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Showing posts from 2011

Kenshikan's new floor

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Went to the Kenshikan today and saw the new floor for the first time. It's beautiful!! Hopefully these terrible phone pics give you an idea. But you'll just have to go to training there yourselves. As today was the opening ceremony, there was a little Shinto offering of sake and rice to the gods in each corner of the dojo.

Kenshikan's new floor and official dojo reopening

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pic courtesy コアラ先生 To all members of the Victorian Kendo, Iaido and Jodo Community, Please see attached invitation. It is with great pleasure and excitement that Melbourne Budokai and the Kenshikan Trust formally invite you to attend the re-opening ceremony of the Kenshikan Dojo on Sunday the 11th of December 2011. We would very much welcome your participation at this historic occasion which will involve a traditional ceremony followed by a goodwill jigeiko. ***SUNDAY, 11TH OF DECEMBER*** Ceremony will begin at 10.30am (Please ensure you arrive 10 mins before) Held at The Kenshikan Dojo (91 Rosslyn St. West Melbourne VIC 3006) In early 2010 the Melbourne Budokai launched the ‘Kenshikan Restoration Project’, the most significant initiative undertaken since the Kenshikan's opening in 1990. Over 20 years of extensive usage by the budo community has lead to the steady deterioration of the Kenshikan facility with the external roofing material and the dojo floor suffe

Nanseikan Shochugeiko

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Monsoonal rain and warm temperatures have lately made for an authentic taste of Japanese summer, so... Saturday 17 December is the annual Nanseikan Shochugeiko, from 9am until 5pm, at Nanseikan Dojo in Heidelberg West. People of all skill levels and ages, including those not yet wearing bogu, are most welcome. 'Shochugeiko' means practice in the middle of summer. Mid December isn't as hot as it gets here, as we all know, but it is a convenient time to farewell the year before we all go our different ways over the Christmas break. As a gesture to all VKR members who are full-time students, the cost of the Kangeiko will be only $10.00 for the day.  The cost otherwise is $20, which is purely to cover hire of the hall. Please RSVP to me by Friday 16 December.  Hope to see members from all the VKR clubs! b PS - Next year will be the 10th anniversary of Nanseikan Kendo Club, so keep an eye out for some special celebratory events.

Nagae Sumitaka 1921-2011

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   On Monday 14 November 2011, Nagae sensei passed away peacefully in Tokyo. Nagae sensei's importance for Australian Kendo cannot be underestimated. Along with such greats as Rex Lawley and Ron Bennett, his hard work and guidance helped to bring the level of Kendo in Australia to where it is today: a traditional Japanese martial art where the average length of time in training and average grade of Australian kenshi would be higher than any other martial art. Nagae sensei's kendo was elegant, gentle and indomitable. As he said to me, he passed every one of his gradings up to and including 7th dan on the first attempt. Nagae sensei's special importance was to act as a conduit for Japanese assistance in developing kendo in Australia. In the 1980s, when the ZNKR and Japan Foundation first asked him which sensei he would like sent to Australia for teaching seminars, he asked for the best: Nakakura Kiyoshi sensei and Haga Tadatoshi sensei. At the beginning of the 90s, when

Itakura sensei/ Kenshikan's new floor

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Itakura sensei (Kendo 6th dan) visited us this morning.  Congrats to Geoffrey who has finished all his International Baccalaureate exams. Good luck to Alvin and Jerry who may still have some VCE exams to go. Also a definite "break a leg" to Geoffrey as he auditions for NIDA next Saturday: as difficult as going for 6th dan! Hopefully Itakura sensei will return to train with us next Saturday. Usually he trains on the weekend at Kenshikan but their floor is being re-done at the moment. Here are some pics from Shinoda sensei's blog of how it is going so far: Shinoda sensei on the left and Shiina sensei, the design consultant, on the right, pretending to be the first to do kendo on the new floor... :/   b

Men o semete kote

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This is one of the videos I mentioned at training today. It looks just like a large kote, but it is actually a very smooth seme towards men and then kote when the opponent raises their shinai. The other video which I mentioned today, of aigote-men,  I just couldn't find. I'll keep looking.  b

Kendo art

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Well actually it's kenjutsu art, or Tenshinshoden Katori Shinto Ryu art to be really precise! It's a drawing I did based on a photograph of Otake Risuke sensei, the headmaster of the school, doing the characteristic jumping nukistuke (drawing of the sword) of his school. Click twice on the picture and for maximum bigness. Next term we are back on Saturday 15 October.

