Takizawa sensei visit report

It was a great turnout for Takizawa sensei's visit. There were kenshi of all ages and abilities: even three of my high school students (two current and one former). Kyohei from Benalla also brought three of his students. It was great to see his wife Tomoko return to training after injuring her hand. Many parents and even some passers-by stayed to watch. The little Dojo certainly felt full of people and there was a great energy.

Before we got started, Steph handed out 10th anniversary badges to all NSK members.

My own two angels were there. Jetta only lasted through the warm-up but Sholto did the whole beginners' section of training.

The class started with basic running and footwork drills...

...including our patented kikentaiitchi stomp-clap drill! Note Shinoda sensei's immaculately straight posture!

We did a great deal of shinai geiko in the first half. Takizawa sensei remarked how much like his own Dojo's training this was. 

He later gave us some feedback and tips on further drills, such as the one pictured above: bringing all the motodachi very close together so that the cuts are faster. He also suggested that in a line of multiple motodachi, the last one should not just stand still but move towards the attacker so that the attacker has to judge the closing distance more dynamically.

He noted two points for us to keep an eye on:

  1. Make sure that when coming to face your opponent, you perform sonkyo at to-ma or far distance, in other words, don't cross swords but leave a small space between your sword tip and your opponent. The reason for this is very important he said, and it is because the closing of that gap is  the main part of the battle in Kendo. You should both start by aiming at opponent's centre. If people start with swords crossed then often this creates fear of being struck and this leads to rash and ineffective attacks.
  2. When putting the sword away, we should be careful to understand and use the taito position. This position imitates the sword in its scabbard or saya. We should hold this position as we move the five steps backwards, and only after that lower the sword by our sides.
We will take a closer look at both these points at net week's training.

Many thanks to Shinoda sensei for bringing Takizawa sensei to Melbourne and giving us this wonderful opportunity. I hope some Nanseikan members will in future be able to visit the Shiseikan Takizawa Dojo in Atsugi City, Kanagawa Prefecture.

For more pictures of Saturday's training at Nanseikan and also the afternoon session at Kenshikan, see Shinoda sensei's blog:


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