Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Weekend Kendo Marathon (2)

While downloading some programs for my new laptop, let's continue with what happened last weekend...


Sunday at Mumeishi. We all went there for a bash with the visiting high school kendoka. By reputation, Kyushu Gakuin is a very strong team.

I arrived just in time (10am). I entered the venue with sleepy eyes, and saw some Japanese visitors coming down the stairs. One of the teachers exclaimed, "OOhh--! Girl!!"...

To my disappointment-- no girls came!! --Well I mean no girls from their side, although we still have 5 local presence, which is quite a good turn-out. There was only a 5-men team, plus 2 sensei vs the 30+ of us.

We started off with Team shiai. There's the club team "Mumeishi", consist of English kendoka; and there's a "BKA" team, with Wright, Yamazaki, Fitzgerald, Matsuoka & Gibson - what a strange mixture... The rest of us were just watching, which is not a bad thing.

There is a cameraman around - one-man TV crew. I guess that's way we have a pro interpreter, and they did a very formal introduction to all the students. One of the Sensei is with Niten Ichi Ryu, while the other one is from the Kumamoto Prefectural Kendo Committee. The kids (16-18 yr old) were all around 2-3 Dan in Kendo. Some of them had Iaido 2Dan, Jodo 1Dan, and is a deshi of Niten Ichi Ryu -- impressive.

Before the shiai they actually did their Niten Ichi Ryu Embu!!! I was expecting the sensei to do that... but actually it was the pair between the 2 older kids. I don't understand the 5 kata they did (watched it on tape at home, and it's just too obcured...argh), but it was done by high school students. I always wonder who in Japan does Iaido that young, and also that maybe people who practice Iaido (and a lot of other stuff) do not do too well in Shiai kendo. But they proved me wrong. At least now I am quite satisfied doing both Kendo and Iaido, even though my training schedule isn't as tight as their.

The BKA vs KyuGaku fight is much more interesting. The Kyugaku boys all looks tough and "big", have extra-solid fumikomi, and did very interesting waza - I like their Maki-otoshi and Hiki (feint Do) - Men, besides they are young and fast.

Then there is jikeiko session for 1.5 hr. Along with the local sensei, the 5 boys + Yoneda-sensei ended up in the motodachi side, with everybody else queuing for them (at least 4 people in one queue!!). I managed #3+4 of the boys, and 2 local sensei whom I haven't practiced with for a looong while since I moved to Brighton.

My attempt to get a keiko with Araki-sensei (who does Niten Ichi Ryu but uses Jodan in Kendo) failed, as he was responsible to fight the senior sensei / hosts. Both of the sensei's kendo are very interesting to watch... especially Yoneda-sensei (with 10+ people in his queue!!) who did amazing maki-otoshi waza -- like, I have heard shinai dropping on the floor 10 times, including once while I was fighting another sensei... and a shinai fly across the dojo...

The boys I fought has solid waza and precise cuts. I am not going to comment on their kendo... Both fought me after fighting 3 people in front of me. I came in fresh so it's understandable that they aren't at their best shape (and I always remember to take a man when he is down!!). They are fast, but I also see their openings - and sometimes I do managed to cut a few. Like when they miss my kote I can really go for kote-men. And I did one kote-gyka-dou that pops quite loud, which I am very pleased (so did he).

I'd be loading some photos up the BudoJournal site later. Not very good shots but it tells what happened.

...and who doesn't like High School Kendo?

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