Category Archives: Health

Kobudō Martial Arts Lessons in English at Kyoto Impact Hub

This winter, martial arts teacher, Benjamin Gross, began a new class at Kyoto Impact Hub in the Japaneses classical martial arts tradition of Kobudō.

I asked Benjamin to explain a little about the classes:

Kobudō 古武道, the martial way of ancient Japan originated over 500 years ago. Although through the ages many schools of the various traditions have become forgotten or extinct, a few of these traditions still remain. Although life in Japan has changed considerably from the time when this martial art first took shape, the teachings remain unchanged and still hold great value and application to modern life. Along with helping in preserving a valuable piece of Japanese culture, you may also improve your physical and mental well being.

It is my wish to make the fundamental teachings of one of the oldest jujutsu traditions of Japan available to people of many cultures. Teaching in English allows for a multicultural learning experience, which I hope will bring a truly unique perspective to the art.

The classes begin with meditation, followed by full body stretching and warming-up exercises. Next the basics of footwork, break-falls (ukemi), and striking/defensive techniques are performed together. These basics are then performed in the context of two person kata. The class then finishes with light stretching and meditation.

Benjamin is a follower of Takenouchiryu Bitchuden Kobudo 4dan. If you would like to take his class here are the details:

Day & Time: Mondays: 18:00 〜 19:30
1 session: ¥2,500 (Impact Hub Kyoto Members: ¥1,500)
The 1st trial lesson: ¥500 (only for Kyoto residents)
Wear: loose fitting sports wear or dogi, bare feet, no accessories

If interested you can find more details on the Impact Hub Kyoto website, or apply directly to join the lessons HERE.

Here’s some more information from Benjamin about this fascinating ancient art:

Each class covers a wide variety of topics and techniques. Example topics for lessons include but are not limited to the following:

Bowing or rei 礼): 「武道は礼に始まり礼に終わる」 Budo begins and ends with bowing.
Why do we perform rei in the martial arts? Although the history of bowing 礼 in Japan is very ancient and closely linked to culture and religion, the reason for etiquette (礼儀作法) in the dojo is simple. It is to humble yourself in the sense that you are requesting permission to borrow the space (dojo) for your training. This feeling of humbleness and respect for those that have followed this path of training before you may also bring serenity to your own being. Before bowing before the altar (Shinzen 神前), look at the Shinzen. In similar fashion, when bowing to a training partner, look at them first before bowing.


Reverse breathing (逆腹式呼吸) practice can have many positive effects on the body. The application of proper breathing techniques will be continuously put into use throughout each lesson. With regular practice, this exercise can strengthen the abdominal muscles, making your breathing naturally strong. Reverse breathing can even create change in the pressure between your chest and abdomen, helping boost your energy levels and increase lung capacity by allowing more air in the lungs. One form of condensed powerful reverse breathing is kiai 気合.

One of the most important foundations and goals of budō is the development of proper physical posture. The stance you use, how you move in relation to your opponent, all of it begins from your center. Movement as well as breathing is all linked to your hara or abdomen…

English Speaking Doctors in Kyoto – Recommended by Local Residents

Should you fall sick while visiting Kyoto, it will give you much peace of mind to know that your doctor is both reputable and can speak your language! Here is a list of English Speaking Doctors recommended by local residents. This list is not exhaustive of course so please add your own recommendations in the comments:

Kyoto Furitsu Medical University Hospital have English speaking doctors in all department. But you need someone who can help on reception (only Japanese)

Nakano Sensei- who is a regular medical doctor who specialized in gastroenterology but is now a Chinese medicine doctor. I like him because he knows both systems. He’s located on Kitaoji at the southwest corner in the building with the eyeglass store on the first floor. The place is called RokuGoKai.

Kawanaka Sensei at Shugakuin Byoin (Shirakawa Kitayama). Good man, speaks English. I don’t know if the receptionist speaks English.

