The Ins and Outs of Nippon Budokan Karate

What is Budokan Japan?

Budokan meaning

Budokan is one of the popular styles of karate. It has techniques similar to the ordinary Japanese karate but has influences from other martial arts classes such as Judo. The current World Chief Instructor is known to be Wayne Macdonald who started to learn the art in the late 1970s. This man was trained under the tutelage of then Grand Master Richard Chew. He is the one that established the main headquarters of Karate Budokan International in Australia. Out of all the karate enthusiasts in the world, there are about 400 members that joined the Karate Budokan International.

Budokan the martial spirit

The customs and rituals performed in the Budokan martial art are closely similar to that of other forms of martial arts. The main focus is on discipline and self-awareness. The concept of karate is to use very little energy to produce large amounts of force that can be used both offensively and defensively. However, all students of Karate are taught to never use the art in hurting others intentionally.

There are morning marches, meditations, and practices that must be performed. The central idea of karate is to be able to read another person’s movements and predict how to defend one’s self from it. The Budokan is a respected sport and has gained a worldwide following since its establishment.

The Grand Master

The first Grand Master of Budokan is none other than the senior Chew himself. When his son grew up and started to be invested in the sport, the son decided to go abroad to spread knowledge of the karate style that his father was able to establish. Soon enough, Richard Chew (Senior Chew’s son) became the Grand Master.

Years later, as more and more students came under his tutelage, a new Grand Master must be put in place. This is the time when a man named Wayne Macdonald became the World Chief Instructor. Another world instructor that might take the place for the GM (or Grand Master) is Mike Tan of Europe, who was also one of the students that learned from Richard Chew’s tutelage. It is said that the late Senor Chew himself appointed him as UK Chief Instructor. The current Grand Master still is Richard Chew, but all bets are on Macdonald for taking his place upon his retirement. Chief instructors are called as Shihan.

The history of Budokan Karate

Unlike what many people know, the Budokan style of karate actually did not originate from Japan. It was founded by a man known as Chew Choo Soot in the 1960s in Malaysia. Since karate already was established at the time, it was easy to spread this technique all over the world.

It is said that the young Chew learned karate and trained mornings and evenings for two years. He even went on trips to other Asian countries to learn about oriental weapons from martial arts masters. Since he learned professionally, he opened his own dojo in Malaysia until his organization gained a worldwide following.

There are now different branches of the Karate Budokan International all over the world. These include places such in North America such as the US. It also includes countries in Europe such as Germany and Norway. Some parts of Asia like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the like are also places where Budokan flourishes. The main headquarters, on the other hand, is not located in Malaysia but is located in Australia.

The different styles of Budokan

Budokan Judo

The founder of the Budokan was a weightlifting champion in his very young years. He also learned a great deal of Judo, jujitsu and even wrestling. It is from these techniques that he developed the Budokan style of karate. There is no clear cut indication that there is a Budokan Judo, but it is sure that judo has significant influences in the development of Budokan karate.

Budokan Game

A typical match usually involves two different students of the same rank or class. They are supposed to perform both offensive and defensive techniques of Budokan. Just like in ordinary martial arts, the overall points are recorded and given depending on the intricacy of the moves being performed. The student must also be able to perform more offensive rather than defensive techniques.

There is a proper uniform, called the Gi, that must be worn during the match. It must be secured in place by a belt which shows the rank of the student. Most often than not, the individual wears no shoes because it might cause injuries and damage to the opponent.

There are certain competitions that do not involve sparring but only involves performances. Just like a dance performance, an individual learning the sport shall perform a series of techniques which must be harmoniously and rhythmically performed on top of the other. Through this, the judges may be able to tell how much skill the student has. It can be performed as an individual or a group.

The levels and ranks of Budokan

White Belt

The most basic rank in Karate, just like in all other forms of martial arts would be the White Belt. This is the beginner level for which an individual has just started learning the art. This level is called the Kata Tai Kyo Kyu Shodan.

There are different techniques that must be learned at this level and these are the moves that must be perfected to be evaluated for the next rank. These moves include Basic blocks and punches. It also includes proper stances for the horse stance and forward stance. For kicks, the individual must be able to do a polished front kick and basic sweep.

Yellow Belt

The yellow belt is also known as the 9th kyu and this is the level that comes with the white belt. Once an individual already has this belt, it means that the basic stances, kicks, and punches have already been learned. This level is called that Kata Tai Kyo Ku Sandan.

