YUIMARU HAKKEN - A new karate seminar event in Okinawa

ICHARIBA CHODEI – Immerse yourself in the Okinawa Karate Life

Hi, I’m James Pankiewicz, Matsubayashiryu karate practitioner on Okinawa, founder of The DOJO Bar and more recently the Asato Dojo. I have been living here in Okinawa for almost 10 years now enjoying the ‘Okinawa Karate Life’ – training, learning and living the traditional values of Okinawan karate. I know I’m very fortunate to be able to enjoy this and deeply believe in the benefits of sharing opportunities to learn in Okinawa with others from around the world. The DOJO Bar was established in this spirit and the international 100 Kata Challenge events I started in 2014 are a way for many thousands of practitioners worldwide to connect with Karate Day in Okinawa every year .

Now, I’m very pleased to announce a new seminar program in Okinawa designed to give you more than most regular seminars here. There are a variety of seminar opportunities in Okinawa every year but most only offer a short taster session with the Okinawan sensei. An hour, 2 hours, even 4 hours with a teacher is hardly enough for them to show anymore than the bare basics of their art. In addition time constraints and language barriers often result in almost no time to have any meaningful and developed dialogue with the teacher to understand their views on their art, their history, experience and philosophy. As a Japanese speaker I can tell you that your understanding of karate can be TRANSFORMED by just one good conversation with the right teacher.


The “Yuimaru Hakken” seminars start this year (2019). In Okinawan “Yuimaru” refers to the circle of the people, the connections between people and “Hakken” is discovery. We intend that this seminar program will give you the opportunity to discover the Okinawan fighting arts, get to know highly respected teachers and experience the culture of the Okinawan islands.

Each seminar is a 12 day program including 3 days of intensive study with each of 3 Okinawan teachers PLUS 3 days of additional activity days to discover more of exciting and beautiful Okinawa. This 3 x 3 day program will give you approximately 15-20 hours of instruction time with each teacher PLUS relaxed time to enjoy meals together with the teacher and other non-training activity. You will be accompanied from start to finish by a Japanese/English speaking experienced local karateka to provide interpretation and local guidance (usually that will be me, or one of my assistants). When possible you will be offered accommodation at the dojo too to maximise your time with each sensei. A typical daily program will include first light morning training on the beach or park, breakfast together, morning training at the dojo, afternoon rest time, evening training and dinner together.

You will stay not just in Naha but visit local dojo located around Okinawa island in a range of locations. Group size for each seminar will not exceed 18 participants (minimum of 9). Transportation will be provided.


The Details

Seminar date

  • December 21st to January 4th (2020).

Instructors List for 2019:

  • Nakasone Koiichi sensei, Ryukyu Kingdon Suidi Bujitsu (Shuri-te) 9th dan (view )
  • Yagi Isao sensei, Bu Mai Moide Motobu-ryu 9th dan (view)
  • Gaja Takehiro sensei, Uechi-ryu karate, Matayoshi Kobudo 9th dan (view)


  • James Pankiewicz
  • Becka Tedder


Please complete the application form (below) and send us via email, and pay the 10,000 yen deposit to reserve your place. We reserve the right to decline your application and if we do so your deposit will be refunded in full. You are expected to participate in the whole training program (rest day activities are optional). Please note that this is intensive training and maybe physically demanding. You may sweat. A lot. 

Total Cost per person per seminar – 295,000 Yen (Japanese)

Payable in 3 stages:

  1. Deposit – 10,000 yen – required to reserve your place.
  2. Second payment – 115,000 yen due from May 1st 2019.
  3. Third payment – 120,000 yen due from August 1st 2019.

All payments must be received at the latest 4 weeks in advance of the seminar start date. Deposit is 100% refundable within 30 days of receipt. Payment may be made by Paypal or international bank transfer. Transaction fees to be paid by sender please. Please contact us for payment details. 

Please click the button below for a sample itinerary and daily seminar plan

Please click the button below to open the application form. Please complete and email to james@challengeokinawa.com with subject heading Yuimaru Hakken Application

Deposits and remaining seminar payments may be sent via Paypal.com to james@challengeokinawa.com .

Questions can sent via email to james@challengeokinawa.com. And please follow our Facebook page for updates (https://www.facebook.com/challengeokinawa/)

Introducing The Okinawan Karate Nerd Programme (OKNP)

Would you like to experience living and training in Okinawa – the birthplace of Karate?

Today is your lucky day!

We are accepting NEW APPLICATIONS NOW for the next Karate Nerd program in Okinawa to commence 2H 2018/early 2019. Click the link below to apply.



OKNP is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young Karate Nerds between the ages of 18-35 to fly to Okinawa and live there for 6-12 months and experience the Way of Karate at its source.

This programme is the result of an exclusive collaboration between Jesse Enkamp, chief karate nerd at KARATEbyJesse.com, and James Pankiewicz, founder of The DOJO Bar and Challenge Okinawa, together with Seishin International as proud sponsor.

If you are a young Karate Nerd who dreams of discovering the essence of Karate (…and yourself) – keep reading.

The Okinawan Karate Nerd Programme includes:

– 6 or 12 months living in Okinawa – the birthplace of Karate.

– Daily training with traditional Karate masters and living legends.

– Hands on involvement behind the scenes in Okinawan seminars and events.

– Assistance in working part time in local businesses and assisting at Challenge Okinawa (The 100 Kata Event, international seminars etc).

– Access to unique Okinawan cultural activities such as working in a awamori factory or with a master sanshin maker, exploring Okinawa’s mountain trails, or coastline on kayak, exploring Okinawa’s castles and caves, learn to cook traditional food etc.

The first class of Okinawa Karate Nerds have been having the adventure of a lifetime since arriving in Okinawa in spring 2017. Check out our reports on their experiences …

The Karate Nerds in Okinawa!

If you are accepted into OKNP, the following will be provided for you:seishin_hokama

– Pre-trip advice on visa application (applicant must apply themselves) and general preparation help.

– Airport pick up, good value accommodation (applicant pays) and orientation on Okinawa.

– Help with designing personal training programme, introductions to local teachers and access to other Karate resources.

– Help with finding part time work such as at The DOJO Bar, Asato Dojo or other local businesses,  and/or as assistant in local Karate events.

– Introduction to cultural and learning opportunities such as Japanese lessons, calligraphy lessons, cooking classes etc.

– Special excursions and trips around Okinawa and nearby islands to discover unique locations and people.

– Any assistance required with other necessary services such as travel, local government, medical etc.

We are accepting NEW APPLICATIONS NOW for the next Karate Nerd program in Okinawa to commence 2H 2018/early 2019. Click the link below to apply.

Sounds amazing, right? Click here to get access to the application form.