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…
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