Bryan Joseph Welch Humanities and Social Science
Practice Makes Perfect: The Pedagogy of Apprenticeship in Japanese Martial Arts Communities
After the Meiji Restoration opened Japan to the West in 1868, many of the traditional Japanese martial disciplines (budo) were reinvented, incorporating modern Western concepts of mass education and competitive sport. However, some disciplines resisted these reforms in an attempt to preserve their traditional method of individualized apprenticeship. Through participant observation at a large gymnasium in Tokyo, I will explore school structure, pedagogy, and power relationships between expert and novice within several budo communities. I will look for correlation between these elements and the degree to which each style has adopted aspects of Western pedagogy. I hope to create a map of the learning process within these learning communities as so to render them accessable as pedagogical models to educators outside of Japan.