When my alarm went off at 6am this morning (Sunday) I dragged my body out of bed, had a large cup of coffee, grabbed my stuff, then headed over to Kyoto to take part in this years Kyoto University high school invitational competition. By “take part” I of course mean “take my students over to compete.”
When the Tokugawa-Bakufu was dismantled in 1867/68 budo education was thrown into turmoil: gone were the domain schools as well as the short-lived Kobusho, and with that budo instructors suddenly lost their profession. Many (now ex-) samurai were suddenly jobless and facing destitution. One person that stepped up to help these people was the ex-samurai, Kobusho kenjutsu instructor, and Jikishinkage-ryu kenshi Sakakibara Kenkichi. He instituted what was called “Gekken-kogyo” – the highly popular public budo shows. “Gekken” refers to the nascent form of what we now call kendo. Although mainly sword-based shows, bouts with other weapons also occurred, and women and even foreigners are also recorded to have taken part.
Gekken Kogyo, July 2013
As I mentioned in my last post, I spent some time in the beautiful Scottish capital city of Edinburgh earlier this summer teaching a two-day kendo seminar (plus one regular keiko session). It was the fourth time I have been invited by my home dojo, Edinburgh Kendo Club, to teach there.
I’m glad to announce that a project that I worked on with the Japanese kendo magazine “Kendo Jidai” has finally made it to daylight. This is their first ever product aimed specifically at the non-Japanese market, and if everything goes well (i.e. good sales) then hopefully they will go on to produce more English language products (DVDs and hopefully books) in the future.
Whew, another Kyoto Taikai done!
Again this year, I’ve tried to add some bonus historical information/insights to my usual Kyoto Taikai rundown, so I hope you enjoy this part as well as the photography.