Jodan article

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Jakob Schmidt, a long-time jodan practitioner and Kendo World forumite, has written a very useful article on practicing jodan at Kenshi247.net. There are also a lot of great jodan videos to be found on the net like this one from Kendo World's channel, which you can watch in HD! And the one below has a fantastic translation by Kenji, who came to Kangeiko last week. I learned a lot just watching it... when I was able to stop laughing (you'll understand when you watch it)! And of course Chiba sensei himself will be here in August (although I've never seen him instruct in jodan).

2011 Kangeiko Report

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This year's Kangeiko was held last Saturday in chilly, but not excessively cold conditions. Three clubs were represented: Nanseikan, MUKEN and MBK. There was a good mix of experience levels present, and I think everyone who came got something out of the day. I know the NSKers present certainly did. Kangeiko and other kendo seminars offer the chance to explore something in depth, to try things out over and over. Usually, at the end of the day, as well as being sore and tired, everyone feels that they have measurably improved. The focus of this Kangeiko was tenouchi . We started with some drills using the kusari fundo I have mentioned previously to emphasise correct swing. Then we moved on to exercises for increasing wrist strength and flexibility. From there we did exercises in visualising all the different movements of the hands in the various shikake and oji waza. This was done with empty hands. We then practiced these movements with shinai in hand, and finally against

Chiba-bogu's new website

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Chiba-bogu are one of the best online retailers of kendo equipment. However in the past all their equipment was very expensive. Now with the launch of their new site , they have a few new bogu including the one pictured above, their 5mm Clarino model . Clarino is an artificial deer-skin substitute that performs very well. Most often it is used for kote palms, but here it is used for all the edging as well. The advantage with this bogu is that it is order made to your measurements so you can be assured of a good fit. It does mean that it takes 6-10 weeks to complete your order. But it appears to have been marked down from over $1000 to around $650, which is pretty good value.

Tenouchi and swinging - basic practice drill

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This term we will be focusing on tenouchi 手の内. To review the basic theory about tenouchi and what it means, have a re-read of this . Last Saturday we did a fun drill using a kind of kusari fundo , or weighted line. Usually this is a metal weight on the end of a chain, but we just used bean-bags on the end of cotton ribbon. The exercise was to practice cutting by using the whole arm from the shoulder and not just swinging from the elbows. If you didn't do it properly, the bean bag didn't fly through the air in an arc. When done properly it was almost as easy as cutting with a shinai. Using the whole arm and shoulder meant the weight stretched out the ribbon and swung as if it were something rigid, like a shinai. The other thing it did was to make you throw your cut forward, rather than down towards the ground. Above is a short vid of this exercise being practiced at this year's Kangeiko . I was going to put a picture, but the ' kusari fundo' is completely

Term 2

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My email is currently not working so I haven't been able to send out any group emails about this term's dates. They are of course on the Training Dates pages, but as a reminder, this term starts on tomorrow, Saturday 30 April and goes until Saturday 2 July. There will also be Kangeiko on the last day of training, 2 July, starting at 9am and finishing at 5pm. NEWS : In the Australian Kendo Championships held over Easter on the Gold Coast, Victoria finally won back the open team trophy and Kate Sylvester is (once again), women's individual champion. You can see video of some of the championships here .

