A portrait of Nagano’s Martial Ways at the 3rd Annual Budo Festival

June 24th, 2010 by
Category: Culture Art, Events, Onsens (Hot Springs)

The 3rd Annual Omachi Budō Festival:

A bento of Martial Arts

Will Habbington, co-organizer of the Omachi Budo Festival, during this year's Iado session

Will Habington, co-organizer of the Omachi Budo Festival, during this year's Iado session

This past Sunday, William Habington and Tammy Crichton organized the third annual Omachi Budō Festival near Lake Kizakiko. William and Tammy have, respectively, been living in Nagano and practicing budo for over five years. For the last three years, they have organized the Omachi Budō Festival as a sampling of martial arts and a gathering of community. This year, teachers and students volunteered their time to teach classes and do demonstrations in Kendo, Judo, Jodo, Naginata, and Iado.

Tammy Cricheron, co-organizer of the Omachi Budo Festival, during the Naginata sessions

Tammy Crichton, co-organizer of the Omachi Budo Festival, during the Naginata sessions

Taking off Kendo gear after the last session of the day

Taking off Kendo gear after the last session of the day

In popular media, particularly film, Japan’s martial arts can portray an exoticized image of Japan’s castle and samurai guarded history. Today, however, in addition to higher competitive levels, budō thrives in school activities and community past times. Removed from a context of warring necessity, the goal of budō today may seem like heightened athleticism and competition. However, the Japanese Budo Association understands the “study of budō (to) encourage courteous behavior, advance technical proficiency, strengthen the body, and perfect the mind.”

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According to the Association:

Budō is:

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"the Japanese martial ways, (that) have their origins in the age-old martial spirit of Japan. Through centuries of historical and social change, these forms of traditional culture evolved from combat techniques (jutsu) into ways of self-development (do)."

Getting Involved in Nagano Budō

As a tourist visiting Nagano, it is not quite as easy to participate in budō study which Habbington says he usually associates with longer term residents. However, viewing practices or hands on experiences in some of the art can be arranged.

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Tyler Lynch , of Uniquely Nagano, is working towards organizing more English language resources for inbound tourists eager to experience different parts of Nagano’s culture. Currently, experiences in ninjistsu are available through Togakushi schools. Contact: omotenashi(at)kamesei.jp for more details.

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