Thursday, December 2, 2010

CUS Modena: Kangeiko 2010

Thursday December the 2nd:
tomorrow I will go to Modena for the Kangeiko 2010. We will have two days of Kendo with
  • Shigeaki Inoue Hanshi 8th Dan
  • Kazuo Furukawa Kyoshi 8th Dan (video1; video2)
  • Hiroshi Kanzaki Kyoshi 8th Dan (video)
  • Shuichi Kamikokuryo Kyoshi 7th Dan
Inoue, Furukawa and Kamikokuryo were the coaches of the Japan National team at the Word Championship 2009 (S. Paolo, Brasil).
We are going to have two session of Kendo on Friday and Saturday, one at late morning (11:15-13:15) and another in the afternoon (16.15-18:15). I am very happy to participate to this Kangeiko and I hope to learn a lot from such high level Senseis. Furthermore, on Sunday morning I will try to pass the san dan exam.
I will write some comments for each of the days of the Kangeiko and I hope to make some good picture and video giving a brief idea of the overall training.

Friday December the 3rd:
I left Torino at 6.30 a.m. together with Paola, a Kendo 3 dan instructor of Shisei Dojo. I was a bit worry because I was feeling sick: sore throat, which is not ideal to make kiai :-(
Fortunately, we had a soft trip to Modena, without traffic jam and fog. We arrived at the CUS University gymn at 10:30 and, after registration, we got ready for the first session of the training: 11:15-13.15.
Before starting we were divided in three groups: kyusha-nidan, nidan (doing the 3dan exam)-yondan, yondan (doing the 5dan exam)-rokkudan.
Our group worked for one and half hour on Kendo no kata under the supervision of Kanzaki sensei. We got quite a lot of information on the meaning of Kendo no kata and how to perform them correctly. We deeply analysed kata from 1 to 5. After we did a quite intensive warm up with a lot of subury and, due to the limited amount of time, we could not do more than that.
We then went out for lunch, since the afternoon session started at 16.15. We decided to have a quite light lunch and we stop in a bar near our hotel for a quick snack. The group was made of me, Paola (3rd dan), Sergio (2nd dan), Cinzia (2nd dan), Laura (3rd dan) and Claudio (5th dan). Claudio is one of the sempai of the Shubukan dojo in Torino and run together with Laura a Kendo/Iaido course in Voghera. After a brief nap at the hotel we got back to the gymn and we started the afternoon training. The first 45 minutes were dedicated to basic kion but with a lot of focus on the right way to make the cut. This part of the training was run by Furukawa sensei. He has a tremendous power and speed. He highlighted the importance of kiai, posture and correct cut. Specifically on the cut he showed us that the shinai has not to hit the metal part of the men but above it to produce a nice and round sound. Also for this part we were divided in three groups as in the morning. Subsequently we did 40 minutes of mawarigeiko with senseis as part of two groups: kyusha-san dan/yondan-nana dan. That was very exhausting, we were doing 2 minutes jigeiko with each new partner, I was very lucky since I managed to practice with Inoue and Kanzaki senseis. After, it was possible to make jigeiko with senseis, but I was very tired and I decided to do mitorigeiko. In the next video some of the Sensei's keiko.

After a refreshing and relaxing shower we did what you are normally expecting from an Italian: we went out for good food and wine. My wife managed to find for our group a nice "Osteria" few Kms outside Modena. In the next video you can have a brief view of the friends that joined me for dinner.

From the beginning to the end of the video: Sergio, Cinzia, Laura, Paola, Lorenzo (and other 2nd dan from Shubukan) and Claudio the sempai.
Knowledgeable were the "tortelli di zucca" and the "filetto all'aceto balsamico di Modena" off course we had a couple of bottles of sparkly "Lambrusco", a local red wine that very well cross-talk with the local dishes.
After we got back to the hotel, and it took me less than a second to fall asleep.

