Budo University offers rare athletic training


International Budo University
International Budo University

If the mysteries of martial arts or a career in sports or fitness training are your idea of getting into shape consider campus life in Chiba Prefecture. Just over an hour from Tokyo, International Budo University sits on a 99,000-square-meter bucolic spread in Katsuura City. It's a postmodern mix of what Japan's old and new worlds have to offer those who are deadly serious about fitness.

IBU offers the best of both worlds - schooling and certification for careers ranging from PE instructor to personal trainer and studies in eight martial arts to help competitors hone their skills. It's all infused with the ancient essence of budo, the Japanese Way of the Warrior. In fact, as the name implies, IBU aims to instill the budo spirit in all its students.

This spirit is as much about building character as it is teaching the mind and training the body, says Professor Ryuji Bunasawa. He is the director of IBU's Budo Specialization Program and heads the university's judo club. "Those imbued with the spirit of budo are challenged to try to understand and calmly deal with all situations in contemporary society," Bunasawa says. "The budo spirit motivates the practitioner to pursue excellence in everything pertaining to self-improvement. Moreover, a person trained in budo will be refined and highly respectful of others. The daily budo classes at IBU stress all these elements (which) are highly valued by contemporary society."

Whether studying in the Budo, Physical Education, Sports Trainers or International Sports Culture divisions, students can practice what they learn in class by joining as many of the school's clubs as they like. And with 27 - including seven for martial arts and 18 for sports and fitness groups - there's a lot to choose from. Students in the Budo Division, for example, study theory, practice and other aspects of different martial arts such as kendo, judo, karate or shorinji kempo, then apply it in the clubs.

While most courses are taught in Japanese, the university also emphasizes the "international" in its name. It has exchange programs with schools overseas and its one-year Budo Specialization Program offers judo, kendo and Japanese courses to up to 20 foreign students annually. And you needn't be a fresh-faced college kid back home to reap such benefits. International Budo University allows for auditing classes and short-term training visits. It also co-sponsors an annual four-day budo seminar in March just for foreign martial artists, offering courses in nine different disciplines.

"We would like to provide foreign practitioners while living in Japan, with the opportunity to understand the essence of the theory and techniques of Budo, as well as its historical and scientific aspects," Bunasawa says. "We cooperate in holding the International Seminar of Budo Culture in order to promote goodwill and international friendship through budo. In doing this we also contribute to the deeper understanding of traditional Japanese budo culture around the globe."

To learn more about International Budo University or the annual International Seminar of Budo Culture visit the Japanese Web site at: http://www.budo-u.ac.jp/index2.html or e-mail: kokusai@budo-u.ac.jp.

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