On these cultural courses, you will get the opportunity to stay at a temple in the mountains, eat a Buddhist vegetarian meal (shōjin-ryōri), try seated meditation (zazen) and try one or more of the following activites: the martial art of aikidō, Japanese-style yoga (makkōhō), Japanese calligraphy (shodō), tea ceremony (sadō) and flower arranging (ikebana). For those interested, you will also be able to wear a traditional Japanese kimono. See the following details below on each of the activities to get a clearer picture of what you will be doing.
Aikidō is a modern Japanese martial art that serves as a fine example of budō.
Budō is a form of physical culture that has its origins in the ancient tradition of bushidō. Practitioners of budō develop technical martial arts skills while striving to unify mind, technique and body, to develop their character, to enhance their sense of morality and to cultivate a respectful and courteous character. Aikidō was developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. It was created so that practitioners could use it to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. Aikidō's techniques include entering the opponent's space and turning them in the opposite direction. These are movements that redirect the opponent's attack momentum and there are various types of throws and joint locks included in the training. Aikidō derives from the old martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but began to diverge from it in the late 1920s. Today, many of the founders former students have different approaches to aikidō, depending partly on when they studied with him. Aikidō is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation. Aikidō techniques are executed empty-handed or with weapons, such as with a wooden sword. You will be able to try and experience this martial art with the Hamamatsu Aikidō Association (Seifukai), during your time here in Japan.
Zazen is the practice of seated meditation that has attracted much attention around the world recently for its many beneficial effects on physical health (lowered blood pressure and heart rate, enhanced immune function), on mental function (increased creativity and focus) and on emotional well-being (decreased stress and anxiety). Important as these benefits are, however, they are relatively superficial compared to the spiritual goal toward which meditation has traditionally been directed. It is easy for beginners and you will be given instructions by an actual monk on how to sit properly in the crossed-legs position. Zazen practice sessions will be available for participants who stay overnight at the temple on the 2-day course.
Known as Japanese-style yoga, Makkōhō consists of 4 simple stretches that are designed to both strengthen and improve organ function. Practising the Makkōhō will balance your physical, emotional and spiritual energy. The practice of Makkōhō will also aid immunity and general well-being. Immunity is increased by loosening the hips while consciously breathing in the correct posture. You will see that the stretches resemble standard yoga poses but the Makkōhō has a slightly different feel to it. Please give the Makkōhō a try on this course. We are sure that you will enjoy the refreshing experience.
Shodō is a traditional Japanese form of calligraphy using a brush and ink that has its roots in China. It shares similarities with Chinese calligraphy, but Japanese calligraphy is characterised by the combination of characters with Japanese kana, which were developed in the ninth century. Shodō works are highly valued as art, but the practice also has its philosophical side, influenced by Zen Buddhism. Shodō classes are available for participants who choose to stay overnight on the 2-day course.
2-day course plan: coming soon
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©︎ Copyrights HAMAMATSU AIKIDO ASSOCIATION
all rights reseved.