Saturday December the 4th:
Wake up at 8:00, it was quite unpleasant to enter in the bath were mine and Sergio's bogu and keikogi were placed to dried up.
After a quite good buffet breakfast, we got back to the gymn. In the morning we worked on the katas 5 to 7 for 45 minutes and the rest of the time was dedicated to kihon no kata not done with the bokuto but with shinai and bogu. From a certain point of view it was very similar to the training we had at Shubukan an year ago during the seminar of Sumi sensei:

Morning was not very hard and at the end of the two hours of training we got back to hotel for a quick snack and nap :-)
The afternoon was more challenging. We started immediately with few runs of kirikaeshi and some oji waza, After we focus on the use of tzuki to get the right posture to execute men and we also worked on the combination of tzuki and men. This was quite challenging and sometime painful. We also did some rounds of kote men. Furukawa sensei was supervising the training and it was incredible his precision and power in each of the technique he was demonstrating.
Subsequently we did a different type of mawarigeiko, all person with al least 5th dan behave as motodachi for the rest of the people and at the end of each jigeiko kakarite had to move to the next line. Since the motodachi were quite a lot we could do a lot of jigeiko but it was not exhausting as the day before. After 40 minutes of mawarigeiko there was the jigeiko with senseis and motodachi had the possibility of practice with them before the rest of the people. Since the lines were very long I decided to do again mitorigeiko as you can see in the video below.

At the end of the training Furukawa sensei made some comments on our Kendo. I admit that those were not particularly good, his overall comments indicate that we have to work hard to be able to combine together kiai, posture and cut. So still a lot of work to do for everybody.
As the day before after shower we had a quick beer with our sensei Walter Pomero (7th Dan) and we had dinner in a pizzeria near the hotel, this because me, Sergio and Simone (2nd dan from Shisei) have the 3rd dan examination the next day.

Sunday December the 5th:
The big day! Today we have the examination for san dan. We are four that did the ni dan exam all together: me, Sergio, Simone and Stefano. They are a lot younger than me.

I am 50 years old but I was feeling really old being the last of last pool of three. In my pool there was also and other kendoka that was my partner at the shodan and nidan exams. In our pool there was also another kendoka that I never met before.
I do not want to make comment on my jigeiko, you can see it in the video below. The only this I can say that I was absolutely happy that I managed to pass the examination. It was a wonderful Christmas present ^_^. The only side effect is that I am actually without voice.

Here you can also find the video of the final part of the exam: kendo no kata

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 2010: back again in Cambridge, UK

Monday 1st of September
Today I arrived in Cambridge, UK, to participate to a workshop on Cancer Bioinformatics at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute.

I found a relatively cheep B&B on the opposite site of the town. The place was very quiet and the room very clean. The only problem with the room was its size that remind me the room I got in an hotel in Fukuoka, Japan.
To give you an idea, I could not walk around the bed if I was keeping opened my suitcase.
I have been in Cambridge about two years ago and I visited the Cambridge Kendo Club. I contacted again Frank Stajano which is the instructor of the Dojo and I asked him for the possibility to practice again with them. Then, I got in contact with Matt Jackson which is running the Dojo practice, since Frank is actually in sabbatical outside UK.
I joined the training twice during the week in Cambridge, Monday the 1st and Wednesday the 3rd.
The training was at The Leys Sports complex in Trumpington Road.
The location of the training was the same where I was two years ago, but the people was different due to the University holidays and the students turnover.
Monday the 1st was for me the first training after the summer holidays. It was incredible the fact that a Dojo students was one of the co-organizer of the Cancer Bioinformatics meeting and an other one was a Greek student that worked in Singapore in the institute that I visited in June this year.
We started at 6:30 pm with bokuto kihon. I did bokuto training the first time in Cambridge, but I heard about this type of training during the latest SUMI's seminar at our dojo.

