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Studying martial arts/bladesmithing in Japan


5 Feb 2004
I was wondering if it is possible to study martial arts in Japan, as a live-in-student, and if so how much it would cost.

I was also curious about bladesmithing. I am facinated by Japenese swordsmithing, and I am curious as to whether you can do a live-in appreticeship in this.

I appriciate your help,
First thing that springs to mind is - have connections followed very close by - speak really good Japanese.

I have heard of some places that do have dorms for students from overseas, but they are usually only for a week or two and are run through some kind of training program. As in, the Zen Nippon such-and-such School has an overseas branch and they bring highranking members of that overseas branch over in the summer for training and testing. I have not heard of students, outside of the sumo world and Zen, coming to Japan expressly to train for long periods of time in a kind of master-student, line-in setup.

Also with bladesmithing, they are not going to spend the time and money on you if you have little experience or have no references. There are a small number of smiths in the west who have studied in Japan. A good place to start looking for these people, and getting a clearer picture of all that is involved is www.swordforum.com

I would look for both martial artists who run branch schools of legit dojos back in Japan and bladesmiths in your area. Both groups probably have a network of people also in their fields who they can point you to.

Lastly, the stronger your Japanese skills, the more success you will have. Assume the primary language of instruction is going to be Japanese. Learning the language goes a long way towards showing a teacher that you are serious about what you are doing and not some hack who has just read some books and got a fantastic idea. Also, on the rare chance that you might find an offer you would like to try, they will be much more comfortable accepting you if they don't have to worry about the language barrier.

Good luck! You have a great idea and I hope it works out for you.
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