Wii 剣道

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Might have to get a Wii now... :D b (Thanks to Kendo World user issacvas )

新有段者 - Nanseikan's first yudansha

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Congratulations to Geoffrey who today passed his 1st dan exam, making him the first Nanseikan yudansha , or dan-grade holder! It is a great achievement for Geoffrey and the result of years of dedicated training on his part. It's also a great milestone for our club as Geoffrey started kendo with Nanseikan. Dan grades in kendo Kendo as most of you know does not have belts to signify rank. However 1st dan, or more correctly sho-dan , is roughly equivalent to 1st degree black belt in other Japanese (or Japanese-derived) martial arts. It is known as sho-dan (初段) which means "starting level" or the level at which you start the serious practice of kendo. It is not a level that gives the holder the right to be lord and master over those ranked below, as in some other martial arts. On the other hand, unlike some other martial arts there are no "junior" black belt rankings. No matter their age, each kendoka is being judged on the same criteria. The test for sho-dan

Making a tsuba

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Here's a short film about a South African metalsmith named Ford Hallam and his task of making a reproduction tsuba 鍔. It's a really amazing look at the techniques and efforts needed to make such a "simple" item. In fact during the times where samurai still existed, craftsmen often specialised in making only tsuba and nothing else. Tsuba were originally made in pairs (for the long and short sword) and this one had lost its partner, so Hallam was asked to remake the missing tsuba from photographs. It's in two parts. Enjoy! b

地震と津波 Earthquake and tsunami

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The path of the tsunami across the Pacific Ocean The destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami that hit the east coast of Japan has been unfolding over the last few days and I'm sure everyone has seen some of the terrible footage. Now, problems with damage to one of the nuclear power plants in Fukushima have added another emergency, even before the clean-up can begin. As Satoru Orihashi (former member of Melbourne Budokai now living in Japan) said via email: I am busy to recover our business and to deliver rescue goods. It looks people have no time to be sad. Fortunately all the Australian kendoka living in Japan, including Nagae sensei and his wife, are safe. However there is still a hard time ahead for those in the affected areas. Many people are still missing, or they are homeless and have lost all their possessions. Still others are safe but don't know the fate of their family and friends. The only positive thing that one can say about this is that the Japanese

For those who were at training last Saturday...

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... we were talking about gyaku do (逆胴 – "opposite or unorthodox do "), now called hidari do (左胴 – left do ). Well here is the video I mentioned. Koyama sensei (Kyoshi 7 dan) in white representing the East, versus Ishida sensei (Kyoshi 7 dan) in red representing the West, 2002 East-West Championship. Look closely at the technique and how he does it. I think there is something very interesting that he does (or rather that he doesn't do) which makes it successful. Enjoy! b

Great kendo videos for 2011

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Massed kendo goodness! Primary/Junior High School kendoka at a seminar in Hokkaido. Former All Japan champion and Japan Team Captain Eiga Naoki demonstrates men ni tai suru waza (techniques against men ) and kote ni tai suru waza (techniques against kote ) See if you can name them all in the comments section...! b

Welcome to 2011!

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This year there is plenty on as usual, not least of which our regular training starts back this Saturday. For term dates, go to the Training Dates page. There will also be a visit this weekend from Nittaidai (日体大), the National Sports Science University in Tokyo. As usual there will be a speci al training with their kendo dept members (open to all VKR members) and a special demo of traditional Japanese Mar tial Arts. See below for details. GOODWILL TRAINING A goodwill training will be held with Hakamada sensei, Yagisawa sensei and Shinzato sensei, and 23 members of the kendo faculty. Date: Sat 12 Feb Time: 5:30 for 6:00 start. (Doors open at 5:30. Training will be 2 hours) Venue: Footscray Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre (Building L), at Victoria University - Footscray Park Campus, Ballarat Road, Footscray VIC 3011 Melway 2S F4 Website: http://www.vu.edu.au/campuses/footscray-park Cost: $10 We hope to see as many Victorian kendoka at the training as possible!