Rising Sun Martial Art Dojo has been offering authentic Japanese Karate and Iai (swordsmanship) lessons in Kissimmee, Florida the last 6 years. The mission of the dojo is to teach students not only skills, but also attitude and philosophy behind martial art. Mrs. Rie Campbell is the wife of Mr. Pete Campbell, owner and instructor of Rising Sun Martial Art Dojo. She has been sharing her passion toward traditional Japanese art such as Shodo – brush calligraphy, Kimono, and Sado – tea ceremony at local cultural events as well as at educational workshops of Osceola County schools. She wanted to conduct Japanese cultural and language lesson at their own dojo as well. I, myself have been teaching and demonstrating Japanese language and culture locally in Kissimmee last 6 years. When I was looking for locations to conduct group lesson over this summer, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell offered a collaboration project at Rising Sun Martial Art Dojo. It was match made in heaven!
Our mission is to produce culturally and linguistically articulated Japanese experts. We both have seen many people suffering from situation of culturally enthusiastic, yet not articulated. Japanese culture, especially sub-culture like Anime and J-pop music have been promoted virtually over the video sharing websites like YouTube. They provide a great gateway to Japanese culture and language, yet I have seen the downside of “self-learned” education. For example, martial artists definitely mark the top list of J-fans. However, a very small numbers of them, even very well trained ones, speak Japanese with articulation. I call the effect, 惜しい Oshii “So Close” syndrome. We agreed on the mission of transforming SCS victims to 本物 Honmono “True Expert” of Japan through our class.
In July, we offered the first session. We asked Karate students of the Rising Sun dojo and local martial artists to sign up. We had ten enthusiastic students aging from ten years old to over 40 years old gathered. Since then, we have been conducting lesson every two to three weeks. In a one and half hour lesson, students learn Japanese language skill step by step during the first 40 minutes. Each time, students are accumulating Japanese characters, Hiragana and Katakana using Karuta (picture flash card) game. During 15 minutes break, Students learn how to properly eat and drink Japanese snacks. Then, we focus on cultural experience for the last 45 minutes. So far, students have experienced Shodo, brush calligraphy, and Origami art. We are planning to present not only traditional, but modern subculture as well.
Rie sensei (teacher) comments, “ I am very pleased with positive response from students. We are having fun together at each lesson. I, myself have been discovering new aspect by sharing my knowledge. We want to continue sharing more knowledge about Japan in fun ways. Our door is open to anyone. Please feel free to inquire about the future lesson schedule.”
Here are comments from current students. Pierangeli Arape: the age ten said, “I like this Japanese class because I like to learn a new language.” Eric: “I enjoy the Karuta game. Even though they are for kids. They are fun and help with memorization. I also enjoy the snacks. “ Peranna Pfister: “I am excited to learn Japanese in this group because I grew up reading Manga and watching Anime, so I have always just been a pretty interested learning a new language. Even it is difficult, I enjoy learning new things.” Rachel Sanderson: “ I enjoy taking this Japanese class because it provides the opportunity to learn about the language and culture from people native to Japan.” Glenn Feaster: “I have a love for other languages and cultures. I enjoy learning the structure of language and the reasons behind culture. I may not be fluent in any language I have studied but I take delight in the reaction I receive when I attempt to speak the language of a person from another country or their reaction that I know something about their culture or history. Our classes have encompassed both language and culture. We have had a taste of calligraphy and origami along with learning the basics of writing and speaking Japanese, not to mention trying authentic Japanese foods!”
The class is conducted at Rising Sun Dojo at 2220 E. Hwy 192 #10, Kissimmee, FL 34744. We are open to accept new students. Please contact Mrs. Rie Campbell of Rising Sun Dojo at 407- 847-6065 or Izumi Sakurada of Japanese Lesson 34747 at 321-443-8583 for more details and future schedule.