Showing posts from 2009

Gasshuku report

Last Monday, Nanseikan held its second gasshuku for 2009. The day was a great success with 18 participants, the majority of whom stayed for the full eight hours. The little dojo at St Pius X was pretty much at capacity with these numbers, so there was a great deal of energy and spirit in the training. The day was quite warm, about 28 degrees: pleasant for a picnic in the shade, but very sweaty and tiring when wearing dogu . Our previous gasshuku had members from two VKR clubs. This time, five VKR clubs were represented: Nanseikan, Fudoshin, UMKC, MBK and Mumeishi. Participants’ ages ranged from 6 to well over 40-something. The day focused on basics and commenced with everyone performing 1000 suburi . To allow participants’ arms to recover this was followed by a short lecture on Toho (刀法) or practical principles relating to the use of a sword. There then followed an extended session of shinaigeiko looking at basic movements required for cutting, especially focusing on kikentaiitchi .

2009 Nanseikan Summer Gasshuku

On Monday 21 December we will be having our second gasshuku (training camp). It will be from 9.00am until 5.00pm with a break for lunch. Date : Monday 21st December Location : Nanseikan Dojo , St Pius X Primary School Hall, Waterdale Road, Heidelberg West (300m north of Bell St intersection). Start time: 9.00am Lunch : 1.00pm Please note, lunch is now BYO. Finish time : 5.00pm Cost : All day under 16 $15.00 (half day -$10.00) All day senior $20.00 (half day - $15.00) Requirements for attendance : VKR member, shinai and bokuto, kendogi and hakama, bogu (if wearing bogu), own lunch Refreshments will be provided but please bring your own lunch. Note, there is a kitchen with fridge, microwave, toaster, etc available at the dojo. Please advise of any health or dietary issues beforehand. RSVP and enquiries : email direct to Ben Sheppard nanseikanATkendovictoriaDOTasnDOTau by Friday 18 December

Typical scenes in Japan 6

The hitting dummies ( uchikomidai ) at Otemae Senior High School Kendo Dept. My host in Osaka, George, demonstrating how small my hotel room was (I took this picture standing outisde the door!) Note George is proudly wearing his souvenir Nanseikan polartop. :D Seen from the window of my hotel in Osaka: a remnant of the "bubble economy" (when Japan had too much money in the late 80s, early 90s). A Dept store building with a rollercoaster built in. Unfortunately it's now closed. The big temple gate of Senso Temple in Tokyo. You can see how big the lanterns are by the size of the people standing directly underneath them.

Typical scenes in Japan 5

Autumn in Japan means the maples ( momiji ) are on fire. Maples and the autumn moon on a street in Sakura City, an hour outside of Tokyo. In Ikebukuro there is a great bogu shop called Genbudo. They have a display cabinet of some really fancy do-dai . I didn't ask how much...

Typical scenes in Japan 4

Fugu! My favourite part of the Kobukan Dojo. The skinniness of the door gives you an idea of how compressed the whole space is. The opposite corner of the Kobukan: books and bokuto!

Typical scenes in Japan 3

The Tokyo Budokan, where the 6th dan gradings were held. Immediately after my grading but before I knew the result! The neighbourhood I stayed in whilst in Tokyo, Ikebukuro. A shrine to Jizo Bosatsu, whom Buddhists believe helps the spirits of children who have died. Tradtionally, people wrap him up in bibs, woollen beanies, even coats and jackets!

Typical scenes in Japan 2

The "Rapito" train from Kansai International Airport to Osaka City. Shinjuku, one of the main entertainment districts of Tokyo, on a Friday night. Outside the Kobukan Dojo in Nakano, a suburb of Tokyo. The dojo is part of a private house, owned by the head sensei, Ozawa sensei. The Christmas, er... bunny? A poster in a subway in Tokyo.

Typical scenes in Japan

A street in Osaka A typical vending machine, serving hot, as well as cold, drinks. The view of Osaka Castle from the art room at Otemae Senior High School.

