The funeral was held on Thursday afternoon and was a beautiful service. In the funeral hall, a glowing photograph of An’ichi Miyagi Sensei stood in front of a large wooden replica of a Buddhist temple. In front of the temple a sea of white and yellow flowers spiraled and flowed from Sensei’s portrait. To the left and right, the walls were adorned with large bouquets of flowers sent from around the world and condolence messages painted in kanji on tall wooden plaques.
We humbly paid our respects and met briefly with Higaonna Sensei afterwards. He was in good spirits smiling as usual and reminded us to continue to do our best in training – perhaps the best way to honour the memory of his teacher.
In the final paragraphs of Higaonna Sensei’s book, he talks about his teacher:
“I owe a great debt to many people of the development of my karate skills but I am most grateful to An’ichi Miyagi. Not only did he teach me the true techniques of Goju-Ryu karate, but he passed down to me an entire history and tradition that otherwise may have been lost forever.I remember Sensei telling us once that in traditional karate it is important to always remain humble – that we must always strive to improve our martial art and ourselves in this way. Some martial arts masters he said, train until they die and then return as ghosts to continue their training. If such stories are true, I suspect that An’ichi Miyagi Sensei would be among these great karateka.
He also instilled in me strong moral standards and a desire to acquire knowledge. He taught me that one should always seek humility and that the stronger one becomes the more humble one should be. He likened this to a stalk of rice, which bends lower as it grows taller. Human beings are to do likewise, he said.
An’ichi Miyagi leads a simple life as his teacher did. In both his life and his training, he remains loyal to the teachings of Chojun Miyagi” (Higaonna Sensei, 2001, p. 155).