28 April 2013

Keiichi Hashimoto visit / Hungarian kenshi's hansoku for throwing

Hashimoto-s. on left

Keichi Hashimoto (Renshi 6 dan) will be visiting Melbourne for four days next weekend. Here is his training itinerary:

Friday 3rd May - VKR Friday night keiko (7:00pm warm up, 7:30pm start keiko)
Saturday 4th May - Open training at Kenshikan Dojo (2:00pm - 4:00pm)
Sunday 5th May - MBK training at Kenshikan Dojo (9:30am - 11:30am)

After doing a little Google jutsu, I also found his Twitter account, his competitor profile on the All Japan Kendo Federation website, and an interview where he shows off his Hummer and talks about starting Kendo in kindergarten (!) and how his other passion is music. He apparently had a band and for a while considered giving up Kendo to focus on music.

All bogu-wearing kenshi are welcome to join in training with him. Even newer members could benefit from watching him in action.

Hungarian hansoku from this year's European Kendo Championships
It looks like the video keeps getting deleted. First it was on Youtube, then it got made private. Then it popped up on Vimeo, and now that one's been deleted. However a Belgian blogger very presciently took screenshots of the video before it was taken down. 

The match was Hungary versus Switzerland. The Swiss player has the abbreviation "CHE" on his tare, which is the three letter code for Switzerland, like AUS is for Australia. It stands for "Conferatio Helvetica".

There is a lengthy discussion on Kendo World about this legality of this action and people's reactions/opinions of it. Geoff Salmon sensei, who was a shinpan at those championships but who didn't see it himself because he was busy with another match, discusses his thoughts here. He also makes reference to the same "You Asked For It" video from the 1950s which I was telling some of you about yesterday after training. It includes numerous attempts at ashibarai or foot-sweeps. Watch out for when they try and hook their leg around their opponent's. The presenter's style is hilarious.

15 April 2013

Term 2 classes start this Saturday

Momiji (Japanese maple) in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture, Autumn 2009

Term 2 starts this Saturday. It's a 10 week term and on the last Saturday we will have our annual Kangeiko, a special training that goes from 9am until 5pm.

This term our focus will be on 1) integrating our new beginners 
and 2) looking at the nuts and bolts of shiai, or competition.

The aspects of shiai that we will look at most closely will be:
  • correct procedure for competitors: reiho (etiquette) and basic rules
  • yuko datotsu or what makes up a correct scoring point
for more advanced students:
  • competition strategy against different opponents
  • introduction to being shinpan (referee)

VKR AKR membership fees due
Also, please be aware that in addition to term fees all membership fees will be due for Victorian Kendo Renmei and Australian Kendo Renmei. This is a single fee which members pay to the club and then I forward it to the VKR. It covers insurance, gradings and competition. These will be due mid June.

During the holidays I hosted a mini-morning training with Chris Panagopoulos and his friend Matsuoka san. Chris is a long-time Kendo friend who lived in Osaka for many years. It is thanks to him and his connections in Osaka that we have the many club bogu available that we do. They collected so many donated bogu that I remember the shipping cost was well over $1000.00!

Matsuoka san is a high school teacher and a member of the Minami Yamamoto Shonen Kendo Kai (Yamamoto South Kids Kendo Club — this is the name Matsuoka san is pointing to on the white taré). They donated most of the kids' armour that we use. It was great to complete the circle with his visit and finally say "arigato gozaimashita" to one of the group's members in person.

3 April 2013

Holiday training, in the holidays

This morning I went to MUKEN training. They have a training session every Wednesday morning from 7am til about 8.30am. It's a little different to some Kendo trainings because people tend to leave early if they have to go to work or lectures. But, like every VKR club, their training sessions are open to all VKR members, so feel free to join in if you have the time.

There was also a very special visitor to training. We decided if he did Kendo he'd be a 9th dan sensei, based on his incredible self-control and lack of wasted movement! He is a tawny frogmouth (podargus strigoides) and as well as being incredibly cute, he is a nocturnal hunter related to, but different from an owl.

Another surprise I received at today's training was the gift one of the new MUKEN tenugui. The story of the tenugui is below. Thanks to Viet and the the rest of the MUKEN Kendo club for the gift.

These tenugui were designed by Takahiro Ueno, a calligrapher from Chiba, Japan. He is currently undertaking a Grand Tour of the world, and at each stop he busks on the street with his unique calligraphic method, one that is infused with music and dynamism. While on the Melbourne leg of this Grand Tour during the middle of 2012, the club approached Takahiro to create a new design for the club's tenugui. He obliged. After much research (including spectating MUKEN trainings and taikai) he presents the attached design, which reflects the qualities of speed and power that he observed in MUKEN kendo.