Tales of the Dojo Origin: I -The Three Sensei

When I began Goju karate the Dojo was run by three young sensei, in their early twenties. How they reached that level so young is a story into itself, and like any story that circulates around a dojo, it was woven in equal strands of myth and truth. They all began in their early teens when they sort of ran into Kimo Wall (who was then a Shoreikan sensei stationed at a local military base) practicing in a park close to their homes…or was it that he put an ad in the paper… well, anyway, Kimo began teaching them and other youngsters the Goju karate fundamentals in more or less an informal way. Although Kimo was called away by his military duties, he promised to send them an instructor to take his place. One of the students could not wait and started practicing with an army buddy of Kimo, but in Isshin-Ryu (later to return to Goju and eventually become my sensei, Jaime Acosta). The rest drifted away until one day the promised instructor showed up on the Island, sent directly by the Shoreikan Headquarters in Japan through Kimo’s and Toguchi’s mediation. He was Shinoda, meaner than a sweaty Gi, a face like a stone makawara, a walking Sanchin kata, in other words, from the tales that flew like night moths around the dojo, Shinoda was a badass sensei. A white belt’s worse nightmare, a samurai in an insurance salesman suit, because that was how they say he appeared one day at their door. As the legend goes, he was a mae geri to the groin. Goju –Ryu came to Puerto Rico to stay and the sweat began.

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