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Custom Martial Arts Certificates, Seals, and Logos

Hello! My name is Scott Kays, and I’m the founder of Azami Press, a design and print service that provides traditional Japanese certificate services for martial arts practitioners and instructors.

As a martial artist for the last twenty years, I have a very close connection to this field and understood on a very personal level the significance of commemorating milestone events in your students’ training. If you would like to issue your students traditionally styled diplomas and certificates, we can help.

We also specialize in the design of logos and Japanese seals, as well as short phrase translation and transliteration (in the case of foreign names) into Japanese.

We are personally endorsed by Yokota Kousaku Sensei, head of the Asai Shotokan Association International, and honored to be the exclusive supplier of seals and certificates for his organization. We also work in collaboration with Marcus Hinschberger of KarateCoaching.com and Tōkon uniforms.

In 2008, after having studied the martial arts for 15 years, I was honored to open my own traditional Japanese dōjō and begin taking on my own students. When it came time to start issuing some of them certificates, I felt it was important to do so by commissioning documents rendered in a traditional Japanese style. I also wanted something of a high standard of quality as these certificates were intended to commemorate milestones that were very important to my students and to me.

What I found was that I basically had two options: (1) commission each certificate to be individually hand-brushed by a Japanese calligrapher or (2) purchase generic certificates in larger quantities with varying levels of quality. In my mind...

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Why we need to preserve our kata Part 2



In Part One I presented to you with a long introduction to explain the different levels of the complexity that are associated with the physical and mental requirements in various types of competitions or sports events. I concluded that the requirements and the complexity of bujutsu are most complex and challenging.

My explanation may not have been full or comprehensive enough but I hope the readers had agreed to the basic concept. Now I expect that you would ask, “OK bujutsu may be the most complex physical activity but what is this got to do with kata?” I will explain but the key point is there. I would like you to remember this (most complex) so that you will understand what I will explain next.
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Which direction must we line up? What are Kamiza 上座 and Shimoza 下座?



I am afraid some of the dojo have discarded the traditional line up ritual before and after the training. I am sure there is a “good” reason why they did this but I am not going to discuss why we should keep the ritual in this article. I hope most of the readers here are still exercising this important ritual of seiza line-up.

I have received some common questions from many practitioners that are related to the line-up ritual. This ritual is a cultural matter so I can understand why many people are uncertain or confused about some of the things they are supposed to do. Let me share a couple of common questions and explain how it should be done and the reason behind it. Hopefully this information will be helpful in your training.JKA line up 2

The most frequent question I receive is, “Should the senior students line up from left to right or the other way around?
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7 Tips for Your Health 健康 Part 2

Today I will cover 3 more tips: Physical exercise, Sleep and Diet.

3) Body and physical exercise:

I am aware that training karate five or even three times per week is difficult for many readers. The challenge is the same with the idea of going to a gym or a YMCA facility to exercise or swim every day. So, I am advising you two things you can do daily without a membership at a health club.
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What are Bushido武士道, Budo武道 and Bujutsu武術? Part 2

Budo: 武道

Maegeri with dojo kun

The term of Budo can be confusing as there are at least 4 different definitions for this word.

1. In 18th and 19th centuries it was commonly used referring to bushido. Even now a days some people even in Japan use those words interchangeably.

2. It refers to all Japanese martial arts and bujutsu 武術 (explained later).

3. Sometimes it is refers to kobudo 古武道 (explained below).

4. It refers to the modern day martial arts such as...
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What are Bushido 武士道, Budo 武道 and Bujutsu 武術?

What are Bushido, Budo and Bujutsu?

How are they different? These are commonly used by the karate practitioners but I am not sure how many people have a clear understanding of these terms. I notice even among the Japanese people some confusion with these terms.

As the explanation of Bushido is pretty complex I will break my article into two parts. I will dedicate Part 1 to this interesting subject of Bushido and try to cover some important part of history and its cultural background.
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Why we need to preserve Kata Part 3



BujutsuThe ancient masters knew that solo practice was necessary for bujutsu practice so they created kata. Interestingly they did not invent the kumite nor the kihon syllabus. In fact, both of them were invented and added to karate training in early 20th century. The ancient Okinawan masters practiced only kata and bunkai (applications). Why? The key to this question lies in the way they practiced (one to one teaching) compared to the modern day training (many students of various skill levels). It is an interesting subject and I will touch this again briefly later in this chapter.

I need to bring up an important concept as I explain kata. In the learning process there are two kinds of learning that are necessary particularly for the martial artists. As far as I know this concept has never been...
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Why we need to preserve our kata:

PART 1

Discussing the concept of kata is a huge task and an extremely complex one because it involves almost every aspects of physical and mental functions. I am always amazed by the beauty of the design and the capability of human being. I cannot help but to thank God for the master piece he had created. Our body (physical and mental) is far more complex and precisely designed than any machines or mechanisms we have been able to create.

Now let us talk about kata. According to Wikipedia kata is described as a Japanese word describing detailed choreographed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs. The term form is used for the corresponding concept in non-Japanese martial arts in general.

Most of the readers already knew that much but probably you may not know that the kanji for the word of “kata” has not been agreed in Japan.
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7 Tips for Your Health 健康 Part 3

OK here are the last two tips and these are much more difficult to control or exercise. For most readers Tip #6 is not an issue, I hope. If it is then it will require much more time and commitment but for your health benefit I hope you will consider. I know Tip #7 will apply to many practitioners. I visit many dojos around the world and have seen both the practitioners and the instructors and many of them are on the heavy side. OK let’s start with #6.
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7 Tips for your Health 健康

健康が一番Part 1

I happen to be one of the healthiest persons I know and have met in my life. I am not bragging here. I am simply stating the fact. I rarely got sick throughout my adult life and I continue to be extremely healthy even at my age (66 this year). In fact, I cannot remember when I caught a cold the last time. I do not suffer from any allergies either. So far, thanks to God, I have never suffered a serious illness in my life even an appendicitis or a gall bladder infection. I even surprise myself that I can stay healthy despite of all the international travels I do around the world with the different local water and variety of dishes in different countries.

It did not happen by an accident. First of all...
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Why is Tokon material so advanced and superior to others?
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What are ritsurei 立礼 and zarei座礼? Part 2

Zarei 座礼 Part 2

(The explanation of Ritsurei is in Part 1)Line up and bowing

Zarei requires more complicated leg moves thus it is more challenging for the westerners. You need to kneel down from the standing position first then you need to stand up in a certain way after rei. During the process of sitting down and standing up you must hold your upper body as erect as possible and not to bend over which can be challenging for some beginners. It can be very challenging even for the senior practitioners to perform a smooth and graceful zarei in the ritual. Let’s take a look at how this bowing need to be performed.

To do zarei correctly...
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