Thursday, June 09, 2005


So, 4 sensei and 4 of us went to that faraway secondary school for the demonstration, doing a favour for the Japanese Embassy - taxi was within their travel budget but it took 2 hours getting to that area from the central of HK, a residential area about 15 years old, and I've been there less then 3 times in my life...

On the taxi I got myself an extra job for the first section of the demo - I need to narrate for Kwan who is going to perform 5 iaido seitei kata...! From Kwan I got to know that, besides Kishikawa sensei, there is another Toyama Ryu Iaido group on a Saturday afternoon... It clashes with K-sensei's but K's dojo is closer to where I live... I plan to check him out this Sunday anyway...

Upon arrival there were people (not sure if they are school staff or the embassy, but they speak japanese...) greeting us at the school gate. It is ... just a v small school (well, comparing to MINE 5+ years ago!) Recalling that school hall in Brighton where my Iaido dojo is - it's about the same... What puzzled us was, why is this particular school organizing a NIHON BUKASAI (Japanese Culture Festival - as it said on the banner) in their own school hall?

Apart from the banner there were strings of Matsuri lanterns hanging all across the school hall. Some students even dress up in Hanten (those baby-blue tops with a big kanji of Matsuri printed on the back). At the back of the hall there are relaly well made models of some castles and temples, and the walls were decorated with posters of some Japanese cities scenery. On stage we saw another group in "costumes" - Chado... A few voluntees got to try their yukata etc. and learn to rotate their teacups around.

Even though the Chado demo on stage was also projected on a big screen from the side - the 250+ students were kinda half asleep (oh little lucky bast*rds, why don't I have Bunkasai when I was a schoolkid?!)

I haven't done a demo to a non-kendo audience before (therefore IKET does not count). I wonder if any student will pick up kendo afterwards - but when I reconsider the location... Nah--!

IMHO explaining iaido would be rather boring for 12-14-year-olds. Kwan had 3 years training so his technique was "average" (uhmm I am NOT saying I should do the demo instead!!!) I just said things about reigi and described bit of each kata. My Cantonese public speaking skill is truly awful (bad vocabs and just plain boring..), especially I never had a conversation about Iaido waza before!! ...and it also shows how much I don't know what I was doing in Iai...!

Argh. So the mic was handed to Eda-sensei next and she explained the kendo kata stuff for Lai-sensei and Tanaka-sensei.

Demo is simple as you can expect. Kihon. Uchikomi. The stage floor is super hard and slippery... Then the sensei got keiko demo.

After that, 7 students down the stage got some fast-track kendo class... We let them hit men, kote and do. Everyone got quite exciting... Lai-sensei is a great entertainer/ instructor. The rest of the audience probably had a good time laughing at their mates missing do-cuts (on me!)...

The most enthusiatic dude around was a tall-ish student at the backstage, who borrowed one of the bokuto and swinged it around like Jedi Master... He asked if we can do "30 renhatsu" (30 consecutive - which is a game/anime term I guess, but the way he said it sounds like budo lingo). Leo responded, "We need 100 renhatsu at squad training!!"

Demonstration was done in an hour. Some teachers definately took some camera shots while we put on our men. I'd show some if I get a hand on them...

When we arrived at QEII stadium we were 2 hours early for tonight's keiko. Zzz... Eda-sensei fed the Tanaka's and me with takeaway while we finally had some social chat. I complained about work etc. and T-sensei spent extensive time picking on my men-uchi (!!)...

In the end tonight's round 2 of kendo is quite enjoyable. I still suck sometimes but overall I can see my elbows are not too "out" when I lift up my shinai.

The final reward of the day was a cup of Vanilla Haagan-Dazs at the stadium tuck shop from Eda-sensei. What a delight after a full afternoon of kendo!


Vivian Yung said...

Great to hear that you are enjoying your kendo so much again! My goodness, that's a lot of kendo in one day.

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