Okinawa Time

During the early hours of today in England we moved our clocks forward an hour in time. This act may seem a little strange to others, but to us English it was done for good reason during times of war but more to do with longer day light time, now though it actually feels quite good as we now instantly gain an extra hour of light on an evening during the summer months, whilst being a firm sign that the warmer weather is now upon us. On the down side of things there are of course some who complain about losing a mere hour in bed. The good thing here though is that we will gain this hour back in the autumn, which is all quite confusing I know. Time can in fact be a strange old thing and in many ways it can have a significant impact upon our lives, to the point that if we allow it to our lives can in fact be ruled and maybe even spoiled by thoughts of time.

Many words just like the following are often spoken; “When the time is right I’m going to move away from around here”, “In a few years time I’m going to visit Okinawa to train in Karate”, “When I retire I’m going to cruise around the world”, “Next year I’m going to get fit and in better shape”. “By the time I’m 60 I will have my house paid off and then I’ll take things easy”. Where by in reality these words are often spoken with genuine intent, but actually just end up becoming time talk or a distant dream that for one reason or another will rarely ever be fulfilled.

We can and should all make good use of our time on earth as it is very very precious, we all certainly waste a lot of time, we even get lost in it or maybe even lose it altogether, the same as remembering past times or researching the past times of others who have gone before us, together with looking to plan our future time wisely too. But at the end of the day with time we just can’t stop it or get it back either. I’d say that almost everyone who has walked the earth before us or is still with us and is of a late elderly age, would give anything to have their time again.

This time for me is one area where by the people of Okinawa are so different to most. There’s a well known time saying on the home of Karate known as “Okinawa Time”, of which there are a few varying interpretations to the meaning, but the main theme of things is that there is time and there is Okinawa Time (no not the pop band either). On main land Japan the people are very strict and in many ways controlled by time, but in Okinawa the pace of things is so different as things go by what they term as “Okinawa Time” of which they are very more relaxed generally and don’t get so stressed out by the clock, in many ways you can expect people to be late to social events and it’s no big deal. In the same way that they will do things but don’t stress over doing them now. However, bad time keeping for classes or meetings is frowned upon so please don’t misunderstand me here. There’s even a time for Okinawa time…

The way of the island people is that they make such excellent use of their time; they enjoy it to the full and use it wisely. They rise early in the mornings and lay late in the evenings, whilst they work hard to a late age as they still go about their daily chores, whilst finding time to look after and visit family members, all being done within a relaxed stress free kind of way, which we all know is not easy by any means. Whilst not only finding but making time to consider their bodies own well being as they balance out hard work with regular socialising and physical exercise, together with local activities like Karate and dance. You will often here it mentioned in Karate talk that all the Okinawans seem to do is party and Karate, and Karate and party they do…. Anyone who has ever visited Okinawa for training will know to well that time and training is no issue, entering the Dojo as arranged at say 9am then training until the Sensei decides to stop is the norm, be it 12pm, 2pm or even 5pm, that’s just how it is and it’s no big deal.

Many put the excuse of time in the way for not doing many things (like practicing Karate) when in reality that’s all it is, an excuse. We’ve certainly all wasted time in the past; including having our time wasted by others too, especially as a teacher, wasting time on poor students or surrounding ourselves with negative people is a downwards direction for sure. But I think that as we get older we all tend to become wiser in these matters by being more careful whilst both respecting and appreciating life a little more, especially if we’ve lost loved one’s, I know I do and I’m only 42, I say only… The people of Okinawa have so many lessons they can teach us, no not just on the Karate front but on how to enjoy and live our lives to the full. In many ways they are a rural unique born people that have not become accustomed to the frantic turmoil of many modern
day big city life styles, thus preferring to embrace and retain the slow pace of time and life style, whilst being surrounded by nature’s beauty. A combination that is conducive to living a good, long, and healthy stress free life.

The next 12 months or so my time is certainly going to be quite busy as I have more than a few things to sort and plan out, so I for one have to be extra careful to make sure that I use my time wisely as I give it much more serious thought and consideration…There’s the relocating with my family to the South West coast of England. The setting up of a new small private Karate Dojo for my own personal training, together with a list of other things…

Oh and lastly I intend to keep my blog going and keeping those interested up to date on training and development, but only time will tell as they say…