27 June 2008

Kendo dummy

If any of you are good with your hands (or your mum or dad is!), you might like to try making this kendo dummy. I haven't made one but it looks good and the detailed plans are free to download.



26 June 2008

Hokusai manga

The Japanese artist and printmaker Hokusai was one of the most famous and influential artists of his time. He lived at the end of the Tokugawa era and the beginning of the Meiji era, which means he saw Japan change from a feudal society to a modern, industrial one. He produced the first manga, which were a collection of sketches of everyday life. These manga even covered martial arts training and armour as you can see from these drawings. Actually they were not just drawings, but woodblock prints, which means all the lines were carved out of wood, not just drawn with a pen or pencil. This makes them even more remarkable I think.

The last picture is nothing to do with Hokusai, other than it is a photograph that would have been taken about the same time as he was producing his artworks, probably around 1860-70. The stances would have been posed for the camera, as photographic film wasn't sensitive enough at that time to take action shots. I think it's interesting to note little differences like the striped hakama and long kote. b

click on the pictures for a larger version

22 June 2008

A scientific look at suburi

Some more holiday reading, this time about something that I hope everyone will be doing and thinking about regularly while they are not in the dojo – suburi!

This research is by a group of researchers from Keio University in Japan, led by two 7-dan kendo sensei. They looked at the best position to swing back to, and also the best position to stop the cut, whilst doing men suburi.

Click here to read the article. b

*Thanks to www.miamivalleykendo.org for the article

20 June 2008

Some fun holiday reading

This is an old story called "Neko no Myojutsu" (The Cat's Mysterious Skill) and even though it is about a cat, it is also about swordsmanship.

"There was once a swordsman called Shōken, who was very much annoyed by a furious rat in his house. The rat was bold enough to come out of its hiding place even in the daytime, doing all kinds of mischief. Shōken made his pet cat go after it, but she was not its equal, and being bitten by it, she ran away screaming. The swordsman now hired some of the neighboring cats noted for their skill and courage in catching rats. They were let loose against the rat. Crouching in a corner, it watched the cats approach it and furiously attacked them one after another. The cats were terrified and all beat a retreat.

The master became desperate and tried to kill the rat himself. Taking up his wooden sword he approached it, but every effort of the experienced swordsman proved ineffectual, for the rat dodged his sword so skillfully that it seemed as to be flying through the air like a bird or even lightning. Before Shōken could follow its movement, it had already made a successful leap at his head. He was perspiring heavily and finally decide to give up the chase. As a last resort, he sent for the neighboring Cat widely known for her mysterious virtue as the most able rat-catcher. The Cat did not look in any way especially different from other cats that had been invited to fight the rat.

The swordsman did not think very much of her, but let her go into the room where the rat was located. The Cat went in quietly and slowly as if she were not cognizant of any unusual scene in the room. The rat, however, was extremely terrified at the sight of the approaching object and stayed motionless, almost stupefied, in the corner. The Cat almost nonchalantly went for the rat and came out carrying it by the neck.

In the evening, all the cats who had participated in the rat-catching had a grand session at Shōken's house, and respectfully asked the great Cat to take the seat of honor. They made profound bows before her and said: “We are all noted for valor and cunning, but never realized that there was such an extraordinary rat in the world. None of us was able to do anything with it until you came; and how easily you carried the day! We all wish you to divulge your secrets for our benefit, but before that let us see how much we all know about the art of fighting rats.”

If you want to see what she said, go here...

14 June 2008

Balloon keiko

Congrats to Geoffrey who won a group contest for the second week in a row!

Don't forget about your suburi: 50 joge, 50 naname--rest--50 double-time shomen, 50 double-time sayumen--rest--50 double-time katate men (left handed only)--rest--50 hayasuburi.


13 June 2008

Winter break

We will be ceasing training for the mid-year break tomorrow.

The first training for term 3 will be on Saturday 19th July.

Enjoy the holidays, and keep warm by doing lots of suburi!


3 June 2008

Inaugural Nagae Taikai

Sunday 1 May saw the first Nagae Taikai, a day of shiai in kata only: both kendo kata and seitei iaido kata. It was a great event with a large number of teams from all around Victoria competing. Nanseikan had two kendo kata teams: Stephanie and Natsu were team 1. Robert and Luke were team 2. Both teams did really well in displaying the first five kendo no kata under great pressure. Rob and Luke even got a round of applause at the close of their kata. They were the only team that got such a response. So well done guys! The eventual winners on the day were Chikushinkai for iaido, and Ballarat for kendo. b

Video on the winning point of last year's All Japan Championship

Here is an amazing video about the winning point by Teramoto to take last year's All Japans. It is in Japanese but has some English subtitles. The winning point was a men by Teramoto that struck his opponent Takanabe 0.009 sec before Takanabe struck him! (Click on the hyperlink "Amazing video" above)
Above is a still photograph by Tyler Rothmar of the same point. Awesome stuff. Enjoy! b