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Just got back from a wonderful four days in Apollo Bay. Thanks to Peter, Libby and family for their warm welcome and showing me and my family some of the many sights in the area.
The Apollo Bay Kendo Club has recently been recognised by the VKR and congratulations to all the ABKC members for their perseverance up until now. I found a really keen and committed bunch of individuals who already show a solid grasp of basics and especially reigi saho(etiquette). We trained three times over the four days including all day on Sunday. There was a lot to get through as I had spoken to Peter, the club's instructor, prior to getting down there on what they wanted to cover. The two restrictions were a very hard floor (ceramic tiles on a a concrete base - ouch!) at their current dojo, and the lack of armour and armour experience of some members.
For that reason we looked closely at the Bokuto ni yoru kihon waza keiko ho, as a way of teaching shikake-waza and oji-waza to everyone regardless of experience. This worked very well and revealed the real usefulness of this sequence in this instance. As a result of training in the Bokuto Kihon, all ABKC members can develop a working knowledge of waza that can then be further developed when they reach bogu stage. They also started to get an insight into how timing and distance affect waza execution.
We followed this up with practicing the Bokuto Kihon in bogu with shinai for a further extension of the principles of waza, but this time with the added feedback of striking a live target. All these waza were practiced using suriashi rather than fumikomiashi so as to prevent injury on the hard floor.
Even with the shortage of bogu, everyone was able to try wearing full bogu, some for the first time, and then have brief go at jigeiko.
We also spoke about some basic concepts to do with the kendo mindset such as seme, sutemiand zanshin.
Dinner at the pub on Sunday night was great: wonderful to be able to eat lobster caught within view of the hotel!
Thanks again to everyone for a great seminar and all the best for the future of the club.
Looking down on the rainforest from 45m up in the canopy!