The kihon was made of men, kote, do, kote men, kote do, men. Each technique was done trying to make a good big technique and keeping the control of the opponent at the end of each technique.
After, we did a brief worm up and we put the men. We started with few rounds of kirikaeshi, some rounds of big and small techniques and we completed the training with mawarigeiko. On the last ippon-shubo with Matt, I moved to Jodan kamae and he managed to get the final ippon by men since he was pressing so much with his seme that I stepped back giving him the opportunity to attach.
The training was basic but useful to set my mind in the right mood for a new season of Kendo.
After the training I met few other Italian researchers that work in Cambridge and we had all dinner together in a nice Algerian restaurant.
The training on the 3rd of September was very similar to that of Monday but in the first 30 minutes we did Kendo-no-kata. This was very useful, I got quite good tips to improve the 6th and the 7th katas, which are going to be quite important in the next few months ,since I will try the 3rd dan exam in December. Also on Wednesday we did mawarigeiko and on the last ippon shobu both Matt and me played in Jodan kamae. This time I did not stepped back but he was very effective in counter attach and he strike a very effective men during my kote attach.
I got really a great time in Cambridge and I invited Matt and all the students to visit our Dojo in Torino. I really hope that they could come to Torino, since Cambridge is very near to Stansted airport and there are very cheap flights to Torino by Ryanair. Since we have some spare bogus they only will need to bring their keikogi and akama.
Before departing from Cambridge I could not resist to try again fish and chips. I went in a very traditional fish and chips shop and my mind got back to some years ago when I was student and I was visiting UK to learn English.
In conclusion, I need to point out that I had 5 days of warm and sunny weather in Cambridge, which made my stay there even more enjoyable.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 2010: Back again in Singapore Kendo Dojo

I was in Singapore only for four days about 4 years ago. Now I am back for a full week.

