The Integration of Mind-Body and Mental Health: a Budō (武道) perspective

27 novembre 2023
Orario di inizio 
Palazzo Fedrigotti - Corso Bettini 31, Rovereto
Ingresso libero


This Seminar presents an original discussion on the Japanese way of Budō (武道), or the way of ‘Samurai Warriors’ in relation to the mind and body relationship and its impact on mental health.

Martial arts in Japan include jūdo, swordsmanship (kendō), archery, and horsebackriding, which originated in the ancient past. Among most recent we find karate and aikidō, which largely developed also in our Western societies. But how does Budo enhance our understanding of the mind-body relationship? And how does this affect our wellbeing? It will be argued how martial arts in Japan are not simple techniques, but they rather express a great inner spirituality, which is manifested as a sort of ‘meditation in movement’.

By observing the live demonstration of a Master performing martial arts, the audience will be invited to observe how the movements of mind and body gradually coincide until they reach a level of ‘oneness’. It will be argued how to reach a ‘high’ performance means to achieve a state where one can move the body freely without intending it. Fundamentally, this suggests that a person is approaching what in Buddhism is called ‘state of no-mind’, or what Nishida Kitarō called ‘acting intuition’. At such time, ego-consciousness disappears and the mind ‘fills’ the body and it expands with no limits. In this context, the metaphor of martial arts suggests how the unification between the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds can be obtained through physical practises rather than in terms of intellectual enquiry.

To date, little is known regarding the underlying scientific mechanisms of mental/psychological health benefits of Budo. During this Seminar evidence emerging from clinical and neuroimaging studies of Kendo masters will be shared and discussed, while reflecting on the relevance of mind-body training as a protective mechanism towards addictions and other mental health disorders in increasingly digitalized societies.


Prof. Ornella Corazza and Prof. Gianluca Esposito


14:00 Welcome Address

14:10 Preventing Addictions: why Budo Matters?
Prof. Ornella Corazza Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento

14:30 The mental health benefits of Budo from neuroscientific point of view
Prof. Hironobu Fujiwara Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University

15:00 Reconciliation after interpersonal harm: An Aikido inspired perspective
Prof. Jeroen Vaes Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento

15:20 Discussion and Concluding Remarks

15:30 Tea ceremony
Hosted by Prof. Hironobu Fujiwara Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto