75-year-old Okinawan woman attains a Karate black belt
December 11, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
75-year-old Tsuneko Machida from Uechi Style Ageda Women’s Karate School in Adaniya, Kitanakagusuku Village passed a level four test. Tsuneko joined the Karate School when she was 63 years old. For 12 years, she regularly attended practices on Wednesdays and Fridays and showed a lot of discipline. It is rare for a 65-year-old person to start learning Karate, and pass the test at 75-year-old. Students from the school celebrated her achievement.
As a child, Tsuneko was interested in Karate. When she asked to join a Karate school at the age of 20, she was rejected. At that time, Karate schools were mostly closed to women. While she instead practiced Ryukyuan dance, her interest in and passion for Karate grew.
Learning about a Karate school only for women, Tsuneko joined the school to make Karate her last enrichment lesson. Tsuneko has trained under coaching by Master Hatsuko Machida. Focusing on disciplining the body rather than becoming strong, Tsuneko has practiced Karate.
Tsuneko has never missed lessons. She said, “I continued because I like it. I have never thought of missing a lesson. Thankfully, my lower body is now strong. I gained more stamina and have not caught a cold. I would like to keep myself healthy.”
Ageda Karate School for Women currently has more than 30 female students. Regarding the future of Okinawa’s traditional Karate, Tsuneko said, “I hope young people learn Karate and promote it.” Tsuneko passed the test on November 21. Wearing her black belt, she looks very dignified. At a co-ed lesson on the 3rd, she trained hard with 20 other students.
For more information about Ageda Karate School for Women, call 098 (935) 3600.
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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