I have a talk at the 1st BIT Neuro Talk meeting but I also took the chance to visit the Singapore Immunology network (SIgN) , which is a big department under the direction of prof. P. Castagnoli. I will also make a talk there and I will have the possibility to talk to many researches hoping to set up new collaborations. Prof. Castagnoli was very kind since she advertised my arrival in other institutes therefore I will also make an other brief talk at the Bioinformatics Institute (BII).
So, these are going to be very busy and interesting days.
I arrived at Singapore airport on the 22nd perfectly on time, thanks to Lufthansa precision. Weather forecast were giving raining all over the week but I was lucky and I did not got, till now a sing drop of water on my head. From airport I when to my hotel, that is in the centre of the town. On 22nd evening I had dinner with my friend Francesca, which is the director of a microarray core facility in Milan but she has very tight collaborations with SIgN groups. We had one of the Singapore specialities: chili crab. Actually we have eaten a 3 Kgs steamed crab covered with spicy chili sauce. It was delicious although quite complicated to be eaten since chop sticks are not very useful to handle a crab.
On Wednesday the 23rd, I was all day at the SIgN to make an introductory training to young bioinformaticians on microarray data analysis. I finished the training at 5 pm and I rushed back to hotel to go to the Singapore Kendo Club. I used a combination of underground and taxi to manage to arrive on time, since traffic jam is a critical issue between 6 to 7 pm in Singapore. I arrived at the Dojo at 6:50 pm, the dojo is located in the Japanese School at 11 Upper Changi rd. The training is both for people with and without bogu. After a brief worm up all together, Mr. Zafar, I was in contact with him to join the training, and few other instructors supervised the training of the beginners. Instead persons with bogu put the men and started the training.
We started with few rounds of kirikaeshi, followed by few rounds of big men, kote men, men taiatari men. After, only person being at least 3rd dan were motodachi for uchikomi geiko made of the following set of techniques, men, kote men, men taiatari men, do, men, repeated various time depending on the kakarite level and errors. After, we started jigeiko with the same motodachi. I managed to do jigeiko with a very skilled lady. She highlighted a problem I had with my foot work. To make a longer step instead of pushing with the back foot I was using the front foot to grab extra space. I tried to correct the movement pushing with my hips but I was not satisfied of my jigeiko. After I did jigeiko with Mr Douglas, that have already met in my previous trip, and with other two students. It was a very nice experience, very clean kendo.
Unfortunately the time was ended and I catch a taxi and got back to the hotel for a quick shower and a snack with my friend Francesca.
Next day I went to make the registration to the Neuro Talk meeting and then I got back to the hotel to refine the presentations for the Neuro Talk meeting and for the SIgN. At 5 p.m. I start to pack every thing to get to the kendo training for advanced students (above 2 kyu). The training took place to the Primary Japanese School located on 95 Clementi Rd.
I was, as usual, worry about the traffic jam and I arrived too early so I had to wait about an hour before seeing somebody with a bogu walking to the school. I asked him the favour to get together to the dojo. Speaking with him I knew that few months before Sumi sensei and Honda sensei were in Singapore.
This dojo is much smaller than the one I was the day before and it does not have air conditioning. At 7.30 p.m. we started the training under the supervision of sensei Kameyawa. We started with basic ayumi-ashi foot work with out the men. Then we put the men and we started kirikaeshi and uchikomi techniques. Particular interesting was the work sensei Kameyama asked us to do on little men. We had to try to find the right time to cut putting zanshin in the technique to have powerful men. This training was very useful to me because I forced myself to remove the error of the night before: pushing more with my hips and my back foot. We also practice kote-men and tsuki. Particularly interesting exercise was also the training on the combination tsuki-men. The sensei highlighted that the men technique can only become an ippon if the tsuki is effective, so only in this case there is the time to make and effective men with the right distance. We also practised a set of taiatari combinations: men-taiatari-men, men-taiatari-kote, men-taiatari-do.
After the uchikomi I was completely wet. After we did jigeiko. I had the chance to make jigeiko with Kameyama sensei and again with the lady I met the day before. I try my best to make a clean jigeiko with both of them. After the two jigeiko, due to the temperature, I was quite exhausted and wet so I had to rest a bit because I was nearly unable to breath. The training finished again with kirikaeshi.
I was exhausted but happy also because the lady told me that this time my men were done correctly.
I packed everything and said bye bye to everybody and I catch a taxi to get back to the hotel. the the usual routine, snack beer and sleep.
Friday it was again a long but interesting day in which I did my talk at SIgN and spoken with many researcher, I got a lot of congratulations for our work and I learned a lot from them.
Today I was at the Neuro Talk meeting that was not as good as I expected, however, I got a lot of question about my talk. In the late afternoon I joined Francesca and other two local friends, Peggy and Josephine, for dinner. We went to a Chinese restaurant and we tried the hot pot. It was absolutely delicious.
Tomorrow is Sunday, I will go to the Neuro Talk meeting first and then to visit Setosa island.
Monday again to SIgN and BII and then I will fly back to Italy. My only regret is that I could not practice kendo on Sunday since at Singapore Kendo Club there are the middle year grading session. I hope to get back again in Singapore it was a beautiful experience both for the work and for the kendo.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 2010: Back again in Heidelberg

