arts and health. He has trained for over thirty years, including periods living in Japan and on the island, where he is the private student of Higa Kiyohiko of the Bugeikan in Shuri. Currently living in the UK he works as a professional Shiatsu Therapist and is available for one to one and group workshops in Ryukyuan bujutsu.
Very often we hear the phrase “karate-do begins and ends with curtesy”, which, in the West, has largely come to mean ‘start and finish with a bow’. But I’d like to pass on something that my teacher Higa Kiyohiko impressed upon me, which I feel goes far beyond simply ‘paying respect, for respects’ sake’. It’s this, “At the Bugeikan, training begins and ends with gratitude.”
“In its purest form Okinawa Ti has no kata. Not in the sense that karate has anyway.”
However as ‘Ti’ was blended with Chinese Boxing, to create karate there are traces of its techniques and strategies within some of the oldest karate kata still around. Particularly those of the Shuri-te line of influence.
“Most people assume that empty-hand combat comes before weaponry training. When in fact, the opposite is true.”
Ti, like karate, advocates using any part of the body as an effective weapon for self-defence. But the origins of Ti actually stem from its weaponry practice and are, in a sense, a direct extension of weapons usage, both in physical form and strategy.
“A personal blog is a reflection of the individual who keeps it.”
SippingTi first started as a means to enable trainees of my London dojo to follow my journey in Okinawa, where I was eager to pursue my training in Ti (Te) under a reclusive teacher who had long stopped teaching publicly.