Things to do 4 Olaharaga di Kyoto

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  • Shayan Shayan

    Learn Aikido in Japan with Introductory Lesson in Kyoto

    Learn Aikido in Japan with Introductory Lesson in Kyoto With japan being home to so many martial arts I wanted to experience a few on my short trip there, the introductory aikido lesson was one of them. The dojo was easy to find, located very close to the kyoto impartial space park, the booking process was easy and the communication once booked was also great.

    I found this was very different to the other experiences I had done in japan, in that it was less of a tourist activity session but more of a proper introductory lesson. I was fortunate enough to have two instructors training just myself, one so kindly did the falling so I did not have to! This meant right from the start I was able to learn defence techniques, which I may not have mastered in that short time, as they may take years to, but even in that short time i was given excellent instruction on how to refine my actions. All the way through my posture and stance were being corrected to give me the most stability, which was illustrated with a few practical excercises. This had applications to daily life and are things I should consider even when sitting at my desk at work. Near the end of the session I was asked if there was any particular techniques or defence I would like to know about which gave me something extra useful to take away.

    The instructors were very kind, patient and considerate all the way through, I walked into the dojo with a knee support visible, and they were very considerate of this through the lesson. There were no moments of pain as one may have expected with wrist lock type movements, the instructors stressed all the way through that aikido is not about inflicting pain. Even when the techniques were demonstrated on me to help me understand, they were done so expertly and slowly with no distress. The techniques also did not require physical strength. I was free to ask plenty of questions if I did not understand something and they found different ways to explain it to me.

    At the end of the session for the last ten minutes we sat down to a cup of Japanese tea, which was a nice opportunity to talk to the instructors informally, which was a nice end to this aikido introduction.

  • Gareth Gareth

    Watch Horse Racing in Kyoto, Japan!

    Watch Horse Racing in Kyoto, Japan! I highly recommend Niall’s horse racing tour to anyone visiting Kyoto, and especially to those people for whom the experience of visiting another Kyoto temple (some of which are very beautiful) will be rather the same as their last visit to a Kyoto temple. Equally, I learned that attending the horse races is a common pastime for many Japanese, so Niall’s tour gives one a good insight into contemporary Japanese culture. As a long-term expat in Japan, Niall is knowledgeable of Kyoto and Japan more generally. We attended the Tenno Sho raceday, which is the largest annual raceday in Kyoto. Attending the raceday amongst many tens of thousands of Japanese was certainly a cultural experience and well off the tourist track. Niall and I had a punt on a few races, after which Niall was certainly ahead and I was not – good luck to him! Apart from some light gambling, we ate some Japanese food, had a few beers and chatted about our experiences in Japan and elsewhere. Niall was a terrific guide and host. I suspect that Niall would be able to arrange tourist activities in Kyoto (perhaps Osaka) other than the horse races. Coming from Australia, where Japanese horses have been noticeably successfully in major races over the past years, it was a pleasure to witness how the Japanese race horses in Japan.