### Hombu Dojo
This is the dojo where Taira Shinken Sensei operated while researching, preserving, and promoting Ryukyu Kobudo. The land and building belonged to the Akamine family, and Akamine Eisuke Sensei founded and named the Shimbukan Dojo. He succeeded Taira Shinken Sensei as the head instructor of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai until his passing in 1999. He was then succeeded by his son, Akamine Hiroshi Sensei, as the president of that association. In 2011 Akamine Hiroshi Sensei founded Ryukyu Kobudo Shimbukan and serves as its head instructor.
Address: Nesabu 676-3
Tomigusuku, Okinawa, Japan
Ryukyu Kobudo training times are on Monday and Thursday evenings from 8:00pm to 10:00pm.
Okinawa Shorin Ryu Mukenkai Karate classes will be on Tuesday and Friday evenings from 8:00pm to 10:00pm.
For those desiring private training sessions please arrange them in advance with Akamine Sensei. Sessions for one person up to two hours will cost 3000 Yen. Please arrange payments in Japanese Yen and pay before the lesson begins. For groups of two or more persons the cost will be 2000 Yen per person. It is traditional to place payment in an envelope when in Okinawa. That is more polite than handing cash directly over. Also paying in foreign currency creates a bit of a problem with exchanges afterward, so please do be considerate of this in advance.
Head Instructor: Akamine Kaicho
Kinjo Sensei (Shihan 6th Dan)
Kinjo Sensei is a Kobudo 6th Dan with several years of training. He more recently started Mukenkai Karate in which he holds a 3rd Dan.
Chinen Sensei (Shihan 6th Dan)
Chinen Sensei is a 6th Dan Shihan and Renshi in Ryukyu Kobudo Shimbukan and 5th Dan in Mukenkai Karate.
Chinen Sensei does not have his own dojo and instead, trains regularly at the hombu dojo. He is always willing to help Akamine Sensei out by taking the classes at the hombu dojo. However, he says he doesn't have the patience for full time teaching and instead prefers to concentrate on his own training.
Chinen Sensei started Kobudo later in life at the age of 43. His favourite weapon is the Kama.
Penny van Heerden (Shihan 5th Dan) Emeritus Hombu Dojo Student
I consider myself South African although I hold both a South African and British passport. I was born in Zimbabwe and moved with my family to South Africa when I was ten years old. I spent a year in the UK after I had finished high school but hardly feel British. On the other hand it is far easier to travel and get visas on a British passport, so as far as immigration is concerned I am indeed British.
I started Kobudo and Jujitsu in South Africa after meeting my husband, Emile van Heerden. He would attend class a 50 minute drive away three times a week. So for a while I would go and watch him practice but that soon got boring and when I was invited to join the class I jumped at the chance. I have to admit that I never really enjoyed Jujitsu much. I have trouble remembering my left from my right at the best of times and when I was supposed to copy the instructors moves in mirror image I just could not get the hang of it. The other problem was that I disliked falling and seemed to get worse the more I practiced.
Kobudo, on the other hand, was thoroughly enjoyable although the syllabus we had to work with in our South African dojo was extremely limited. When my husband told me of his dream to train in Japan and to one day become a black belt I enthusiastically agreed to accompany him. We arrived in Okinawa in March of 1996. At the time we weren't actually married and instead were married in Okinawa in December 1996.
Training, living and building a home and family in Okinawa have been amazing and I am grateful every day for the life we lead here. I have attained 5th Dan in both Ryukyu Kobudo Shimbukan and in Mukenkai Karate and am proud to attend the Hombu Dojo to both continue my training and to help teach new students.
-Note from web admin Penny is now living in Budapest Hungary with her husband and daughter.