Showing posts from March, 2011

新有段者 - Nanseikan's first yudansha

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 is no

Making a tsuba

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 Tsuba were originally made in pairs (for the long and short sword) and this one had lost its partner, so Hallam was asked to remake the missing tsuba from photographs.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

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 peopl

For those who were at training last Saturday...

... 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