Gala variety show kendo song

This video clip speaks for itself really. Please enjoy! b :)

Upcoming gradings

Gradings: 6th kyu – 2nd kyu Date: Sunday 13th September 2009 Time: 1:00 pm Registration Location: Kenshikan Dojo – Rosslyn St West Melbourne Gradings: 1st kyu - 3rd dan Date: Saturday 26th September 2009 Time: to be advised Location: Kenshikan Dojo – Rosslyn St West Melbourne

新道場 The new dojo

Finally a pic of the inside of the new dojo. As you can see it's a little smaller than the old one. That's fine because it just means it fits us better! In fact the space can just fit an 11m shiaijo , which is perfect. You can still see a little water on the floor from everyone having just done zokin (mopping the floor - Japanese style). Click here to go to the Google maps reference. This must have been the day Geoffrey forgot to put his 袴 and 剣道着 in the car before training! :D b

Article published in 剣道日本月刊

The September edition of Kendo Japan Monthly contains an article I wrote originally for Kendo World magazine in English and which appeared last June. Since then I had the article translated into Japanese. Alex Bennett, editor of Kendo World, kindly passed it on to the editors of Kendo Japan Monthly . The article is not about Nanseikan, but about the first four years of the Brunswick Secondary College kendo program. Maybe the next article I send them should be about Nanseikan... b :)

Nanseikan's new dojo!

View My Saved Places in a larger map We will be moving there after our last training at Brunswick on Saturday 27 June. I'm hoping a few of you will be able to volunteer to help wih the move. Our first training there will be our one-day gasshuku (training camp) on Thursday 9 July (note change of date from previously) starting 10.00am, going until 5.00pm. Then term 3 classes commence on Saturday 25 July .

How many 8 dans are there?

This is a question I get a lot. And here's the answer: 剣道段位・称号登録者数  (平成15年1月現在) Numbers of kendo grade holders, as at January 2003 初段 634,678 (shodan) 二段 385,890 (nidan) 三段 162,061 (sandan) 四段 41,463 (yondan) 五段 38,573 (godan) 六段 14,011 (rokudan) 七段 11,877 (nanadan) 八段 466 (hachidan) 九段 13 (kyū-dan-9th Dan) only 4 still active: Inoue sensei, Okuzono sensei, Taniguchi sensei and Kurasawa sensei. 全国登録計 1,288,033 (All Japan Total) (women 28%) 称号 Shogo 錬士 19,258 (Renshi) 教士 18,000 (Kyoshi) 範士 376 (Hanshi) There had been only five 10th dan in kendo history. From 1995 the grades 9th and 10th cannot be awarded. The total 9th dan ever awarded seems to be about twenty. And then, by Curtis Marsten sensei's reckoning , it takes more than 86,000 people to pass 6 and 7 dan for there to be just ten new 8 dans! (Note: these figures are only for Japan. Thanks to Raffa at Kendo World for this info). b

Nanseikan @ UMKC

I'm not sure exactly what year this is. Maybe 2003? It was the first time Nanseikan visited another dojo and it was of course, University of Melbourne Kendo Club. From the picture I can see that the NSKers there were Steph, Amelia, Cy and Jordan. Only one of those people is still training! :'( b

Can you have too much bogu?

This photo is from when I was training with Kagoshima University at their Daigaku Byoin Budokan, in 1993. I was amazed, coming from a country with a constant shortage of bogu, to see old bogu rotting outside the dojo! Not sure what they were keeping it for, all neatly stacked up like that. Perhaps they were waiting for the next hard rubbish collection? :D b

To all Kendoka in Victoria!!!

photo (c) VKR Inc. Melbourne Budokai and the Victorian Kendo Renmei would like to invite all VKR members to participate in a special fund raising appeal to assist those affected by the recent bush fire tragedy in Victoria. A special keiko will be held on Sunday the 22nd of March (Before the VKR’s AGM) at the Kenshikan Dojo. Training will begin at 9.30 a.m. and conclude at 11.00 a.m. The emphasis will be on jigeiko and it is our hope that as many of our high ranking yudansha as possible will be there for everyone to train with. This will be a rare opportunity for kendoka from all Victorian clubs to enjoy a vigorous training together! All training fees will be donated to the Fire Appeal. (Adults $10, Students & Juniors $5) We hope that as many members as possible will participate to support our fellow Victorians... and to have a great day of training!!! Kind Regards, Gary Oliver (VKR President) & Tony Corrigan (MBK President)

Grading sucess!

