What it was Like to Train Under Fusei Kise , 4th
Dan Shorin-Ryu Karate, 1960-1964.
I (James H. Coffman) Jimmy, met Sensei Kise in 1960
when I was stationed on Okinawa. I was an electrician, stationed on
Kadena AFB. Kise was a civilian working also as an electrician. My first
work assignment was to be Kise's helper and driver on base.
During the first four hours of the work day, I don't
think Kise said ten words to me. During the lunch break one of my co-workers
told me to go over and slap that small Okinawan. I asked "which small
Okinawan"? The little guy, named Kise. I asked why? I was then told
that Kise was a Karate instructor. When we (Kise and I) went back to
work, I asked Kise if he was in fact a karate instructor? Once I said
the word KARATE, the gates opened. Kise asked if I liked karate? I asked
him if he could break a brick; he laughed and said yes. I said he would
have to show me before I would believe him. We picked up his friend,
Miyazato, another Okinawan electrician and life-long friend of Kise's
and drove out to the officers housing area where we found a flower bed
with bricks around it. I ran over and pulled up one of the bricks. We
then drove to my barracks, where I picked up my camera. Next it was
out to an area where we could do the photo. Kise broke the brick and
I was hooked.
I attended Kise's class that night. Kise at the time
lived in a bad area of Old Koza, his dojo was the back part of his home. His
teacher, Maishiro, Hachi-Dan, was his neighbor, who was so close that
you could reach out of the dojo window and into Maishiro's home.