“Ankō” Itosu Transforms a Thug

Source: "The Okinawan Times" February 28, 2006

Source: “The Okinawan Times” February 28, 2006

One day Yasutsune “Ankō” Itosu walked down to the waterfront to have lunch at a local restaurant. As the renowned karate master rounded a corner, a ruffian leapt forward, launching a punch at Itosu-sensei’s midsection. The elderly Itosu subtly shifted his position and the punch glanced harmlessly off his ribs. But Itosu trapped the thug’s arm before the young man could retract it. Pivoting to face the same direction as the young hoodlum, the karate teacher scanned his surroundings seeing that the young man had friends nearby, but they weren’t coming to his assistance.

Maintaining a vice-like grip on the young man’s forearm, Itosu-sensei switched the arm under his other arm–attacking pressure points as he did.

Establishing control and taking the fight out of the young man with jolts of pain, Itosu said, “Come join me for lunch, we have much to talk about. But first, what is your name.”

“Kojo, everybody calls me Kojo,” the young man said through gritted teeth

“Pleased to meet you, Kojo. My name is Ankō Itosu,” the karate master said.

Itosu led Kojo into the restaurant. At a cursory glance it looked like the older man was walking arm-in-arm with the younger. The two sat down side-by-side.

“So, Kojo, do I know you? Have I done something to lead you to give an old man such a start?” Itosu asked.

“No. My friends dared me. They told me you were Itosu-sensei. We often come down here to test our skills,” Kojo explained.

“And how does your karate teacher feel about this?” Itosu asked.

“Uh… well, I don’t have a teacher,” Kojo replied.

“Ah. Then that’s the problem. You’ll become my student. Your technique could use improvement, and you need to stop this brawling, and especially stop trying to scare old men,” Itosu explained as he released the young man’s arm.

Kojo was taken aback, but didn’t dare turn down the teacher’s offer. He never brawled again, and eventually became a committed student.

BOOK REVIEW: Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the LongestThe Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blue Zones are places with disproportionately large numbers of 100+ year old folks. Buettner’s book contains case studies on four of these blue zones: Sardinia, Okinawa, Loma Linda (California), and Hojancha (Costa Rica), and provides interesting insights on living from the places that produce lots of centenarians.

Even those who aren’t particularly interested in longevity will find a great deal of valuable information in the book. Not unexpectedly, nutrition is at the fore in this book. However, there are other factors such as family and social life, sleep, and being active that correlate strongly with longevity.

A few things I picked up:
– As in Okinawa, one should say hara hachi bu before each meal as a reminder to stop when one is 80% full– rather than 100% or 180% full.
– Most nuts make a good snack even if they’re roasted in an oil that isn’t particularly healthy (the density means limited saturation.)
– Despite our species’ history, which presumably involved gorging on meat when it was available,vegetarians (and near-vegetarians) live longer.
– When you eat is as important as what you eat.

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