Lessons & Reflections from the Dojo
Garry Parker was born in Columbus, Georgia, and began training in Kodokan Judo in high school. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, and was stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Shortly after arrival in Okinawa, Parker enrolled in the Hamagawa Dojo, where he learned under the watchful eye of Takamiyagi Hiroshi, Hanshi. After separation from the Air Force, he was granted a visa and continued to live and train in Okinawa until 1996, when he moved back to Georgia. Parker received authorization to teach Goshukan-ryu in America, and opened the first branch Okinawa Goshukan-ryu Dojo outside of Okinawa in 1999.
About the Book
During the Ryukyu Kingdom of the 1600s the indigenous martial arts of Okinawa were blended with the fighting arts of Fujian, China, to formulate the birth of what would become the globally popular martial art known as Okinawan Karate. There were no tournaments, no politics, and no nonsense; only hard men that sacrificed time, sleep, and comfort to toughen their bodies and strengthen their spirit in pursuit of improving their odds at protecting themselves and their loved ones.
Chanpuru: Reflections and Lessons from the Dojo offers glimpses into the old ways of karate through the personal journey of Garry Parker, a modern day sensei, who learned traditional karate the old way on Okinawa. Parker invites the reader to come along on his journey to see how he gained entrance into a rapidly disappearing society of authentic Okinawan martial art traditions. A tradition honed for a century before air-conditioned schools, colored belts and sport competitions.
To offer deep insights into the many topics of karate, Chanpuru is divided into three parts. Part 1 is autobiographical, highlighting the reflections of Parker’s personal journey in karate. Part 2 is filled with essays on topics relevant to the study and practice of karate, including lessons learned, advice, the author’s personal thoughts and stories, and little nuggets of wisdom he’s picked up along the way. Part 3 is dedicated to the legacy of the author’s teacher, Takamiyagi Hiroshi, the founder of Goshukan-ryu, and pioneer of Wu Zhu Quan (Five Ancestor Boxing) on Okinawa. An exclusive interview, along with rare photos from Takamiyagi’s personal collection, complete the book.
“Since 1990 when Mr. Parker first came to Okinawa, I have had the privilege of being his teacher. I have watched him learn and grow beyond my expectations and am proud to see Parker become such a fine ambassador for Okinawan Karate.” —Takamiyagi Hiroshi, Okinawa Goshukan-ryu Karate-do
“I want to say how much I loved this book…. I’m recommending this book to any martial artist, not just those who practice karate… Anyone who is looking for more in a martial art than just kicking and punching, should read Chanpuru and will enjoy it as much as I did.” —Jaredd Wilson, Martial Thoughts
“I enjoyed this book very much. The importance of respect, friendship and gratitude in cultivating long lasting relationships… is a message that comes through strongly in Garry Parker’s stories. Chanpuru has been added to the DOJO Bar library and a very worthy addition it is.” —DOJO Bar, Okinawa
“Gary Parker’s personal memoir Chanpuru… is a wonderful recounting of a young man’s journey through traditional Okinawan Karate-do… A perfect book to snuggle up next to the fire with and reflect on life with a glass of wine or coffee.” —Jake Burroughs, The Ground Never Misses
“The honesty that pervades from this book comes from Parker’s total immersion in the Okinawan culture. His metamorphosis from American G.I. to Okinawan Karate Man gives readers a unique understanding of martial arts from the Ryukyu Kingdom.” —Gary Gabelhouse, Novelist and Goju-ryu karate practitioner
“Fascinating and important lessons from a man who lived and trained in a place most people only every dream about. I highly recommend this book to all who study traditional Okinawan and Japanese martial arts.” —Joe Swift, Tokyo Mushinkan Dojo (Japan)
“Garry Parker’s Sensei, Takamiyagi Hiroshi, is a true master of Okinawan Karate, one who has spent much of his life of Karate study, and also learning a Chinese system from the source…this book gives the reader access to this experience, a way to learn from Garry Parker’s personal journey. As a glimpse into the cultures, training, methods, and daily life from the perspective of “an American student in Okinawa” it’s a great opportunity to see how all the parts actually connect.” —Wade Chroninger, Meibukan Okinawa Dojo (Okinawa)
“In Chanpuru, Parker is kind enough to give those of us who have only dreamed of actually living in Okinawa and dedicating ourselves to our training, a chance to live it through his eyes, his sweat, and his relationships.” —Russ Smith, Burinkan Dojo