John Miller: Practicing at Kyoto University Karate Club

For my CIP, I knew I wanted to do something involving martial arts. I had done Kendo for a year in college and had train in Karate for many years through junior high school and high school. While in Kyoto I unfortunately was not able to do a Kendo circle, as they were unable to lend me any gear. When finding a Karate club, I wanted to find a place that, given the many variations of karate, was something I was somewhat familiar with. I ended up joining Kyoto University’s Seido Karate circle. It meets twice a week for a two hour practice, which is much more laid back than several clubs I found that met for 3 or 4 times a week with longer practice times.
I found everybody to be very nice. My Kaiwa partner is also a member which is very nice. As the official University teams are off limits to non students, the circle has a large number of foreigners as well. Despite this, I appreciate that the lessons are taught only in Japanese.
The instructor is named Yamashiki Sensei. He often tries to speak English to me. Although there is an instructor assigned for our club, being a circle it is largely run by the students and in particular the club leader or bucho. While the flexibility of the club is nice, it could be better organized. In the US, we trained in kata which is a sequence of predetermined movements. That practice was done as a group with detailed instruction from the teacher. However Kyoto University’s circle is much more focused on kumite or partner training.
Japanese club culture is very strong. After deciding on a particular club or circle, you are expected to maintain a degree of loyalty to the group. However being accepted into the group is very rewarding.
I am looking forward to the end of the year’s bonenkai which is typical for Japanese clubs or businesses.
Training twice a week in Karate has been a good addition to my stay in Kyoto.

John Miller: Practicing at Kyoto University Karate Club” への2件のコメント

  1. You said that the club is mostly foreigners, so do the Japanese students that go there speak English? Is the high percentage of foreigners one of the draws of the club?

    • Actually most of the Japanese kids do not speak English. The Chinese kids speak Japanese well. There is a French guy who speaks Japanese well also. However the Canadian and the German exchange student do not speak Japanese. The club is have distinct cliques between the Japanese kids who do not speak English and the foreigners and the Japanese kids are more interested in foreigners.
      When I began the semester, there were actually not very many foreigners. It has only been in the second half of the semester that more began coming in.

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