1969 article on master Yagi and Sūpārinpe
Okinawa Kōkai no Yūbe
National special invitation exemplary demonstration (Part III)
(Published on September 23, 1969)
Striving to spread karate
Yagi Meitoku Hanshi (Gōjū-ryū Meibukan)
When Mr. Yagi was told that he had passed entrance to middle school (Nicchu) (1), he was immediately taken by his grandfather to become a student of Gōjū-ryū Miyagi Chōjun sensei. His grandfather had studied kanji and karate in the province of Fujian, China. Since he was a descendant of Jana Uēkata who was well versed in the pen and the sword, his grandfather believed that martial arts were compulsory and Mr. Yagi was forced to learn karate.
Mr. Yagi received tuition from the age of 14 years old until after the war, when Miyagi was still alive. Miyagi sensei was a very strict person, and rather than teaching karate at the beginning, he had people sit and listen to him for one to two hours. As this was both mentally and physically difficult, it is said that not many students stayed for a long time. However, it was the master’s principle to teach only the ones who would keep up with him.
Since being in fourth grade at Nicchu, Yagi Hanshi instructed students at a club in Kume district, and after the war he has worked on popularizing karate teaching at the Budō hall of the Customs office. Currently, he has built the Meibukan in his home in Kume district and is working on nurturing the successors of Gōjū-ryū.
Yagi Hanshi will demonstrate Sūpārinpe that he learned from Miyagi sensei. In kanji, this kata’s name is written “One hundred eight hands” and is also called hyaku hachi no te (108 hands). By the way, the watch-night bell also rings 108 times. As Goju-ryu’s Sūpārinpe is the last kata to be taught, it is a kata learned by 5th dan and higher people. It is a long and very sober kata which doesn’t have the flashiness of Kūsankū or Passai.
Yagi Hanshi said, “I have shown this kata to mainland Japan’s Gōjū-ryū dōjō as I had filmed it with an 8 millimeter camera, but with the coming special demonstration at the Nippon Budōkan, I wish to perform in front of many karate people and it would be great if it could serve as a reference for Gōjū-ryū.”
Vice Chairman of All Okinawa Karatedō Federation, Gōjū-kai Chairman, from Kume district, Naha City, 57 years old.
(1) Nicchu was the 2nd middle school of the Okinawa Prefecture, while Icchu was the 1st middle school. They are respectively today’s Naha Senior High School and Shuri Senior High School.