Trip to Okinawa 1994
This was to be my first trip back to Okinawa since I rotated back to the USA. Kise and I had broken away from each other in 1978; right after Sensei Soken stopped active instruction, and refused to be Kise’s teacher any longer.
Ed Marucci (my senior ranking Black belt) had been trying to get us back together for a few years, without much success, having 1st tried by joining Juko Kai (Kise was once affiliated) , and then Kenshinkan, (through Jerry Partain), who was at that time Kise’s number one person here in the States. Kise, through Partain (or so I was told), had agreed to let me come to the Colorado karate seminar as long as I did not cause any trouble, which we all know was going to be a complete bust.
Anyway Ed and I decided to go to face up with Kise on his home ground and we didn’t let Kise know we were coming. After arriving in Naha we caught a cab to our hotel. The Okinawa Grand Hotel was a very up scale hotel. The rooms were around $250 per night, cokes were $5.00 a glass. Needless to say Ed did not drink too much coke there.
After a brief nap we went to the front desk and asked for someone that spoke English, the Ni-san (man) was very helpful. We asked if he could locate Sensei Kise’s phone number for us. We told him that he lived in the Koza City area, and he said he would try to locate him for us. We went off to get something to eat and to do a little site seeing.
When we returned to our hotel, the desk clerk had in fact located Kise’s phone number for us. Ed and I discussed what we would say to Kise, seeing that we did not know how we would be received if he knew I was there. We decided that the clerk would call and say that Ed was a student of a former student of Kise’s, and that we would like to take him to dinner. Kise called us back (to our surprise) after a couple of days and Ed told him we (he and a friend) would like to pay tribute while in Okinawa. Kise agreed to meet Ed at his Dojo in Koza city that evening around 9:00pm. We took a taxi to the dojo address (we had already scoped it out earlier), got out of the cab and walked up to the entrance. We had stopped off earlier that afternoon, and purchased the proper gift card and envelope which is customary, and put $600 cash inside.
When we arrived at the dojo, there was only one light on, in the office since there was no class that night. We removed our shoes, bowed and entered the dojo, waited for a moment, and had to call out “Sensei”, since he didn’t hear us come in. Kise came out of his office walking towards the door. Ed greeted him with me standing behind him. He said “You know my friend Jimmy” while gesturing behind him. When Kise laid eyes on me his jaw dropped. He did not know what to do, or what to expect, but it was obvious that he knew this could be a very bad situation. Ed and I greeted him with a proper bow (hands resting on the front of the thighs showing total respect) and I told him I had come to Okinawa to explain things to him, that I was unable to talk to him in person in the States due to police intervention, or the restraining orders that Greg Lazaris had sworn out on me, that kept me from seeing him.
Kise listened without too much to say. He asked if we would like to go to his favorite bar and have a drink. We agreed, I had purchased a bottle of Johnny Walker Black, which was Kise’s drink of choice at one time, which we took with us. We went to the Prince Club, sat down and started to rekindle old feelings. We talked about old times and Kise started to relax. Kise then asked if we had eaten. I answered no and he had the owner of the bar make us Yakisoba. It was served to us at the bar and was the best that Ed had ever eaten.
We stayed for about three hours or so. Ed was taking muscle relaxers and not drinking, so he drank soda, while Kise and I drank the scotch.
When it was time to settle up, Ed and I paid the bar bill, it was around $350.00, God knows what it would have been if we did not supply our own bottle. Kise asked where we were staying, we told him Okinawa Grand Hotel, and he said, “Oh that’s very expensive.” We agreed.
Kise left agreeing that we would hook up the next day, and had a friend of his, who drove a cab take us all the way back to Naha. The next morning Kise called and told us to check out of the hotel, he had us picked up, and taken to the Hotel Kaiyo in Okinawa City which would run us about $80.00 per night. We gladly checked out of the money pit, and checked in to our new location.
Kise left the hotel and said he would call later that evening so we could hook up. Ed and I went site seeing again. It seemed that every few minutes Ed was stopping for a soda; there are thousands of soda machines all over the Island. (just about one on every corner) We did not know at the time that Ed had diabetes and that was the reason for his excessive thirst. We found out later after our return to the States.
That evening Kise called and said we were to meet back at the same bar, at 10:00 pm, only this time when we got there… who do you think had showed up… Jerry Partain and three of his senior black belts from Colorado (names?? Maybe Ader and a guy from Kansas) It turned out this was Jerry’s first trip back to Okinawa since his original trip. He told Ed at one time that he traveled back each year for training, but Kise said this was his first return trip.
Kise sat in between Jerry and me, Ed sat to my right and the other three black belts were across from us. Kise was patting my knee telling the guys what a good, strong karate-ka I was and that Jerry and I should be friends. After a few rounds of drinks Jerry started saying that he regretted what had happened in Colorado, that he had tried to get Kise to let us attend the tournament/seminar, and then he started with…. I told you Jimmy, that if you wanted to get it on, we would (fight), we could go at it….
I got so pissed off that I jumped up and started yelling at Jerry, I told him I would have kicked the shit out of him back then except I promised not to make any trouble, and I would kick the shit him of him now. AND that Ed and I would beat the shit out of all of you fucking clowns right now.
Kise did not know what to say or do; the more he tried to get us to become friends the more I got pissed. Jerry backed down and started back peddling, he said if we joined up we would make a great teem, that he would be the brains and I would be the brawn… again that pissed me off.
The night did not go to well after that. When it came time for us to leave I told Jerry the bill was no him, I don’t know what the cost would have been for six of us drinking. We got in at 5:00 am after drinking all night, and next morning at 11:00 we were supposed to meet Kise at Kadena AFB to play Bingo of all things. It seems that Kise really likes bingo (as much as karaoke). He even has his own markers that he carries in their own case. Well Jerry spent the rest of his trip with Kise, and Ed and I left the next morning to come back to the States.
Kise and I never got back together, even though I told him repeatedly, that all I wanted from him was to be friends.
There has been much said to Kise about me from others such as Greg Lazaris, and Mike Hancock, just to list the main one’s. Most if not all were out and out lies. This constant feed of lies is the main reason that Kise and I are not even friends today.
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