Dr TANAKA, Kanpo (Chinese traditional) medicine:

Japan Baptist Hospital has some English speaking doctors but apparently the waiting time is long (though in all fairness this will probably be the case in most places). Dr Suzuki in Gynecology, speaks both French & English, and is particularly recommended.
Tel: (075) 781-5191
47 Yamanomoto-machi, Kitashirakawa, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

More hospitals and doctors are listed here: English Speaking Doctors.


Crossfit Kyoto


Mewby, Russell and Michael

Last month Mewby and I completed an 8 lesson “Elements” training program over 4 weeks at Russell Trott’s Crossfit Kyoto. I have to say that Russell is an excellent trainer, who takes everyone’s personal abilities/needs fully into account during training and always with good humour. If you want to get fit, or at least start to feel fitter than you are now, you can’t go wrong with Russell. We both fully enjoyed the course and definitely felt the benefits. We learned the basics of squats, stretches, and lifts and through a series of workouts and training sessions improved on our initial performance levels. I also learned that I have been doing push-ups wrongly all my life (you keep your elbows in). Thank you Russell! Deep Kyoto highly recommends Crossfit Kyoto!

Russell shows our improved times

Russell shows our improved times.

Contact Russell via his website to get started:
Also on Facebook:

Makimura Dental Clinic

Like most people I’m not keen on visits to the dentist and tend to put them off for as long as possible. However, if I want to keep this set of gnashers in good nick then it’s important to get them checked out occasionally. When I do so, I want a dentist who can explain things to me in English and I want someone I trust. I’ve had bad experiences with unscrupulous dentists, in both my home country and here, who are a little too keen on putting multiple fillings in teeth before any cavities appear! So having found a dentist I can rely on – I’m sticking with him. My dentist of choice is Takahiro Makimura at the Makimura Dental Clinic. He’s a friendly chap and even if he doesn’t treat you personally he is always on hand to explain what is going on. And he gives good ongoing dental care advice too. I have found there to be very little waiting time when I’ve gone there, so none of that soul-draining time in a waiting room listening to the shrill whining of drills. The service is quick and efficient and no one is interested in wasting your time or your money. Even though I live quite far from the clinic now, I still go back there because I know that at Makimura Dental Clinic I can have peace of mind.

Makimura Dental Clinic is a short walk south of Matsugasaki Station (on the subway Karasuma line), on the south-east corner of Matsugasaki Street and Hokusen Street. Here is a map.

Here are the opening hours:
Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00 – 13:00 / 15:00 – 19:00
Saturday: 9:00 – 13:00 / 15:00 – 18:00
Closed on Thursdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Call this number to book an appointment: 075-712-8148
You can check out their website here and download a patient questionnaire here.

If this clinic is in an inconvenient location for you then you can always check the list of English speaking doctors and dentists on the KCIF site here.

More health related articles:
Sakabe International Clinic
Feeling Blue?

Feeling Blue?

Here’s Ian Ropke with some advice for beating the summer blues…

Nine tips for residents who are feeling a bit low or a bit homesick

For foreigners who find themselves in Kyoto and who are feeling lonely or homesick, here are a few simple things you can do to get through the day with a smile.

rui-by-mewby 1. Try to get to know as many dogs as you can. When you can’t get human affection, you can always count on a dog! It’s also an easy way to meet people. If the dog likes you the owner will too. [Ed: Dog Cafe & Nest are two good spots for doggy encounters.]

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Sakabe International Clinic

I’m starting a new job soon and so had to have a general health check-up; blood test, blood pressure, x-ray, electrocardiogram, height, weight, the full works. I went to Sakabe International Clinic and it was fast, efficient and the doctor as well as being a fluent English speaker has an excellent bedside manner. No matter how good your Japanese ability is, when it comes to health matters, it’s comforting to have someone explain matters to you in your own language. So if you have any medical problems or emergencies while you are in Kyoto, I recommend Sakabe International Clinic.


To find it go north from Oike on Gokoumachi Street. It’s on the west side just south of Nijo Dori. Here is a most convenient map.
Tel: 075-231-1624
Opening hours: 9:00 – 12:30 (for mornings please book ahead)
Evenings: 6:30 – 8:30