Karate not only teaches how to strike and kick; it is also a defence against sickness and disease.

“You have to understand that Shotokan wasn’t always like this. In the early days Funakoshi taught a different way.” The Old Man was now showing us a range of techniques that despite their subtlety were incredibly powerful and liberating. At once I caught a glimpse of Ti; the 'indigenous martial art of Okinawa'. It occurred to me then that aspects of this long thought 'lost art' had indeed survived into the twentieth century. And so began my quest to discover the secret fighting art of Okinawan kings or, as it is more aptly termed, 'Ryukyu Bujutsu'.

martial arts weaponry training, konujutsu. Joel Reeves uses Okinawa-Ti technique to disarm a sword attack

“Pick a weapon. And another. Okay, let’s train spiritually.”

[Letting go... Spiritual training through martial arts.] “How can martial arts lead to spiritual training?” We’d been training for over an hour. Shaking the sting from my cold, wet fingers I unwittingly smeared mud on my face with the back of my hand. Last nights rains had left the ground underfoot sodden and treacherous as Mark and I practised bukitori – ‘weapon reclamation skills’.…