This is an excerpt from “Okinawa journey”
by Kyoshi Anthony Marquez
Then the most amazing thing happened. Isa Sensei asked me if I had heard of “Karamiti” . I said no, I had not, and I asked him what it was. Keep in mind that we were sitting in a very small living room. I was sitting across from Isa Sensei and his assistant, Mr. Tamai, to his left. For the next 20-30 minutes he proceeded to give me a private demonstration of this thing called “Karamiti.” He asked Mr. Tamai to put his hand on his shoulder and in a flash he took Mr. Tamai’s arm and put it in a joint lock that had his assistant in pain tapping out. Isa Sensei then pointed to his assistant’s wrist joint and said “Karamiti.” This happened so quickly that my eyes felt as if they had been deceived. I had never seen a display of speed such as this in my 25 plus years of experience. I could clearly see the expression of pain on Mr. Tamai’s face and I quickly ruled out the possibility of a staged display or gimmick.
Isa Sensei outdid himself for the next half hour by demonstrating more intricate displays of this “Karamiti.” His assistant grabbed, punched, kicked, swung, and just about did every kind of attack possible from various angles. Isa Sensei first demonstrated from a sitting position, then from a standing position. Isa Sensei calmly and swiftly had Mr. Tamai at every turn face down on the floor in serious pain in one joint-lock technique or another. This man was not only in pain, but he was totally drenched in sweat. It was a funny sight to see, for he was wearing a business suit and tie and he was punching and kicking in full force. I was sweating just watching. Isa Sensei gave his assistant instructions to grab here or there, punch to the face or to the body. However, he also allowed Mr. Tamai to attack at will with any technique whatsoever. The variations he used were continuous. To do this in a small enclosure from a distance of about 3 feet, not having the spaciousness of a dojo, was truly amazing. Isa Sensei was in full control of this man. He threw Mr. Tamai around the room yet nothing was disturbed or broken. Throughout the demonstration, nothing was overdone, Isa Sensei was in complete control putting Mr. Tamai in a position where there was just enough applied pain to force him to tap out. I was to find out later how Mr. Tamai felt when these same techniques were to be applied on me.
I wondered why he was even showing this to me. In all my years of training under some very notable teachers as well as having seen Judo, Aikido, Jujutsu, and Taijutsu, I had never seen anyone apply joint locks with such ease and speed and afflict so much pain in such a short time. I said to myself at that moment, “I would love to study whatever this is!” I was so impressed by this small Okinawan master that my original reasons for visiting Isa Sensei were long out of my mind. After he finished the demonstration, Isa Sensei said this was what he called “Karamiti.” I told him that in the time I had spent on Okinawa, I had seen every style available; seen dozens of demonstrations; shot hours of video; even my Goju sensei, Shinjo Masanobu, had taken me to many private events, training sessions, and demonstrations that were not open to the public, yet I had never seen nor heard of “Karamiti.” So I asked him dozens of questions about its history, others who knew the system, whether or not there was a systematic way of learning it, and so on. Isa Sensei said that it was getting late and we should make another appointment to continue. At that moment, I realized that I had told my team of black belts that I would return in half an hour and it was now four hours later.