There are also basic techniques that must be polished and perfected for the level promotion exams. These include the stances such as the back stance. For kicks, the individual must learn the side kick. For punches, the individual must be able to perform a back fist punch. Then for blocks, the person must be able to do a moving inner fore arm block in back stance.

Orange Belt

The Orange belt is known as the 8th kyu and this level is the third rank in Budokan karate. This level is known as the Kata Heian Shodan.

Those that must be learned and perfected in this level includes knife hand blocks. There are now techniques learned that combines blocks and punches. The student must also be able to perform a cat stance, a turning kick, and a scissor move kick. To add to this, the person must be able to perform a turning slap and an elbow strike.

Green Belt

The green belt is also known as the 7th kyu and it is the fourth rank in Budokan. This level is also known as the kata Heian Nidan level.

It is quite obvious that the techniques being learned transformed from large energy-oriented movements to minute yet powerful movements. For instance, the student will learn finger thrusts, knuckle thrusts, and palm strikes. The person will also be taught backward back kick. The person must also be able to perform block and punch combinations and different combinations of sweeps.

Blue Belt

This belt is one of the intermediate levels of Budokan and it is known as the 6th kyu. It is also known as the kata Heian Sandan.

The movements are now becoming more intricate and difficult. For instance, the student must learn the inner and outer crescent kicks, a hook kick, and a front back kick. All of these require great balance and power from the lower limbs. It takes quite some time to learn this level as well. On top of that, the person must be able to learn throws as well.

Purple Belt

Known as the 5th kyu, this is the level that comes with the blue belt. This level is known as the Kata Heian yon dan.

One of the most difficult moves to learn at this rank would be the spinning kick. This requires both balance and agility. Any wrong foot fall can cause severe injuries. The person must also be able to learn elbow combinations, reverse chops and combination side kicks.

Brown Belt IV

The brown belt is known to be the advanced level of Budokan. The brown belt IV is named as such because it is the 4th kyu. These include the difficulty to learn and difficult to perform movements. This level is known as the Kata Heian Godan.

At this point, the students learn karate like it is a dance. From a one step movement, the moves and techniques now require multiple steps. To learn it requires memory, agility, and balance. Some popular movies include scissor jump kicks, combinations of blocks, back fists and punches. This is also the time when swing movements must be learned and polished.

Brown Belt III

The brown belt III is called as such because it is the 3rd kyu.

What many don’t know is the fact that a student only learns the flying kick at this advanced level. Most of the techniques are mere combinations of the previously learned movements. On top of this, the person already joins advanced level sparring that will require knowledge of a vast number of defenses and offenses. At this point, the student must also learn how to read an opponent's movements and predict the kind of offensive and defensive stance that must be performed.

Brown Belt II

Also known as the Kata Tekki Nidan, this level is known as the 2nd kyu. This is one of the most advanced levels of Budokan karate and not that many people reach this. At this point, the individual may start sharing skill and knowledge with other people.

Brown Belt I

The 1st kyu, not all students of karate reach this level. These people are known to be masters and may start teaching Budokan karate professionally. There are only quite a few of people with this level in the world.

The Nippon Budokan Stadium

The Nippon Budokan Stadium in Tokyo was one of the establishments which were built for the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. It is being discussed whether the Nippon Budokan hall will be used once again as a Judo hall in the coming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

It is believed that this particular hall was closely inspired by the Horyuji Temple in Nara due to its octagonally shaped stadium. It can seat a total of 14,000 people. Since it was established in the 60s, it has been a center for national martial arts competitions and games that range from Aikido, kendo, archery, and more. Sometimes it also becomes an octagon for wrestling and kicks boxing competitions.

This particular venue became a very important part of the development of tourism in Japan during the 1960s. In fact, it was in 1966 when the Beatles performed a concert at this stadium during their world tour. Paul McCartney along with his pals performed live at the stadium and became the first artists to use it other than martial arts competitions and games. At first, a lot of traditional and conservative people opposed the idea of having to use it for purposes other than karate. They believe that it will upset and destroy the sanctity of the martial art spirit in the location.

However, decades later more and more artists hold their concerts at this location during their Japan leg of their world tours. Among those that performed here are Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, Duran Duran for alternative rock, and Avril Lavigne for punk rock.

This year alone, starting November, the hall will host a 2-day military music festival. This is for the members of the Japan Self-defense forces. They will perform alongside the US Army Japan Band.