I was invited again from Vladimir Benner to be one of the instructor of the Whole Transcript Microarray Data Analysis co-organized by EMBL and Affymetrix. I arrived on Sunday afternoon at Frankfurt airport. I really like to fly Lufthansa, I got out of the plane and in the time I needed to walk to the luggage delivery my bogu and shinai arrived, wonderful!
A shuttle bus service was waiting for me and in 70 minutes I was in Heidelberg. This time I stayed in an hotel down town and not at the ISG guest house that is nice but very far away from Heidelberg center. I was lucky since on Sunday there was a warm sun and I had a nice walk in the old Heidelberg town.
The course was fine, at least from my point of view, and students seemed to be happy with the information and training we have provided. On Tuesday I did not joined the social dinner and I went again to practice at Ken Zen Kan.
It was funny because one of the instructors asked me if I was going to visit my girlfriend. Well .... my wife should not worry about it I only went out for safe and nice kendo training.
I arrived at Ken Zen Kan quite early and I spent about half an hour talking to a young kendoka about Kendo. He got recently the 4th kyu and listening to him was clear how much he liked Kendo. About a quarter to eight all the other people arrived and I met again Volker the President of the Dojo and Franco. It was nice to see them again and it was clear that they were happy to see me again. This is something that is wonderful in Kendo, you go in an other Dojo and you feel like at home.
We started the training with a warm up, running stretching, suburi. Then we did the Rei and men tsuke.
As last time I was at Ken Zen Kan, Franco was taking care of the training of the beginners without bogu. Volker took care of the others. We started as in our dojo with basic kihon, big men, big kote men, big do. I had to be very careful in listening because my broken german is getting very limited and I was sometime missing words that I should know. We did the kihon changing partner every time and on one side of the dojo a person with the bogu was being motodachi for the advanced beginners. The idea is quite nice since the beginners do their techniques always again somebody different and this improve their skill. After the basic kihon we did some double attach like as kote, do; kote, suriage men. After we started jigeiko and I managed to do nearly with every body. It was really a pleasure, clean jigeiko that allowed every level ot express themselves. I am a bit disapointed since I did not managed to do jigeiko with the young japanese that joined the dojo for a couple of years since he is studing history at the Heidelberg University. I did only an exchange of kote men during the kihon and he was like a shinkanen, very very fast. I hope I will managed to do jigeiko with him next time I will be in Heidelberg. At the end of the training I was quite wet but not too tired, probably because the "heavy" training of Sumi sensei during the previous week end was particularly effective.
After training Volker was telling me that some of the people of the dojo will take a week holidays in Italy later this year and the will probably practice Kendo in the dojo of Angela Papaccio in Firenze. After the shower I got a lift from one of the students and I get back to the hotel. In the car we were speaking about the differences in the training in the various dojo and I told him that, at list on the basis of my limited experience, training is very similar everywhere and the real variable are the kendokas. I also told him that in our dojo beginners, that are much less of those I have seen at ken Zen Kan, start quite rapidly to practice with all the other and the lesson is usually divided in two parts, in the first the higher Dan behave as motodachi for the other for kihon and jigeiko then the practice is plit in two parts and higher dan do jigeiko between them as the lower grade between them.
Since it was quite late, when I got at the hotel, I took a big Doner Kebab a coke and a bottle of water and I had my dinner in my room.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 2010: Sumi sensei at Shubukan (second day)

On the second day Sumi sensei focused the lesson on bokuto khion done using shinai and bogu.
Sumi sensei sed that bokuto khion, done using shinai and bogu, is a kihon that is particularly near to modern kendo.
The idea of this kihon is the interaction between motodachi and kakaritè as in the case of kendo no kata.
Specifically he defined 9 basic kihon on which it is possible to design variation.
The kihon techniques we did during the second day of Sumi sensei seminar were based on shikake wasa techniques (1-4,7) and oji wasa techniques (5,6,8,9) :
1) men, kote, do, tsuki
2) kote, men
3) harai men
4) hiki do
5) nuki do
6) suriage men
7) debana kote
8) kaeshi do
9) uchiotoshi men

Next three video refer to the first kihon. All techniques were done initially using tsugi-ashi and then with fumikomi. We also tried various combination of the first kihon adding tsuba-zeriai for men, kote, do.

After a brief time doing the second kihon, kote-men first witht sugi-ashi and then fumikomi we moved to the third kihon: harai men
In the next video there is a summary of the description of the combination of the first three kihon:

Subsequently we moved to the 4th and 5th kihon:

Since the morning session was getting to the end, after the 5th kihon we practice 30 minutes jigeiko as already done in the first day.
We had about two hours break for lunch and then Sumi and Tashiro sensei followed the training of our young kendokas. A total of 12 children with age ranging between 6 and 13 years old were coming from the three main Kendo children courses our dojo is taking care within Torino. All students wear a bogu and took their training very seriously.
They started with basic subury (jodi/naname buri, chioyakumen) followed by basic big techniques (men, kote and do) without the wearing men. After they wear the men and started a set of big and small techniques having as motodachi their course instructors. The two Japanese sensei followed with great attention the training. At the end of the training all our little kendoka practice jigeiko with Sumi or Tashiro sensei.
Next two video summarised the jigeiko of my sun, Lorenzo,

and one of the youngest kendoka in our dojo, Vincent.

