Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival

JAPAN AMERICA CENTER SEATTLE

Japanese Martial Arts

Martial Arts

Japan has a rich martial history stretching back centuries. As time passed, many practices focused not just on physical development, but spiritual growth as well.

Aikido

Aikido, the Way of Harmony with Ki, (the universal life force, energy), has its history and origins in the martial arts of Japan, developed by Master Morihei Ueshiba (1885-1969). Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido aka Ki Aikido was founded by master Koichi Tohei Sensei, 10th dan, the primary student of Morihei Ueshiba Sensei. Its main focus in training is Ki development through Aikido techniques. Its emphasis is on balance, rhythm, timing and grace of dynamic motion. Since these arts don't rely on physical strength, they can be enjoyed by all ages regardless of size or gender.

Judo

Judo traces its roots to 1892, when Dr. Jigoro Kano developed this sport from the principles of jujitsu, a method of hand-to-hand combat dating from the samurai era of the 17th century. Dr. Kano developed “the gentle way,” using the opponent’s weight and strength against himself. Learning to fall correctly is integral to the sport. Falling without being hurt and being able to instantly resume combat is fundamental to judo. Notice that participants fall on their largest body surfaces, i.e., the back, extended legs and/or arms. Judo has been an Olympic Game sport since 1964.

Karate

Karate was introduced in Japan by Okinawan master Gichin Funakoshi in 1922. Its introduction and popularity grew in the U.S. and Europe during the 1960s. Karate means “empty hand” and describes the purpose as a means of self-defense. There are no other weapons, just one’s own body, disciplined mental attitude, overcoming one’s tendency to think about the opponent’s actions and focusing instead on one’s own actions.

Shorinji Kempo

Shorinji Kempo is a modern martial art founded in 1947 by Soh Doushin and is one of the largest martial art organizations in Japan today. Shorinji Kempo is a blend of China and Japanese martial arts. It is a combination of hard and soft techniques. The hardness is found in the punching, kicking, and blocking; the softness is in the drawing, grabbing, twisting, and throwing. Emphasis is on speed, accuracy, and balance rather than brute strength. Knowing the proper pressure points and techniques will allow a smaller and physically weaker individual to overcome bigger and stronger opponents. Thus anyone can master Shorinji.

Kempo through dedicated practice regardless of sex, size, strength, and age. The purpose of practicing Shorinji Kempo is different from other martial arts or sports, which train for competition or tend to encourage aggression. Shorinji Kempo is purely for self- defense. Techniques are learned through mutual cooperation and practicing in pairs. The philosophy of Shorinji Kempo is based on Kongo-Zen and helps develop the mind, body, and spirit, and fosters a sense of peace and justice. The Seattle Shorinji Kempo Club was founded in the winter of 1996-1997 by Sadato Konoya, 5th dan, who since has moved, taken over by Hiroshi Onaka, 5th dan, in 2000.

Classical Bujutsu

Bujutsu, the precursor to budo, emphasizes technique and practicality over personal and spiritual development compared to better-known martial arts. Bujutsu focuses both on armed and unarmed combat.
Weapon-based Styles

Kendo

Kendo began in Japan around 700 A.D. The sword was used as the primary weapon of the samurai class for more than a thousand years until the samurai status was dissolved with the Meiji Restoration in 1868. During the Tokugawa period (1603-1867), a swordsmanship changed from being primarily a form of combat to being a refinement of body and spirit that used the forms of combat as its means of expression. In the last half of the 18th century, the protective devices now used were introduced. The men, kote, and shinai (bamboo sword) allowed kendo practitioners to execute actual thrusts and strikes in matches and practice. Kendo has been practiced in Washington State since the early 1900s, except for a brief hiatus during World War II.

Kyudo

Kyudo translates to mean "the way of the bow" and is the practice of traditional Japanese Archery. The origins of Kyudo begins with the techniques of archery which were brought into Japan over a thousand years ago.  The current practice of Kyudo has come forth from a blend of the influences from the temple and martial styles of Japanese archery and in the process has lost many of its application on the battlefield or the hunting ground. Today Kyudo is practiced as an activity to develop one's self.  It can help cultivate focus and inner calm in today's hectic world. In the present day, in contrast to many other martial disciplines,  Kyudo is practiced in Japan by as many men and women and because of its emphasis on mental focus does not require an extreme level of physical conditioning or strength.

Iaido

The Muso Shinden Ryu Kenkyu Kai is the main dojo in the greater Northwest for the practice and research of Muso Shinden Ryu Iai. There are between 80- 100 students practicing this style of Iai. The main teacher at the dojo is Tatsuhiko Konno Sensei, 7th Dan. In addition to his martial Arts background, Konno Sensei has been instrumental in bringing sword art to the community by way of exhibitions and demonstrations at local museums, galleries, and festivals.
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2018 SCHEDULE

We are currently in the process of planning next year's event. More information will be available soon.