Exceptional Student Jun 2021

Manakai P.

Big congratulations are in order for Manakai, the Hikari Ryuza Center’s newest “Student of the Quarter!”

Manakai has earned this recognition because he’s the kindest person we know; always the first to help someone, and when he does it’s with all of his heart. Besides his tremendous compassion, he’s quick-witted, studies hard outside of the Dojo, works hard in the Dojo and he’s full of charisma. If you spend any amount of time around Manakai, eventually you’ll get his signature gesture, which is a snap with both fingers into a dual thumbs-up. We love it… and we love him. He’s quite a Jutsuka! We interviewed him so everyone could get to know him a little better. Without further ado, we present: Manakai!

Exceptional Student: Manakai

Interview with Manakai

by Sr Professor Shizumi Crimi


Interview with Manakai ~ Student of the Quarter, June 2021 – August, 2021

P: How old are you?
M: I’m 12

P: What grade are you in?
M: I’m in 6th grade; well about to go into 7th.

P: When did you start training in Hikari Ryuza Bujutsu?
M: Probably like 6 months ago… or… more like 9 months ago.

P: What is your favorite part of class?
M: Probably when I get to try out a new technique or something; or just a new exercise.

P: What is your favorite roll?
M: Roll? Probably… I’m going to say… I really really like Tobi Mae Chugaeri
P: Why that one so much?
M: Well you jump through the air and sometimes I feel like it’s an upgraded version of Hon Mae Chugaeri, and it’s challenging and it just feels good.

P: How about your favorite fall?
M: Favorite fall?… Probably… I like Chugaeri Sutemi because it’s good to practice the landing and it helps other techniques.

P: And what is your favorite technique?
M: Hmm… probably Tomoe Nage. It’s super fun! At first it was like the coolest technique and now it’s still super cool and just makes you feel good when you do it correctly.

P: Do you have a favorite color?
M: Crimson red.
P: That’s very specific.
M: Yeah, I mean just blue and red colors, kind of like techniques, but I like to get specific like Tomoe Nage.

P: What about a number?
M: I don’t know – the number 11 has always been super cool; there’s just something about it. I use it all the time.

P: Can you tell us something about yourself that maybe not everyone would know?
M: Let me think… I… hmm… (long pause). I don’t know. If I were to say one I guess I’d say, when I was really young I fell into the Hawaiian ocean right in front of a moray eel and I think it didn’t hurt, but it was scary.

P: What’s the best thing about being you?
M: (Smiles.) Probably having such great friends and support all around me.

P: Tell me something that makes you really angry or irritated?
M: Probably when someone gets mad at someone else or is mean and there’s nothing I can do about it – like for some reason I’m not there.

P: What are your reasons for studying Hikari Ryuza Bujutsu?
M: Well I’ve gone to other Martial Arts schools before and they were cool, but they just weren’t very supportive like everyone is here – like family. One of them just did stretches and weren’t really Martial Arts, and the other, I just didn’t feel was right for me – they weren’t very supportive at all.

P: What are some of the important things you are learning in your Bujutsu?
M: I’m learning really good manners and all of these amazing techniques that can help me in life and I’m learning exercises, and I’m definitely getting my body in shape and gaining friends as I’m coming here.

P: Why do you think you were chosen as the Student of the Quarter?
M: Maybe because I’m, umm… kind; and I try and be as respectful as I can and maybe I just am… I don’t know. Mmm… maybe because I’m nice to everyone and my mom is super cool too and she goes here as well.
P: Do you think you would have been chosen even if your mom wasn’t a student?
M: I do!

P: What are 3 goals that you currently have?
M: One of them is to get a dog. The other is to become a Black Belt. And I want to become a better person in general.
P: What does it mean to you to become a better person?
M: I like to think of it as a booster – boost your kindness, boost your respect, boost your ability to do public speaking so that I don’t feel so shy talking in front of people.

P: If you wanted to invite a friend to Bujutsu, what would you say?
M: I would definitely say that it’s super fun and super worth it and you should dedicate yourself and not just leave after one class and remember that it will get more fun, and explain to them about Nage and show them how to bow before they come and that it’s super fun even in the very beginning.

P: What do you think are some of the qualities of a Black Belt?
M: Qualities… I’m not a Black Belt yet so I don’t know all of them yet, but If I were to guess it would be that you train harder and have greater challenge and gain more respect.

P: How far do you want to go in your Bujutsu?
M: As far as I can which will be super far. If I can I will go for a 10th Degree Black Belt.
P: What will determine if you get to a Judan?
M: If future me wants to stay as committed as I am now.
P: What do you think could make you wane in your committment?
M: Probably if I… you know, stuff happens during puberty and although I really do not want to lose commitment… I don’t know… maybe I’ll make my future self a time capsule telling me to be committed.

P: Now imagine that you’re a very old person looking back on life. How old are you and what would you say is the most important thing in life?
M: I’m 93. Respect towards others and kindness.

P: Is there anything else you would like to add before we conclude this interview?
M:  No. (Big smile.)

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