During the afternoon session we finished the series of the kihon and we practice various combination of them. It was a very interesting lesson, although since in the afternoon we did a lot of combination I do not remember them precisely. Unfortunately this part is missing as video because I run out of battery :-(
I have to admit that I was also quite tired after the hard practice of Friday evening and Saturday morning. At the end of the lesson Sumi sensei dedicated 30 minutes practice to jigeiko for persons having at least the 5th dan. It was very interesting and I registred some of them:

After we did again jigeiko for 30 minutes and I managed to practice with Zago (7 DAN) and again with Tashiro sensei.

They were two very interesting days with a lot of messages to be metabolised. Actually Sumi and Tashiro sensei had an other half day in Shubukan on Sunday in the morning, but I could not participate to it since I was leaving to Heidelberg were I will be one of the instructors of the Whole Transcript Microarray Data Analysis 2010 organized by Dr. V. Bennet. Next post will be dedicated to my sencond visit to the Heidelberg Kendo Dojo.

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 2010: Sumi sensei at Shubukan (First day)

This is not a usual report about one of my trips, but the report of the visit of Sumi sensei (8 DAN Hanshi) at our dojo in Torino.
Sumi sensei and his collaborator Tashiro sensei (8 DAN) visit our dojo in Torino every year. For all the people in the dojo it is a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot from this visit.
This time Sumi sensei will be in Torino from May the 14th to May the 16th.
We started the training at 8:00 p.m. We were about 50 persons mainly from Italy but there were also two people from Edinburgh (UK) and Mr. N. Yokoyama (5 Dan), in Italy for holidays.
This time I used a little video kamera located in the lower part of the men. Although it does not have the video quality and the wide view of normal video camera it give me the possibility to record the lesson and to practice at the same time.
We started with a brief warm up with stretching supervised by our instructor W. Pomero (7 Dan) followed by basic suburi.
Before the men tsuke Sumi sensei welcomed us to the seminar and guarantee an interesting and hard practice ^_^
After few rounds of kirikaeshi Sumi sensei started the lesson describing how to do a training about kirikaeshi. In the first part of the lesson he focused on the kakaritè site, which is summarized on the following video.

I apologize for the low quality of the sound but breathing silently in the men is quite difficult, especially after few rounds of kirikaeshi.
We run on kirikaeshi for some minutes and Sumi sensei described the training for motodachi during kirikaeshi, which is summarized in the next video.

We continue to work further on kirikaeshi and then we moved to some rounds of men tayatari men, men tayatari kote, men tayatari do.

After Sumi described how next round of jigeiko should be done. He focused on the point that there must be mind connection between motodachi and kakarite. Motodachi should let kakarite hit if the attack is genuine if not motodachi should use counter attack.
The jigeiko was set in the following way: kakaritè makes three long kiai and motodachi answer, after kakaritè make for big men followed by the kirikaeshi previously described. After kakaritè need to bring down to the tanden the power throwing out the breath twice before starting jigeiko. In the next video you will find a demonstration where kakaritè is W Pomero and motodachi is Sumi sensei.

We had about 30 minutes of this jigeiko which resulted to be quite heavy since when you get finally at the jigeiko you are completely without breath.
I managed to do a total of five jigeiko and I was so lucky to practice with all three Japanese sensei present at the seminar: Tashiro sensei first, then with Mr. N. Yokoyama and finally with Sumi sensei.
In the next video there are the three jigeiko.

The way I did the video showed me a tip I never realized, till now. During the jigeiko I keep turning around to sensei's shinai tip with my tip, trying to create an occasion to attach. This results on the fact that the sensei's shinai tip never get out of the center and instead I loose the center. So, I have to clean up my kamae removing useless shinai's movements.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 2010: Visiting Washington DC area Dojos

Every two years I participate to the AACR meeting in washington DC. it is an important event for cancer researchers all over the world. This meeting was also offering me the opportunity to visit the two Kendo Dojos located nearby Washington DC: Budokai Dojo, 25 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314 and Washinkan Dojo, American Dance Institute 1570 East Jefferson St. Rockville, MD 20852.
I contacted Brian Sherry, NOVA Budokai Dojo and Summerlin Walker, Washinkan Dojo. They were both very kind and helped me to define the best way to get to their Dojos. I also got a nice invitation to join Brian and other people of the Dojo for early dinner.
It was a very nice situation in principle I was expecting to arrive on Saturday April the 17th and having keiko on Sunday and Monday. Great hope! However, I was not considering the "nature" was planning something else for many travellers all over Europe.
At the end of march a Volcano, located under an Iceland glacier with a unpronounceable name (Eyjafjallajokull), decided that it was the right time to wake up.

