The dancing old man

Talking of the relation between karate and Okinawan dance, it reminds me of an interesting story which I heard from my father, Seitoku Higa.

A long time ago, there was a karateka whose name was Machaa Buntoku or Kinjo Matsu in Itoman village, Okinawa. He was born in 1867. People said that he had been practicing karate in Fuzhou city, Fujian province, China and mastered the fighting arts in depth.
Hearing about Machaa Buntoku, Miyagi Sensei, the founder of Gojuryu, visited him together with Sensei’s disciples, Jin-an Shinzato and Seiko Higa. Miyagi Sensei asked him to show them his best Kata that he mastered in China. Then Machaa Buntoku put on Hachimaki (=headband) and performed a strange dance in front of them. He danced and danced. Seeing his strange dance, Seiko Higa thought this old man must be crazy or mad because of his old age. Jin-an Shinzato who was yet young at that time lost his temper to see his dance and told him “OK. Dance is enough! Show me your fighting technique! I will be your opponent.” Shinzato delivered a karate blow at him, but Shinzato was thrown down by the dancing old man and hurt his back. He lost face. Everyone there felt awkward about it, so they bowed to the old man and went home. On the way home no one spoke.

This anecdote was told to my father by Master Seiko Higa. For the dancing old man, he just showed them his best Kata, however, they had never supposed that his dancing was his best fighting technique.

Remarks: This is a part of the article “Sometimes I play karate like Okinawan dance ‘Hamachidori’: Karate and Okinawan dance are the same.” written by Mr. Kiyohiko Higa, a teacher of Naha Technical High School. The article appeared in the monthly magazine “Aoi Umi” February 1978 issue (No.70) published by Aoi Umi Shuppansha (page 118).

translated by Sanzinsoo

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