A karate school headquartered in the town of Manno in Kagawa Prefecture hosted a midwinter training session for its members at a beach in Sakaide in early January.
The Jan. 3 training session on Nakanda beach by Nakayama Dojo, a Kyokushin school of Japanese full-contact karate, drew roughly 80 members -- the youngest being a 3-year-old, with the oldest being in their 50s -- from 10 affiliate schools in Kagawa and Okayama prefectures.
The training, which takes place outdoors, is aimed at disciplining the minds and bodies of participants and enabling them to overcome various obstacles. It was the first such event in four years following a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Amid the cold weather, the training began with students picking up garbage and cleaning up the beach before starting their punching and kicking drills. Members from elementary school age to adulthood headed into the cold winter sea, where they paired up and practiced their techniques on each other.
"It was really cold but a lot of fun," said Aoi Takahashi, a 6-year-old first grader at Mannominami Elementary School, who participated in the event for the first time. "I want to get stronger this year."
As Japan reels from a series of recent disasters, Toshiyuki Nakayama, the 57-year-old head of the dojo group, said, "We had a stormy start this year, but I hope things will get better from here."