After almost two weeks in Scotland for the 2018 Edinburgh Kendo Seminar I am finally back in Japan… and boy is it scorching hot here in Osaka. Upon arriving in Scotland I was told that the U.K. was in the middle of a heat wave, but compared to Japan it was weather-heaven, rain and all! I am looking forward to escaping back to Scotland next summer…
Unlike past seminars I ran in Edinburgh, this year I brought with me a professional police kendo instructor – Yano Nobuhiro sensei (kyoshi hachidan) – to lead the weekend, leaving me to translate and assist. This is the first time I’ve had to do so much on-the-spot translation, so it was a new experience for me. The biggest difficulty I faced was because as I teach, think about, and study kendo in Japanese 99.9% of the time, some of the English words just didn’t come out fast enough (and sometimes not at all!). Luckily there were some other Japanese speaking participants, so they helped out.
All in all, Yano sensei and I attended three regular Edinburgh Kendo Club (EKC) practises, as well as taught the weekend seminar itself. In between sessions we managed to do some sightseeing and tasted the odd beer/whisky.
Attendance at the seminar was manageable, at around the 40-person mark, with people travelling from Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, and from all over Scotland and England. Amongst the participants were national team representatives from Poland, Portugal, and the U.K.
Yano sensei was impressed at everyone’s hard work and dedication, and we got positive feedback from many of the people that attended. As it stands at the moment, we plan to hold another seminar during the same period next year. Things are not set in stone at the moment, but when things are settled I will let everyone know.
Many thanks to the members of EKC for inviting us, organising the event, and for their kindness. Special thanks go out to Dez, Xavier, and Lynne, as well as to Andy for setting up a stall and providing shinai at short notice.
Below is super-brief rundown of the kendo content of our sessions, and some pics – enjoy!
Edinburgh Kendo Club
Yano sensei and I visited my home dojo Edinburgh Kendo Club for three sessions during our stay, twice before the seminar and once after. For both sessions prior to the seminar we were joined by my old kendo friend Jakob from Canada!
For these regular sessions I took the lead role and Yano sensei added extra group or individual instruction where needed.
Seminar day one
The morning of the first day of the seminar started with warm-up/suburi led by EKC leader Dez before going into an extended ashisabaki session. Yano sensei revised some basic points required for kendo acquisition, with emphasis on ki-ken-tai and fumikomi. After a short break we moved on to more suburi, which finished the morning session.
After lunch we put our men on and went through some kirikaeshi exercises and basic cutting, with the same emphasis as above.
An extended jigeiko session followed by some uchikomi-geiko and kirikaeshi brought the first day of the seminar to a close.
In the evening a bunch of us got together for a meal, some beers, and some kendo chat.
Seminar day two
The morning session started with warm-up and suburi before moving on to a review of the ashisabaki drills we did the day before. For the rest of the morning we focused on kata practise.
After lunch we put our men on and did more kihon practise, including some renzoku waza for good measure. After a short break we did another extended jigeiko session and brought the seminar to a close.
After keiko a few of us decamped to a nearby bar for some beers.
If you have never visited Edinburgh, I urge you to do so as soon as you can. If you want to combine your visit with kendo get in touch with Edinburgh Kendo Club, or wait until July 2019 when we will hold the next seminar.