The following address was given by Grand Master Shoshin Nagamine at the Okinawa Karate and Kobudo World Tournament in September, 1997. It was his last major public address.
The traditional fighting arts of Karate and Kobudo originated in my homeland of Okinawa and today they are considered to be one of our most important intangible cultural assets. Over the last 50 years in particular, people from all over the world have come to recognize this, and in doing so, Okinawan Karate and Kobudo has enjoyed increasing popularity throughout the world. I am pleased to be here with you today as we celebrate the opening of the Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts. I believe that this building will become an integral part of Karate and Kobudo history and will provide an opportunity for people from around the world to study, train and develop themselves in both traditional martial arts and in becoming better people.
Okinawan Karate and Kobudo has experienced a long, interesting and at times a difficult history. Nonetheless, it has endured and is alive in the spirit of the people from around the world who are practicing today. It is my hope that these practitioners would occasionally reflect upon the history, culture and customs associated with Okinawan traditional fighting arts. I encourage you to continue on this path over the course of your life and develop yourselves to the greatest of your ability in both action and theory.
To mark this truly auspicious occasion I would like to present this training hall and the teachings of the various schools and styles which make up the traditional fighting arts of Okinawa as our gift for all the world to share.
I believe that everyone gathered here today has a passion for Okinawan Karate and Kobudo and I hope that throughout this seminar you will acquire the experience of developing and polishing both your technique and your spirit.
To all of you who have expended time and energy in order to be here today, I would like to welcome you and genuinely thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Grandmaster Shoshin Nagamine, Hanshi (10th Dan)
Founder of Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-do