By Michael Ishimatsu-Prime
The 4th Kendo World Tokyo Keiko-kai was held on Saturday August 8, 2015, at Meiji University’s Nakano Campus in Tokyo. This year there were 42 participants from 16 different countries in attendance. We were also fortunate to have been joined by three 8-dan and two 7-dan sensei. For the first time at the KW Keiko-kai we were joined by four jukendo/tankendo sensei.
The day began with mawari-geiko between the participants before Hirakawa-sensei gave a lecture. Hirakawa-sensei spoke about the importance of correct hasuji (cutting angle) and the eight different directions of cut in the Ono-ha Itto-ryu. He also said that seme should begin from sonkyo when drawing the sword, i.e. the shinai should be drawn with the tsuka-gashira being thrust towards the opponent’s face.
After Hirakawa-sensei’s lecture, participants were introduced to jukendo and tankendo. For many of them it was the first time to see these arts. H8-dan Sato-sensei, formerly of the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force, showed the basic thrusts and target areas in jukendo. Then Nakajima-sensei and Urabe-sensei demonstrated kakari-geiko jukendo style.
Next, Sato-sensei showed some basic techniques of tankendo, and demonstrated jukendo against tankendo.
The all the sensei and participants put on their men and did about 45 minutes of keiko. There was kendo vs. kendo (itto and nito), kendo vs. naginata, kendo vs. jukendo, kendo vs. tankendo, naginata vs. jukendo, and jukendo vs. tankendo.
Once keiko had finished, we retired to the university’s Crossfield Lounge for a party. Before proceedings got under underway, we had a moment of silence for H8-dan Inoue Yoshihiko-sensei and K8-dan Mochizuki Teruo-sensei, both of whom recently passed away. Inoue-sensei had participated in the first three keiko-kai and Mochizuki-sensei in the first two. They had also been supporters of Kendo World for many years, Inoue-sensei since its inception.
After a couple of speeches the party got under way. The university catering team did a fantastic job and made the best food that the keiko-kai has had to date.
During the party we held a raffle and every single participant managed to get at least one prize. The first person that registered for the keiko-kai received an exclusive pair of Kendo World kote. One lucky person also received a copy of Alex Bennett’s new kendo book which has only just gone on sale. The boys at Shogun Kendogu donated three great shinai for the raffle which are the same type as used by Teramoto Shoji and Kiwada Daisuke. Also, Shigematsu-sensei of Chiba police who usually takes part in this keiko-kai but was unable to attend this year, donated some gi and hakama, a shinai and some shinai bags. Kendo World gave away many books and magazines.
Finally, a presentation of a beer mug was made to Kendo World’s designer, Kan, who passed 7-dan in Kyoto earlier this year.
After festivities at the university finished we headed to the Footnik English pub and its beer garden where giant two litre mugs of beer were the norm. I think that I was at home tucked up in bed by the time drinking here finished…
It was a great morning/afternoon/evening and we are looking forward to the next event next year. We hope to see you there!