5/29/2016

VKR/AKR memberships due next week




















As mentioned at training, annual memberships are due. For seniors (16 and over) it's $70. Juniors are $40. If you could bring money to training next Saturday that would be very helpful.

5/21/2016

New zekken for new members






























Now that everyone from the last beginners' course is in full bogu, it's time to start thinking about buying your zekken (also called a nafuda). This is a personalised bag-shaped cover that fits over the centre flap of your tare, and shows your dojo and name. These are both useful, and necessary if you ever want to enter a competition.

Zen Sankei in Japan make our zekken for us. They have a special page set up where only Nanseikan members can enter their details to order a Nanseikan zekken. You just input your name, and also the size of your tare.

http://www.zen-sankei.com/onlineshop/product_info.php?cPath=21_66&products_id=347

Because they are small and light, I don't think postage is very much. But you might like to find other people who want to order them together and save on postage.

Cain Lee is the man who runs Zen Sankei Australia. He lives mostly in Japan but visits Australia regularly and is a member of Melbourne Budokai.

5/03/2016

Membership update



After you've finished reading this post, enjoy this great video of oji waza (counter-attacks) from a very kind Youtube user in Hiroshima. If you go to the Youtube page, you'll see they've given the timing references for all the different techniques displayed. I love the calligraphy "do" at the end of the dojo.

For everyone, both our most recent beginners and our ongoing members, membership fees for the Australian Kendo Renmei and the Victorian Kendo Renmei are due by 15th June.


Why the 15th?

The VKR has recently introduced a cut-off date for memberships of the 15th of each month. This is to allow for processing. Remember the VKR is a small organisation run entirely by volunteers. So if you need to be registered as a member by the 1 July, then you need to get your application in by 15th of the month before.


Half year memberships

These don't apply now, but will be relevant to those who join the August beginners' course. Half-year memberships allow those joining late a reduced rate for membership to bring them into line with the normal membership year (1 July - 30 June). They are a one-off and only available to new members. These fees will be due on 15 December.


Why join/renew?

The first reason is insurance. When you are a member you have personal injury insurance. That means in the event of a serious injury requiring medical treatment you can get most if not all your costs covered. It also covers lost wages. For more information, go here.

The second reason is gradings. You can only grade if you have been a financial member for at least 3 months prior to the grading. As an ongoing member you can only keep any grades attained if you maintain your membership.

The third reason is competitions. Self-explanatory really.

The last reason is the community of kenshi. The AKR is made up of all the member states and territories in Australia (NT finally started their own Kendo Renmei last year, woohoo!). It is recognised by the Federal Government, as well as the International Kendo Renmei (and via the FIK, by the IOC and SportAccord) as the governing body for Kendo, Iaido and Jodo in Australia.


























Sakurajima, the volcano that dominates the city of Kagoshima in southern Kyushu.

We have our personality clashes and falling-outs, but so far the organisation has remained strong and intact. I think this is because of the structure of Kendo in general. There is no "O-sensei" or Founder or "Soke", so there are no battles about whose Kendo is 'the correct Kendo' as there is often in other martial arts. Kendo is less of a pyramid, and more like Sakurajima: a high mountain with space on the summit for many awesome sensei. That means there are many, slightly different ways to embody the 'ultimate' Kendo. And that means we try to beat each other in keiko, not in righteousness!

To protect that community we need to first of all support it financially. Later on we can volunteer our time if we wish, to help run the organisation or events. Either way we should be grateful that we are part of a real and true Kendo organisation that has strong and ongoing links with the best Kendo in the world. When a VKR sensei says they can give you an introduction to a dojo or a university in Japan, you can be assured that when you arrive there you will receive a warm welcome, not the cold shoulder or quizzical looks. Even if you can't get to Japan in the foreseeable future, you will always have the chance to train with high level sensei who come to Australia to run seminars. In that situation you can make your own connections and promises to meet one day in Japan.


What are the precise rules and where are they written up?

The precise rules are: 5 months training prior to attempting 6th kyu and 3 of those months as a paid-up member. They are detailed in the AKR Kendo Board's Manual of Documents which can be found here.



Visualisation

For our members, especially our new ones, I have created an infographic that tries to present visually the different fees and when they are due throughout the year. Click on it twice to zoom in fully.







4/14/2016

Training for term 2 start this Saturday




























We've got a shipment of new equipment just in time for Saturday's first training of term. I look forward to seeing everyone there. Hope you've been doing your suburi! ;)

Dates: term 2  16/4, 23/4, 30/4, 7/5, 14/5, 21/5, 28/5, 4/6, 11/6, 18/6,
kangeiko 18 June








3/20/2016

DIY easy shinai bag

Shinai bags can be expensive but it is necessary to have something to carry your stuff in. Everyone at Nanseikan should have shinai and bokuto, if not now then soon, and these can be difficult to carry to-and-from training. If you're on public transport then you definitely need something to contain them in, preferably with a carry strap.

This little sequence of pics shows how to make a handy shinai bag out of a length of oridinary fabric and some lightweight rope (in this case it's an old men himo).  It's really just a glorified furoshiki. The great thing about this design is, firstly it's very cheap, it's expandable, and you don't need to take the tsuba off your shinai and bokuto before putting them away.
















































3/17/2016

Whoops! Easter and term 2 dates

























Usagi Yojimbo is angry at me for my bad scheduling over Easter.

Although I had scheduled two more classes this term, this coming Saturday will actually be the last for the term. There will be no training on Easter Saturday.

Training will start back for term 2 on Saturday 16 April.

As is our tradition, the last training for term 2 will be our annual Kangeiko (寒稽古) or winter seminar. This is on Saturday 18 June. Training on that day will go from 9am until 5pm, and there will be kenshi from many other Victorian clubs in attendance. Get ready to learn 6 months' worth of Kendo in one day...

Usually there is a small extra charge for the whole day training, to cover hall hire. But since my miscalculation of the dates for term 1, there will be no extra charge for Kangeiko this year for NSK members.

Wishing James good luck for his shodan grading next Sunday!

3/07/2016

Gradings March 2016























Yesterday the March 6th kyu to 2nd kyu grading was held at the Kenshikan. Congratulations to Chris and Andre for both receiving their 6th kyu. Commiserations to Alex for being unsuccessful at 2nd kyu.

As a grading panel member I learned the following:

  • sometimes they will include kakarigeiko!
  • most junior kyu grade candidates have poor tenouchi
  • as a result, most strike the mengane (grill), and not the datotsubui (scoring section) of the men
  • so you can really stand out from the crowd if you have flexible wrists when you cut
  • kiai is generally too quiet
  • left heel resting on the ground is a mistake that's very easy for the grading panel to see
  • many people judge distance poorly, or fail to match their technique to their motodachi's distance, especially when doing multiple cuts
  • most of my attention as a judge was not on whether people would pass or fail, but whether there was someone who deserved to be promoted to try for the next grade above (this was because it was quickly apparent whether someone was good enough for the grade)
  • those people who did all the things mentioned above tended to be double-graded
There is also a new article on Shugo-Nanseikan about the difficulty of grading.