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