Eikenkai February 2016 英剣会

Forty-three kenshi got together in Sumiyoshi Budokan, next to Sumiyoshi Taisha in central Osaka, for yesterday’s jam-packed kenshi 24/7 led Eikenkai session. People travelled to Osaka for the practise session from as far as Iwate, Shizuoka, Okayama, and Mie prefectures, but the title to furthest away goes to Canada. Of course, most participants came from the Kansai area prefectures: Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo.

Nationalities that were represented were Scotland, Denmark, Estonia, America (CA, NJ, WA) , England, France, Canada, Italy, and Japan, with grades ranging up to nanadan. Not bad!

We also had a couple of representatives of the All Japan Deaf Kendo Federation taking part. This is a group that is attempting to create a country-wide network of kendoka who have hearing difficulties, with the aim of providing aid and support for their pursuit of kendo.

Due to the dojo not being wide enough to deal with so many people, we did a abbreviated kihon session in groups of four for about 80 minutes, followed by a leisurely 60 minutes or so of free practise.

After keiko about half of the participants went to the local okonomiyaki restaurant for food, beer, and chat. I think everyone enjoyed themselves!!


Eikenkai’s 2016 schedule is available here. If you do wish to join one of our keiko’s please ensure that you read the “Points to note before joining a session” before getting in touch. Cheers!

Eikenkai November 2015 英剣会

Yesterday (Nov. 29th) was our 6th and last Eikenkai session of the year.

Twenty-two people rolled up at Sumiyoshi Budokan for a spirited 3 hour kihon-based keiko session. Participating kenshi came from Europe, north and south America, as well as Japan (of-course). After keiko we popped into our usual restaurant to have some of Osaka speciality food (okonomiyaki) and the odd beer or two.

The schedule for next year can be found on the Eikenkai information page. If you are around on one of the days and fancy joining please read the “Points to note before joining a session” before getting in touch. Cheers!

Eikenkai September 2015 英剣会

Eikenkai is a kenshi 24/7 led kihon-heavy keiko session that takes place usually every couple of months in central Osaka.

Only two weeks after our last keiko, yesterday (Sunday the 13th of September) 24 kenshi got together at Sumiyoshi Budokan for our trademark session.

Thankfully the Japanese hot and sultry summer weather is starting to disappear, so lasting the entire practise is becoming (slightly!) easier. Still, we managed to work up a sweat the usual way: 40 minutes of kihon, 30 minutes of waza, and about an hour of jigeiko.

Our next session will 29th of September. If you are around the area at that time (and you’ve read and understood the “Points to note before joining a session”) then feel free to come along!

Eikenkai @ Nara Butokuden 第一回英剣会武徳際 in 奈良武徳殿 (英剣会の特別版)

Eikenkai is the kenshi 24/7 led kihon-heavy keiko session that (usually) takes place usually every couple of months in central Osaka.

To mark the publication of the English edition of Ogawa Kinnosuke sensei’s Teikoku Kendo Kyohon (Kendo Textbook of Imperial Japan) we decided to hold a special Eikenkai session. Rather than use our normal dojo and do our normal format, we did something different: keiko took place in the historical Nara Butokuden and we did a Kyoto taikai styled tachiai-embu.

Jigeiko


Nara Butokuden

The original Butokuden in Kyoto was completed in 1899 and served as the HQ dojo for the Butokukai until after WWII. The Butokuden is still in active use nowadays, mostly known in kendo circles as the venue for the Kyoto Taikai. As the Butokukai grew and kendo gained in popularity, branch Butokuden were built throughout Japan, and even in Taiwan, Korea, and China. There was even another Butokuden built in Kyoto in 1914. After the original Butokuden, the next to be built was the Nara branch Butokuden in 1903.

Built in 1903, the Nara Butokuden served as the Butokukai HQ dojo for Nara prefecture up until the end of the war. Luckily the dojo survived the war completely unharmed (many, like the Osaka Butokuden, were bombed or destroyed during the war, whilst others aged badly or were simply in the way of modern development and torn down).

