A bit late I suppose, but happy new year! Kendo-wise things have started in earnest over here, and every day I find myself doing something kendo related, whether it be keiko itself, event related stuff, dealing with/organising visitors, renshujiai and/or godogeiko requests… and so on and so on. I promised myself a few years ago that it was time to calm down with kendo stuff, but the opposite somehow seems to be happening. Hmmm. In amongst all this I have, of course, kenshi 24/7 to continue plugging away at.
Last year I managed 20 posts, which was a decent amount I guess. Considering I have written about pretty much every facet of kendo over the past 15 years, I am quite happy. However, I am a bit unsure what themes I will tackle this year – if you have any requests, please let me know.
The only thing of note I have to mention here today is that we have confirmed the dates for this year’s Edinburgh Kendo Club Summer Seminar. There are still many things that need to be ironed out, but Yano sensei and I will be back in Edinburgh this July. The dates are:
July 19th (Fri) - pre-seminar keiko
July 20th (Sat) - seminar day one
July 21st (Sun) - seminar day two
July 22nd (Mon) - post-seminar keiko
The venue is the very large and very modern Meadowbank Sports Centre. If you are interested go ahead and book your flights/accomodation! Full details including registration, cost, and what have you will be announced shortly. Yano sensei and I will stay on a little longer in Edinburgh after that and keiko with the local club, so if you happen to extend your stay please join us.
Anyway, that’s it really. I will end the post with some pics and info about the two kendo events I attended during the first week of the year.
Start-of-year keiko (3rd Jan)
A number of years ago, pre-pandemic, I had the idea of hosting a start-of-the-year keiko for my friends and students (current and past). The event quickly escalated and participant numbers increased exponentially every year. The pandemic suffocated it for a couple of years, and when I restarted it last year it was a quiet affair. This year, however, despite not inviting that many people, about 50 turned up at my workplace for keiko anyway. We did just over two hours of kendo before a group of us headed out to enjoy a few light refreshments.
I am planning to host this event on the same date next year, so if you happen to be in Osaka around about new years, please get in touch.
Osaka kendo association’s kangeiko (6th Jan)
Pretty much every year I have been in Osaka I have joined the local kendo associations kangeiko training session. It usually lasts two or three days, with about 1,200-1,500 participants each day, including sometimes upwards of 50 hachidan (during the height of the pandemic it was cancelled of course).
Shudokan, the dojo built on the grounds of Osaka Castle, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year (one year younger than the now-closed Shingikan, which it was sort of designed after), so the kangeiko was moved from the usual large venue to Shudokan itself. Initially I thought of this as a bad move as you’d never be able to fit 1,000+ people in the building. However, it ended up being better (for me): instead of doing lots of keiko (=motodachi) with kids, a bunch of experienced adults in the corner made groups and practiced together (kihon and jigeiko).
During the last 30 mins the hachidan put their bogu on and everyone lined up to face them. I was first in line with a recently minted hachidan, one with whom I used to keiko a lot with years ago. He’s just a bit older than me and he won the individual men’s title of the only WKC I took part in (his shiai success in Japan is too much to write about). Our jigeiko together was not only long, it was fun. Later, after queuing for 25 mins, I faced another hachidan, an ex-university kendo teacher. Not only does he have excellent kendo, he is great instructor and a gentleman to boot. I didn’t mind the long way for a chance to do kendo with him.
A couple of pics and a small video clip is available to view on instagram.
That’s it for today. Cheers, and good luck in 2024!