|At Taira sensei's bar after training, c 1995|
There are things that happen in karate that take time. History can be written to reflect almost anything the writer wants it to, but as Salman Rushdie once said..."What's real and what's true aren't necessarily the same." An observation realized by the fact that even though many people have trained in karate for decades, the training hasn't made them all karateka.
In the photo I'm sitting with my sempai from the Jundokan, Tetsu Gima, Tsuneo Kinjo, and Masaji Taira; also in the photo is the present kancho of the Jundokan, and a junior from the dojo as well as a student of mine. Such gatherings after training are not a nightly affair, at least not for me, but they happen frequently enough to be humbled by the generosity of my sempai.
When you're in Okinawa as a visiting dojo member, it's important to be mindful of the generosity coming your way, and never to abuse it by behaving badly when you return home; that so many do is a sad reflection on the character of a good number of karateka these days. I've witnessed it so many times...the serious student in Okinawa, who behaves like a complete a**shole when he gets back home.
It takes time, not rank, to become an authentic karateka, it takes integrity too; and even thought your position in the karate world might be 'real' in one sense...the 'truth' of your situation may be a different matter altogether.