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Popular Youtubers Rachel & Jun Experience Aikido, a Japanese Martial Art!

Rachel & Jun, popular Youtubers, participated in "Aikido: A Crash Course in Japan's Coolest Martial Art," thanks to WOW! JAPAN Experience+.

Rachel & Jun Talk About Their Experience

We tried Aikido for the first time ever, and it also happened to be my (Rachel) first ever experience with a Japanese martial arts.
The first thing we did was our warm-ups (always important!) which included pounding the bottom of our feet with our fists and bending our wrists “until they hurt,” as we were directed. The point of warming up is to get the blood flowing to our extremities and to loosen up the muscles that we’d be using. The wrist is very important when you’re practicing defensive throws in Aikido and so getting your body comfortable with stretching your wrists to the extremes they might be taken to helps prevent their injury during the course of our practice. He didn’t explain what the point of pounding our feet was, but I choose to believe there was a purpose behind it and it wasn’t just the instructors little inside joke.

The Teacher Is Also a Master at Being Thrown

Our experience started with ukemi (the art of falling safely) and ashisabaki (footwork). Learning the stance alone was quite interesting because it was designed to present the least amount of your body to the attacker as possible, while also putting you in the best position to avoid an attack. I don’t think I’ll be forgetting it anytime soon! In this picture Kobayashi-sensei is walking me through the process of throwing one of his students. I wasn’t able to do it smoothly at all, although I guess with only 30 minutes of experience that’s to be expected! The basic footwork he taught us at the beginning of our lesson ended up being the most important part here, and so while practicing footwork may not be as relatively exciting as other moves in Aikido I now understand why it’s necessary to spend so much time on it! Jun got the chance to throw Kobayashi-sensei himself, which he seemed rather pleased with. ;)

Wowed By the Teacher's Professional Technique in the Aikido Experience

At the end of the lesson Kobayashi-sensei gave us a demonstration of how to handle someone attacking you with a sword. It’s only a wooden sword, but with his childhood kendo practice in mind he gave it his all to hit the instructor (I was too afraid to try myself). Rather than stepping back from the attack, Kobayashi-sensei stepped FORWARD to dodge while punching Jun in the face at the same time. Okay he didn’t actually punch Jun in the face, but he very easily could have (which he demonstrated several times—with elbows and smaller wooden sticks as well). It was a wonderful experience.

All in all we had a lot of fun, and if you have any interest in Japanese martial arts we would highly recommend trying it out!

Wowed By the Teacher's Professional Technique in the Aikido Experience

Rachel & Jun's YouTube video about the experience

Search for activities or make reservations on WOW! JAPAN Experience+

WOW! JAPAN Experience+ offers various cultural experience programs presented by experts and craftsmen! You'll definitely find the perfect activity for you to experience true Japanese culture. Check it out!

Search for activities or make reservations on WOW! JAPAN Experience+

YouTuber: Rachel & Jun

Rachel is from Ohio in the United States. She met her husband, Jun, when she came to Japan to study abroad in the summer during college. During that time, she decided to join the US Air Force, and worked as an Air Force soldier after graduation. Around that time, she and Jun got married. Their relationship was long-distance (Japan and the US), so they began making YouTube videos in 2012 to share their lives with each other. They now live in Japan, and create videos about Japanese culture and other topics including tourism videos of different parts of Japan, activities like rice harvesting, and interviews with craftsmen of traditional art like Mino pottery. They have a large audience both within and outside of Japan, and they boast a top-class subscriber number among foreign YouTube creators in Japan.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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