The kendo community is extremely small. I can’t even compute the number of times I’ve been chatting to someone (real life or online) when a connection has been made to a mutual friend. I’ve lived in three countries (U.K., America, and Japan) and have done keiko in 15+ more, so I’ve had plenty opportunity to meet various people. Through this website, Eikenkai, and via people visiting me for keiko in Osaka I’ve met even more.
One night a couple of weeks ago I was reading an article about how the net has changed our sense of community, and how more collaborative we have become, when I remembered trying to calculate my Bacon Number at some point (not being an actor this was the best I could manage: I saw Robert di Nero in Central park one day, and he worked with Kevin Bacon in Sleepers!). This got me to thinking: surely we could do something like this for the kendo community.
I immediately thought of about 2 or 3 people that could be used but decided instead to use someone a little bit more interesting: 6 time All Japan kendo championship winner Miyazaki Masahiro.
The rules are simple. Miyazaki sensei has a Miyazaki number of 0. If you have ever crossed shinai with Miyazaki sensei then you have a Miyazaki number of 1. If you then cross shinai with someone who has has a Miyazaki number of 1, your number is 2 and so on. So If you have never done kendo with him, but a friend of a friend has, your number is 3, etc etc.
btw, I have a Miyazaki number of 2. I actually met him in the mens toilets at the sayonara part of the 12th World Kendo Championships back in 2003. We exchanged business cards and had a mini chat. The next day I queued up to do uchikomi keiko with him but – due to folly of youth – I got impatient and moved to a sensei with a shorter line and keiko-ed there. Oops!!!! So what’s your number?