Sensei Pennell, Sensei Ota. June 2015

Sensei Eihachi Ota. His story is extraordinary and his influence is being felt all over the world. From his humble beginnings in Okinawa, to his growing number of followers world-wide, Ota has proven that the true essence of powerful Karate technique stems from an intimate understanding of body mechanics. And when it comes to body mechanics, no detail is too small. Every knuckle, every toe, every muscle fiber is manipulated to generate the enormous amount of energy required to deliver what can only be described as magnificent feats of human strength, speed and ultimately what all Karate students crave – power.

If you haven't heard of Sensei Ota, take note – because the rest of the world has. In fact, it was announced at his June 2015 seminar in Gardena California that the Okinawan government has honoured Sensei Ota by bestowing upon him the title of 10th Dan. This is truly a rare display of appreciation from the Okinawa and is not recognition that is to be considered lightly. Indeed, Ota's promotion to 10th Dan is a reflection of his dedication to the proliferation of Shorin-Ryu Karate the world over and his continuing efforts to spread the teachings of Shorin-Ryu country by country, seminar by seminar.

Seminar attendees were in for a special treat this year. Also attending the seminar all the way from Okinawa was Sensei Shiroma – long time colleague of Ota and kubodo expert. Students were fortunate to receive direct instruction from one of Okinawa's most respected kubodo practitioners. Must of Saturday's seminar was spent learning the traditional ways of the Bo, Tonfa and Sai.

Ota himself demonstrated what can only be described as an epic display of Bo manipulation. Ota has spent a lifetime perfecting his body dynamics and it shows – each display of power was born of blistering speed – Ota's trademark. The way that Ota twists body and leverages his limbs can only be described as completely unique. It's interesting to note that Bo kata delivered by Ota is quite different from Bo we're traditionally accustomed to. Focusing on velocity and maximum strength strikes, Ota has indeed re-invented the why Bo should be practiced.

So what's next for Ota remains to be seen. Certainly Okinawa's recognition of Ota's dedication to Karate is a game changer. And now that Okinawa itself is striving to streamline and align it's Karate heritage through various programs and initiatives, Ota finds himself at the center of what could be the next chapter of Okinawan martial arts.