Get a Kick Out of Japan – Finding Martial Arts in Nagoya

ByBert Wishart
Jun 29, 2021

Get a Kick Out of Japan – Finding Martial Arts in Nagoya

Whether you have just a passing interest or have studied for years, something is amazing about learning a martial art in the land of its conception, as well as giving you the skills necessary to improve in the sport; doing so also provides an unparalleled insight into the background, culture, and discipline of the art itself and Japan as a whole.

Martial Arts in Japan

Japanese martial arts come from a time when the caste-based society forbade all but the ruling samurai class from bearing arms. Consequently, it was vital for all others to have the ability to defend themselves with hand-to-hand combat. Japanese martial arts can be separated into two classes: koryū, the traditional school referring to codes such as sumo, jujutsu, and the swordsmanship arts used on the battlefield before the Meiji Restoration; and gendai budo, modern sports such as karate, kendo, and judo, that have a greater emphasis on self-improvement than combat.

Martial Arts Lessons in Nagoya

If you are interested in learning martial arts during your stay in Japan, you can join plenty of classes.


Outside of Japan, Karate is perhaps the most famous of the budo sports, particularly the more competitive aspects, and for those of a certain age, Daniel-san’s crane kick will forever hold a place in our hearts. However, while there is an element of competitive fighting in Japan, here it is seen much more of an art form, where the adherence to positioning and detail outweighs how hard you can punch.

There are a few karate dojos around Nagoya. Still, if you want to give it a go and see how you get on, there are Seidoaikan dojos in Osu, Fujigaoka, Issha, and Ozone that offer free trial lessons, which you can apply for here.



Meaning ‘gentle way’, Judo is perhaps Japan’s most popular modern martial art, and the country tends to dominate the Olympic event, making household names of its stars. Originated in 1882 by Jigoro Kano as a moral, physical and mental education (not dissimilar to the muscular Christianity movement), Judo originated from jujitsu. An opponent must be taken down or subdued with throws, locks, pins, or chokes in its competitive element.

Judo is dynamic and teaches great self-defense skills, and there are many dojos in the city. R&S Academy at Rokugo Dojo in Minami Ward is actively seeking recruits of all ages and levels – from beginner and up – emphasizing the fun element of the regular training. Furthermore, if you want to really improve your level, there is also a personal class.



Now practiced in over 140 countries worldwide, aikido’s development dates to the 1920s from a combination of experience in martial training and the personal philosophy of its Great Teacher, Morihei Ueshiba. Comprised primarily of various throws and joint locks, similar to judo, aikido uses movements that redirect an attacker’s momentum.

Established in 1990, the Meirin Jyuku Dojo in Kanayama is run by Kusano-sensei, a 6th dan black belt, which shows how high standard the lessons are. Regular classes are held on Tuesday and Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings, with a beginner class also on Saturday evening.


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About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.

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