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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Martial Arts Team Travels to Japan, Brings Home Competition Accolades

Old Dominion University's martial arts program recently competed in the prestigious Fifth World Butoku Sai competition in Kyoto. The late April event, sponsored by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, is a demonstration held once every four years with a lasting significance in both Japanese culture as well as the worldwide Martial Arts community.

In 1998, ODU held the first of such events for international competitors to attend. Nearly 700 high-ranking martial artists from 21 different countries attended this year's event at the historic Butokuden martial arts hall.

Amongst a long list of notable attendees was Princess Akiko of Mikasa, Her Imperial Highness. The significance of her attendance is paramount in the eyes of the martial arts community because in the 121 year history of the event she has never attended.

Surpassing expectation, ODU's Kimberly Baylor, received the service Medal of Honor which is the highest award given by the DNBK. The adjunct faculty member for the martial arts program wasn't alone in her accomplishments. Adjunct faculty members, Jeff Hastings and Bruce Myers, received the Butoku Service Award for leadership and Steve Mahan received the high honor of Kyoto Mayor's award.

The ODU team took the top award of Outstanding Team in their demonstration skills of Karatedo and Aikido. Though competitive spirit was high, the purpose of this major international martial art event was not aimed at the sport-competition, but rather to demonstrate excellence in the traditional art of Japanese martial way.

"Requiring all elements of physical prowess, mental poise, grace and beauty, ODU's team truly had an inspirational showing of talent, hard work, and determination," Baylor said.

Through promotion of character building, inner strength and confidence, international friendship, mutual understanding, and goodwill, ODU left behind an inspirational footprint and once again made history in Japan.

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