It has been a month of remarkable kendo! First there was the big party, then last week was a tiny group of people and yesterday Furuya-sensei paid us a visit. Stopping over for a single day on his way to the Furuya Cup in Peru, he made sure to come observe the dojo he helped raise in the Netherlands. We were also joined by Mark Herbold-sensei, who recently achieved 7-dan.
With roughly thirtyfive kendoka attending the training session we used the motodachi system, with anyone 3-dan and higher acting as motodachi. We worked on solidifying our basics: kirikaeshi, men, kote-men and kote-do. We closed with half an hour of jigeiko.
The following points were stressed during class:
- Ki-ken-tai-ichi is everything. Do proper fumikomi and time it right.
- Kote-do is nothing more than kote-men, which gets changed at the last moment.
- We do big techniques before small techniques in class, in order to first get the feeling right so we can then speed it up tremendously.
- When striking do, make sure to do it right! Use the right angle, strike with the kensen and strike the correct spot! Horizontal strikes don’t count. Strikes with the wrong part of the shinai don’t count. Strikes to the front/belly don’t count.
Because our founder’s sensei was present, a lot of attention was paid to mistakes in etiquette. For example:
- In seiretsu, always make sure that you are in the correct spot in the line. First sort according to rank, then to age. Adults are never to the left of children.
- If you have an emergency and need to stop, indicate this to a teacher. Do not simply leave the keikojo. Not only is this disrespectful but it is also potentially dangerous (for example, if you faint in the dressing room nobody will know!).
- If you have a physical discomfort, do not simply stop training. Tell your teacher and keep on training until they indicate that it is alright for you to stop. Trust your teachers! They know how far they can push you without putting you into any danger.
Furuya-sensei indicated that he was happy to be back in the Netherlands and to train with us. He hopes that we will continue training hard, working on improving our kendo. He also hopes that next year we can organize another Furuya Cup in the Netherlands, as it is an important tourney in Europe.