31 December 2015

Happy New Year 2016



あけましておめでとうございます! I look forward to training with all of you in the coming year, 2016, the Year of the Monkey.  Let's work hard to lift each other's Kendo!

21 December 2015

Star Wars - Origins of the Light Sabre Duel



















So here it is, the doco on the connection between Kendo and the swordsmanship of Star Wars.

"You just took your first step into a larger universe."

Enjoy.




14 December 2015

2015 Shochugeiko

We were lucky that a mild day was forecast for this year's Shochugeiko. A smaller crowd this year, but from my point of view, probably the best gasshuku yet in terms of what we covered and how well we did it.

Here's the crew who started the day...























...this is just before the final session, taken because Gazzaniga sensei had to leave to meet Tashiro sensei at the airport...






...and at the end. Mostly still smiling...

The tell-tale sweat patches show that it was a good day!

I will post soon on Shugo-Nanseikan with a technical summary of the day and a reminder of the main points. In the meantime, before you go into the break, a good opportunity with the hot weather forecast for the next week to wash your hakama. Here's a little reminder (for those with 100% cotton hakama):























Fold your hakama properly along all the pleats and wash in luke warm water in a large trough or in the bath. I use wool wash mixture because it's gentle and it doesn't matter if it doesn't rinse out completely. Wash by pushing down on the hakama. Don't scrunch or wring as that can put fade marks into the fabric that look a bit like this:


















Great if you want to do Kendo in the 80s.

When you take your hakama out, it will leave the water looking like this:






















Kind of yellow. This is the dye run-off, not accumulated body fluids so don't worry. Put the hakama dripping wet into a bucket.























And hang it out to drip-dry...























out of direct sunlight...







































Again, this is to stop fade-marks in the dye. Just be careful how you peg it up. Try and use the pegs on parts of the hakama that aren't seen. Sometimes they leave marks. Hopefully this wash will get rid of all the salt stains around the koshiita (back-plate).

When dry, fold carefully. You can also iron if you like, but make sure you iron through a cloth like an old handkerchief. If you iron directly on the hakama it will leave shine marks.