In 1961 the Nara Butokuden was dismantled from it’s original location in the centre of Nara city and moved to it’s current location in Kashihara city, just south of Osaka in Nara. There the dojo remains pretty much as it was when it was built in 1903 and is used by a local kendo kendo club. It’s also available to hire, which we did for this session.


Tachiai embu

Rather than our normal 40 mins kihon, 30 mins waza, and 40 mins jigeiko session, we decided to cut down the kihon time, extend the jigeiko time and, in the middle, add in some tachiai-embu.

33 people attend the session, 20 of which paired up for a 2 minute tachiai. In case you don’t know, the tachiai style is one in which there are no winners or losers – no ippon are scored – rather you are paired with an opponent of around about the same experience, age, and gender, and show your best kendo.

Right after the tachiai were finished we did about an hour or so of jigeiko:



Bonus #1: Shimatani Yasohachi

Three years after the Nara Butokuden was built, Shimatani Yosohachi was dispatched from the Butokukai’s HQ to serve as the dojo’s top instructor.

Shimatani sensei was born in 1870 to a Satsuma-han samurai and began his study of kenjutsu at an early age (Jigen-ryu and Itto-ryu). Moving from Kyushu in his early 20s he became a member of the police force in Nara, eventually becoming a kenjutsu instructor there. Due to this role he was sent to the Butokukai’s new school for kendo instructors in 1905 (the Bujutsu Kyoin Yoseijo, forerunner of Busen) which he graduated from only a year later. After graduation he became the head kendo teacher for the Nara Butokuden.

Other students of the Yoseijo around about that time (pictured below) were Nakano Sosuke, Ogawa Kinnosuke, Mochida Seiji, and Saimura Goro amongst others, all of whom were later to be awarded 10th dan.

For a little bit more about Shimatani sensei please check out this previous article.


Bonus #2: Kashihara Jingu

The dojo is right across the street from Kashihara jingu, a Shinto shrine built in 1889 at the spot where Japan’s first emperor, Jimmu, is said to have acceded the throne. Despite the rain a few of us wandered over after keiko for a spot of sightseeing.


Eikenkai Banzai!

Our next keiko session will be held on the 13th of September at our regular location of Sumiyoshi Budokan. If you are interested in coming along (after reading and understanding the “Points to note before joining a session”) get in touch. Cheers!

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Eikenkai June 2015 英剣会

Eikenkai is a kenshi 24/7 led kihon-heavy keiko session that takes place usually every couple of months in central Osaka.

Yesterday’s session (Sunday the 28th of June) was held at our usual venue Sumiyoshi Budokan, which is right next to the beautiful Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine. It seemed like a nice cool day until I got to the dojo itself and realised it was boiling! A few regular members were not in attendance due to the All Japan University Championships taking place over the weekend in Osaka, but that didn’t stop around 20 people getting together for Eikenkai’s trademark tough kihon session.

After stretching and doing suburi we did around about 40 minutes of kihongeiko, including a few rounds of kirikaeshi and uchikomi. After a short break for some water, we did 25 minutes of waza practise (focusing mainly on oji-waza) before going straight into an hour of jigeiko. Pretty much everyone was dead by the end of it!

To finish up a small handful of us popped out to the local okonomiyaki restaurant for food, a few beers, and lots of kendo chat.

Our next regular keiko will be held on the 13th of September at Sumiyoshi Budokan. We will, however, be holding a special session at a different venue far to the south of Osaka on August the 30th. If you are interested in coming along to either session please (after reading and understanding the “Points to note before joining a session”) get in touch. The regular session will be advertised on facebook as normal, but the special one won’t.

The awesome black and white pics below are courtesy of Aussie ex-pat Andy over in Nagoya. Check his work out online at Kendo Monochrome.