#3185

Proficient in a Japanese Martial Art?

International Seminar of Budo Culture - International Budo University

If you are planning to visit Japan, are a martial artist and would like to try something off the usual tourist itinerary, or already living here and looking for something different and unique to do, there is an informative, fun and exciting way to spend a weekend tucked away in the south of Chiba prefecture.

International Budo University http://www.budo-u.ac.jp/ is a private institution which was established in 1984. The graduate program started in 1996. The university has a Physical Education department which includes a Department of Budo. This department has a year-long program for foreign students, called the Budo Specialization Program (別科武道専修課程 Bekka Budō Senshū Katei). It is limited to 20 students a year and features advanced study in Judo or Kendo as well as courses in Japanese language and culture.

The university is located atop a steep hill in the city of Katsuura which is quite picturesque, with the ocean on one side and greenery-covered hills on the other. The city of Katsuura itself has things to see and do which make an extended visit worthwhile, especially the Dolls` Festival, also known as Hina Matsuri or Girls`s Day, falling on March 3rd. The entire town becomes a display of intricately made Hina Dolls, and the installation at City Hall is especially photogenic. Recently the university has tried to make the seminar separate from the festival weekend, possibly to discourage seminar goers from wandering off and missing some of the activities. There is also an undersea park, a morning market with the expected fabulous seafood, and an indoor water park which has become quite popular as an after-seminar stop. Those planning a visit from outside Japan should be careful not to get the city confused with another city called Katsuura, in Wakayama prefecture.

But the big attraction at IBU for many foreign travelers is the yearly `International Seminar of Budo Culture` (国際武道文化セミナー Kokusai Budō Bunka Seminā?), which takes place on or around the first weekend of March.

Criteria for Participation

In principle or ‘on paper’ at least (there is some flexibility) attendees need to be over 18 years of age, be able to communicate in Japanese or English, and participation is limited to those holding the rank of black belt or above, needless to say, those with more experience will be able to take better advantage of the activities.

The seminar is in its 26th year as of 2014, is open to 120 attendees (100 Foreign, 20 Japanese) and many participants have been there more than once. It is a chance to discover and explore the history and variety of Japanese martial arts in a training environment, including the opportunity to try one or more arts which you may be unfamiliar with in the "Experience a New Budo" sessions.

Meals – two nights of a fantastic healthy food buffet - and accommodation are included in the modest ¥5-6,000 fee (for the entire seminar weekend). There are also lectures by distinguished professors, a demonstration and experience of a traditional martial art (i.e. before modern martial arts of the 20th century), an opportunity to train with some of the best teachers in their respective styles and a chance to meet and interact with other martial artists from around the world, not to mention a legendary end of seminar talent show, and after hours socializing!

The modern Budo represented at the Seminar are: Karate, Kendo, Naginata, Aikido, Judo, Kyudo, Sumo, Shorinji kempo and more recently, not there the years I attended, Jukendo.

More Information about the Seminar, detailed Schedule and Application form can be found here: http://www.nipponbudokan.or.jp/shinkoujigyou/semi_english.html

So for those with a few days to spare and who don`t mind spending some of it hitting the floor - literally - this is a rich and memorable experience, that is highly recommended.

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