So in the last week an enormous amount of volcanic ash has been released between 5000 to 10000 meters, where almost all flying routes are located.
The result is that almost all airports in Europe where closed in the last three days and also my flight of this morning was cancelled.
Right now I managed to contact Lufthansa reservation center, 1h 30' waiting on the phone and I have been re-protected on a flight to Chicago on Wednesday the 23th. I will miss the AACR meeting and the keiko at Washinkan and Budokai but I still manage, mybe, to present the work of my lab at Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University and meet again for keiko the people of Chicago kendo Dojo and visit for the first time the kendo Dojo of the Chicago University one of the most famous University in USA.
This schedule is still in the hands of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
More news after Wednesday April the 23rd.....
....I am very sad an other cancellation for today. The only option would be to leave to USA on Friday. But staying in USA only four days is too little for the trip length, so at this time I decided to cancel the trip, waiting for an other interesting meeting that might bring me again in USA providing me the occasion to have keiko in USA Dojos.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 2010: Visiting Kobudokan Dojo in Manchester (UK)

On January the 7th I started my trip to Manchester, UK. This time I was quite afraid about the trip since I was departing, just after the heavy bad weather in UK. The day before the Manchester airport was closed and many flights were delayed. My trip in Manchester was due to the participation to the
BioC 2010, the European Bioconductor developer meeting. The trip was fine although I got some delay due to the weather forecast in Frankfurt. Nevertheless I managed to get on time to the beginning of the meeting. This was a great occasion to know the latest news from the computation open-source project I am participating. At the end of the first day meeting instead having dinner I jumped on a taxi and I went to the Bramhall Leisure centre on Seal Road, SK7 2JR, where there is the thourday joined training of the Kobudokan and the KNMS kendo dojos. The weather was very cold about -9 degree celsius and all the streets were quite slippery due to the ice. I arrived to the dojo quite early and I was not sure if somebody was coming since the road conditions were quite bad. About 8.30 pm Mark, one of the instructors of KNMS arrived. In the time we changed two students shew up as well as Lee the instructor of the Kobudokan dojo.
In total we were 5 persons and the temperature in the dojo was quite low. We started a warm up with basic suburi. the warm up was quite long due to the low temperature in the dojo. After we put the men and we did a long session of basic uchikomi geigo, that was ideal due to the presence of kyusha. We started with bing men, kote and do, then we moved to combination kote-men, kote-do, kote-men-do, kote-men-iki me, kote-men-iki do. After we repeated the same series as small techniques and finally we had a brief jigeiko and the training session ended. Talking to Mark and Lee after the training I knew that normally ,on thoursday, there are about 20 persons in the dojo, but due to the weather and road conditions many of them did not come. Well, I will meet them next time I will come to Manchester. After the training jumped again on taxi and went back to the Hotel. On saturday, after the end of the meeting, I went back to the airport and I managed to get back in Italy with only few hours in delay. This time the delay was due to the orrible weather forecast in central Europe. I was anyway lucky since somebody was stuck in Frankfurt for many hours due to flights cancellation. The only regret is that, as usual, my bogu and shinai did not managed to arrive togheter with me in Torino. I have to admit the I was not the only one since 1/3 of all person on my flight missed the luggage.
It is now my third flight back to UK via Frankfurt that my bogu/shinai remain somewhere in Frankfurt, lets hope that, also this time, they will safely arrive in Torino, also because tomorrow I have to go to kendo training.
My bogu and shinai safely arrived back at home in time to go to training.