Congratulations to all our Nanseikan members who passed their 6th kyu to 3rd kyu gradings at the Kenshikan on 7 March. Congratulations also to Fujiie sensei's Renshinkan members from Benalla who are the first from that club to receive a kendo grading. b

Next 1st kyu - 3rd dan grading - Sunday 29 March

photo Matti Sedholm Below are the details for the next grading for 1 st kyu – 3 rd Dan. I have published the exam questions for 1 - 3 dan even though no-one from Nanseikan will be requiring them, because they usually do not change. Gradings: 1 st kyu – 3 rd Dan Date: Sunday 29 th March 2009 Time: Registration commences at 1:00 pm . Location: Kenshikan Dojo – Rosslyn St West Melbourne Exam Questions: Please answer both questions. Mark your paper with your name and the grade you are challenging. 1 st Dan: 1. What do you want to learn from training in Kendo. 2. Explain Maai. 2 nd Dan: 1. Explain why etiquette is important to Kendo. 2. Explain the opportunity for Datotsu. 3 rd Dan: 1. Explain why it is important to do Kendo Kata. 2. Explain why it is necessary to do Kiri-kaeshi.

Beautiful photos of old kendo dojo

photo by Matti Sedholm This and many other photos were taken by a Swedish photographer named Matti Sedholm. He also uses the name Horimatsu on Flickr. This series shows a really wonderful old dojo in Yokohama, a big city not far from Tokyo. From his photos you get a real sense of the atmosphere. b

Repost: Grading requirements from 6 kyu to 2 kyu

With the next 6 kyu- 2 kyu grading coming up at the Kenshikan on Sat 7 March at 1.30pm, I have reposted the requirements for each grade below. Grading requirements for kyu grades 2.3.5 6 kyu Technical Requirements Kihon-waza to be executed with Motodachi, candidates wearing Tare and Do. • Correct Hakama & Keikogi • Correct Bogu • Rei and Sonkyo • Ashi-sabaki • Kihon Men • Kihon Kote • Kihon Do • Kihon Kote-Men (Delete) • Kihon Kote-Do (Delete) • Kiri-Kaeshi (Delete) 2.3.6 5 kyu Grading Technical Requirements Kihon-waza to be executed with Motodachi, candidates wearing Tare and Do. • Correct Hakama & Keikogi • Correct Bogu • Rei and Sonkyo • Ashi-sabaki • Kihon Men • Kihon Kote • Kihon Do • Kihon Kote-Men (Delete) • Kihon Kote-Do (Delete) • Kiri-Kaeshi 2.3.7 4 kyu Grading Technical Requirements Candidates wearing full Bogu and demonstrating against each other. • Correct Hakama & Keikogi • Correct Bogu • Kihon Men • Kihon Kote • Kihon Do • Nidan-waza • Kihon Kote-Men •

Hello Kendo!

I know at least one person who would really love one of these... I'm not so sure about the sad little guy below... From a very cheesy gift shop of all things kendo called b

Grading dates for 2009

8-dan grading in Kyoto. Pic from All Japan Kendo Federation These are the dates for upcoming VKR gradings for the first half of the year. Mark them on your calendar! (:b § Saturday 7th March – Kendo 6th Kyu to 2nd Kyu Grading § Sunday 29th March – Kendo 1st Kyu to 3rd Dan grading


In Korea, some 8-dans have gold-coloured mengane ! It's a bit of a "status-symbol", a way of showing off either how wealthy or how skilful you are. When I first saw them I was a bit shocked. They seemed so, well, showy . But then I remembered that many Japanese 8-dans have status symbols of their own, like sam-e dodai , ( do made from sharkskin) which is very expensive: usually about $3000.00 from a good Japanese maker. And that's just for do itself! If you click on this image you can see how the do has many little dots. These are the natural texture of the sharkskin. Usually the craftsman who makes it is able to arrange a small line of these dots across the middle of the do as a kind of decoration. You will also notice that this bogu set (from ) has black mengane . This is really just a different kind of status symbol. Black mengane have only been made for the last 2 or 3 years, but are becoming very popular, especially outside Japan. Even thoug

Happy New Year 2009!

アけましておめでとうございます! ( akemashite omdetou gozaimasu! ) This year training starts on Saturday 7 February. Term dates will be: term 1 ............. 7 February – 4 April term 2 ............ 25 April – 6 June term 3............ 18 July – 12 September term 4............ 10 October – 5 December Above is a nengajo or New Year's card for our club. All the best for 2009. Let's make it a year of learning, fun, and victories! b PS - Don't forget to check out Shugo-Nanseikan , our other blog with lots of new articles about kendo.