Teaching environments: summer gasshuku in Japan vs seminar in Europe 夏合宿・海外剣道セミナー

The summer holidays are over here in Japan, and it’s back to school for yours truly after a very busy few weeks of kendo. I am always running around doing kendo during this period, and so am quite used to it, but this year was slightly different in that I combined two events in to a single week… which normally wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that the dojo were about 5,700 miles apart as the crow flies.

I’ll give a brief explanation about the two teaching environments I was in, and do a simple teaching-observation at the end to wrap-up.

I only came back to Osaka two days ago and I am still suffering from jet-lag as I type this now, so please excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes!

Continue reading Teaching environments: summer gasshuku in Japan vs seminar in Europe 夏合宿・海外剣道セミナー

Eikenkai (May 2017) 英剣会

After the flurry of kendo activity that was the Kyoto Taikai, it was nice to have a relaxed keiko with a bunch of friends. Whereas the last session was jam-packed, today’s was a more reasonably sized group of 15 people. Still, we had six countries represented (Scotland, England, Italy, France, America, and Japan), and people from grades nidan to nanadan.

Continue reading Eikenkai (May 2017) 英剣会

Eikenkai (Feb. 2017) 英剣会

Yesterday was the first kenshi 24/7 run Eikenkai session of the new year, and it was a packed one! 34 kenshi from six prefectures (Okayama, Hyogo, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Mie… plus Rhett from America) squeezed into the kendojo at Sumiyoshi Budokan, which is located in the precincts of the beautiful Sumiyoshi shrine.

Although there was a cold breeze outside, the dojo was boiling. We did about 40 minutes of kihon (including uchikomi and kakarigeiko), 20 minutes of waza practise, and about 45 minutes of jigeiko before heading to the nearby local restaurant for okonomiyaki and a couple of refreshing beers.

With work and other dojo commitments increasing exponentially over the last year I’ve decided to reduce the number of sessions we will hold this year, probably only hosting three or maybe four rather than our usual six. Anyway, the next session will be in mid-May, so if you are in the Kansai area at the time please feel free to get in touch. Cheers!

Eikenkai June 2016 英剣会

It’s been raining relentlessly over the last while here in Osaka, and there is more forecast this coming week, but today – and only for today – the weather was absolutely beautiful!!! Obviously the kendo gods smile on Eikenkai!!

Today’s session was held at my (George’s) work dojo and as such was deliberately a bit smaller than usual. Still, the makeup of the kenshi was between 2nd and 7dan representing five countries and a variety of professions. Before and after our usual 40-30-40 session (kihon/waza/jigeiko) some people practised kendo-no-kata as well as some koryu (the benefit of using my own dojo is we have no time limit).

Before keiko there was some discussion about the result of the historic U.K. referendum and what it means in general. Since the “EI” of “Eikenkai” represents the fact that I am British, and the real possibility of Scotland becoming independent of the union, we had a lively chat as to what we should name our keikokai in the future! Watch this space….

Our next session will be held at the beautiful budojo at Ishikiri-jinja on September the 11th. If you are interested, please get in touch. Cheers!

Eikenkai April 2016 英剣会

Today’s Eikenkai session was held in what is almost certainly the oldest kendo related dojo by tradition in the Kansai area: Shubukan (older buildings include both the Nara and Kyoto Butokuden). The dojo started birth in 1786 as a place for studying kenjutsu and has been through a couple of name changes and rebuilds over the years since, the last being in 1962. Throughout this time it has always been owned by the same family/company. It was known for being once of the top three “civilian dojo” since the 1860s, the other two being Noma dojo and Tobukan. The dojo is nice and wide, beautiful inside, and has an amazingly soft and springy floor. I love the place!

About 35 people turned up for today’s keiko, mostly from around about the Kansai area, but also a couple of guests that came all the way from Kanto. After the usual 40 minutes of kihon and 30 minutes of waza practise, we did tachi-ai keiko for people sitting their 6th, 7th, and 8th dans in Kyoto at the end of the month, before moving on to about 45 minutes of jigeiko. I think everyone had a great time !!!

For more information about the kenshi 24/7 led Eikenkai sessions, please go here.


Shubukan today

Kendo, iaido, and naginata are still taught at Shubukan during weekdays to a very high level. Since changing it’s status to a not-for-profit foundation last year it has become available for hire to the public at large, which is why we decided to use it for today’s session.

For more information please check out their website (in Japanese) here: http://syubukan.info/