THEY are famed as brave, heroic warriors.
Now the next generation of Samurai experts, famed in Japan, could be on the way – in Mirfield.
And martial arts instructor Anna Seabourne said: “You don’t have to be big and brawny to have a go at being a Samurai”.
In a project with Mirfield Community Trust, she is offering young people a free 10-week taster course on the traditional martial arts of Japan.
Kobujutsu Shokai, or Introduction to Classical Japanese Martial Arts is a new venture which aims to give young men and women over 14 the experience of Samurai training methods, albeit without the deadly swords.
Anna, from Mirfield, runs group Shoufukan Dojo, and has been involved in martial arts since 1987. She trained in Takeuchi-ryu Bitchuden Kobudo in Japan and holds black belt in Ju Jitsu and Shorinji Kempo.
She said: “Samurai training methods and techniques are just as relevant to the challenges of modern life as they were on the medieval battlefield.”
The course will include hands-on sessions, demonstrations, videos, and a chance to try out basic self-defence techniques.
It will focus on Takeuchi-ryu which is a Japanese classical martial art dating to the 16th century.
It is a comprehensive training system, using many of the weapons of the Samurai, but is particularly renowned for its ju-jitsu (unarmed techniques).
“This is a great opportunity to get a taste of what a classical tradition like Takeuchi-ryu is all about,” said Anna.
“And you don’t have to be big and brawny to have a go; our founder was small even for Japanese in the 16th century.”
Japan’s Samurai warriors were famed across the world for centuries.
Samurai teachings can still be found today in modern day society with the martial art Kendo, meaning the way of the sword.
The samurai (or bushi) were the members of the military class, the Japanese warriors.
Samurai employed a range of weapons such as bows and arrows, spears and guns; but their most famous weapon and their symbol was the sword.
Samurai were supposed to lead their lives according to the ethic code of bushido (the way of the warrior).
Strongly Confucian in nature, Bushido stressed concepts such as loyalty to one's master, self discipline and respectful, ethical behaviour.
After a defeat, some Samurai chose to commit ritual suicide (seppuku) by cutting their abdomen rather than being captured or dying a dishonourable death.
The Mirfield course is open to anyone over 14 and no prior experience or equipment is necessary.
The course is free to young people living in Kirklees and will run on Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm at Mirfield Community Centre on Water Royd Lane.
The first session is on Monday, February 22.
Call 0844 8701532 for more information.