Monday, December 30, 2013

December 2013: Visiting Kenyukan and Tshiku Sei Kan Basel Kendo Clubs.

 At the beginning of december I was in Basel for the RNAseq workshop. It was a very useful meeting with a lot of interesting information. In Basel there are two Kendo clubs: Kenyukan and Tshiku Sei Kan. I got some problem in contacting the instructor of the  Kenyukan but at the end I managed. 

I went first to the Kenyukan Club. The club has prevalently Kyusha and the instructor, Wolfgang, run a lesson tightly bound to kion without bogou. The lesson continued with the bogou  also on kion and only the last 10 minutes were dedicated to jigeiko and I managed to cross the shinai only with Wolfgang. The jigeiko was a bit challenging due to the powerful attachs of Wolfgang.
When I went to the Tshiku Sei Kan I could not managed to meet the Dojo instructor, because he was out for work, but I had  avery nice evening there. The lesson was run by the two 3 dan students. The dojo is located in a sporting center and the floor is absolutely great due to the very high elasticity, ideal for painless fumikomi. The people in the dojo was mixture of various levels. The lesson was based on kion but mainly with the bogou. The last 30 minutes were dedicated to jigeiko and i managed to practice with all the students. People at Tshiku Sei Kan practice a very clean and effective kendo. I had nice keiko with both the sandan students and it was also quite nice to practice with a student that, due to a problem at the left hand, was practicing jodan migi kamae. I had a really nice evening and after we went our for a refreshing beer.    

Sunday, December 29, 2013

October 2013: Visiting Tanglin and Singapore Kendo Club

In october I was back in Singapore for the 2nd NGS Asia Meeting. This time I visited first the Tanglin Kendo Club, a new Kendo Club created by my friend Yeo sensei. Since the dojo is new the majority of the students has relatively low level, but very very commited. There was a very young lady that, although she had no kyu grade, was showing a very strong spirit both in the kion and in the jigeiko. An other interesting point of the Tanglin Club was the presence of a significant number of Europeans. The training was strongly focused on basic techniques and it was perfect  to master the basic of Kendo. We also did some exercises using short version of the shinai, using both right and left hand. At the end we had jigeiko and a little kakarigeiko. That Saturday I was not the only guest there was an other guest from France. Yeo sensei was very very kind and bring both of us out for lunch and we had a very delicious curry fish. The ideal end of the nice kendo practice.

Since I spent about 10 days in Singapore I also managed to visit again the Singapore Kendo Club. I managed to practice in the dojo near Changi airport and in the dojo at the Elementary Japanese School in Clementi road. It was very nice to meet again many kendo's friends and crossing the shinai with them.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

May 2013: Visiting EDKG e.V. Kendo Club Berlin

It is about 7 months that I do not update my Kendo blog. I was extremely busy with my work and I could not managed to add my new visits in various Kendo Clubs. Now it is Christmas time and I have some spare time to reconstruct the last 6 months Kendo trainings.
In May 2013 a was in berling for the Illumina research meeting and as usual I bring my bogou with me. I was as student in berlin west between 1984 and 1987 working at max Plank Institute fuer Mulekulare Genetik, after that time I did not come back in Berlin. It was very particular for me after such a long time see again a completely different town. Even more strange for me was moving with underground in areas that at the time I was in berlin were in the East site of the town and not normally accessible to us living in West Berlin.
This time I visited the EDKG e.V. Kendo Club, a very big Kendo Club in Berlin.  The have a very nice dojo with a very good floor for fumikomi.

I was there twice and I found very interesting the presence of a specific training only for beginners with a lot of beginners without bogou.
The first day the training was done by Rainer J├Ąttkowski, 7th Dan and on the second day by Ralph Lehmann.
The training in both days was very similat to the one I normally have in our Dojo in Torino and it was very nice to cross the shinai in the jigeiko with many of the kendokas in Berlin.
On the second day Ralph was so kind to bring me out for dinner and we had a nice time talking about kendo and drinking few beers.

I had a great time in berlin and I hope to get back, having more time to visit te town and off course making kendo ^_^.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

May 2013 in Fukuoka

It is quite a long time that I do not update my blog but I was extremely busy with my work.
Hera I will add some extra info on my trip in Japan in May 2013. Specifically I am posting a brief video on a lesson of naginata run from the wife of Sumi sensei.
I do not practice naginata and I know very little on this martial art but I was very catch from these young ladies very commited in their practice.
Furthermore I have visited with Sumi sensei a a shinai maker farm. It was very impressive and here you will find few picture describing my visit there.
Starting material: bamboo to be cut
Sumi sensei describes to Pomero sensei the bamboo characteristics needed to make a good shinai 

Bamboo cut and ready to be transformed in shinai
Bamboo slices are warmed up and subsequently passed in a machine that make them straight
Then are shaped (first part next video) and then  tsuka is shaped (second part of the video)
 Discarded material

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 6-10: keiko!

I pass all the day of May the 6th waiting of for the evening keiko.
We arrived at the Dojo about 45 minutes before the keiko begins. We changed and I was very excited for the training.
It is impressive the way Students take care of guests. We were a total of two Italians and 8 Russians. We had one student for two persons and before starting the practice they described us how the training was going to be. At first there are few minutes of warm up (see video below).
 After the warm up we had suburi (20 repetitions)
The 50 repetions of men uchi without fumikomi
 The 50 men uchi with fumikomi
Finally 30 choyaku-men
 Then we did men tsuke and we started few rounds of kirikaeshi
After we had uchikomi where each of the two partners indicate the technique he want to practice.
Then we had a break which is not usual but it was due to the fact that the week after students had to participate to a competition thus they did some test shiai. I collected few of them both for the men and female and as you can see in the next video their speed is really impressive.
After we had about 40 minutes of gigeiko and the video below is centered on Honda sensei (7 Dan), the chief of the Kendo Club at Fukuoka University of Education and Sumi sensei (8 Dan, white bogou).
In my case I was very lucky to have the possibility to be motodachi for all 40 minutes that gave me the possiiblity to practice with a significant number of students.
It was wonderful and I was a bit disapointed that it finished so quickly.
But I was happy because in few hours there would be asageiko, but about it I will talk on the next post.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 3-5: waiting for keiko

The period between 3rd of May and 5th of May is part of the Golden week, a spring holiday for Japanese people. For this reason some of the keiko were cancelled.  However I spend Saturday and Sunday with one of my Japanese friend. I know her from about 30 years. When she arrived at Kyoikudae-mae I show her my room at Mokkeiso, which is the dormitory of the University students that are parts of the Kendo club at Fukuoka University of Education. After I show her the dojo.
The University
The Dojo
After we spent the subsequent day getting around Fukuoka to see the festival and we visited the Dazaifu temple.
On Sunday evening my friend took again the train to Osaka and went back home.
Monday was spend waiting for the arrival of my Sensei Walter Pomero and an other student of our Dojo. Both were at the Kyoto Kendo Taikai.
Here you can see the gigeiko of Sumi Sensei (8 Dan) kindly provided by my friend.

In the evening they arrived and we had a little party at the Mokkeiso because a group of Kendokas from Moskow came for a week of training in Fukuoka.
Honda Sensei during the party
Finally the time of keiko is getting near from Tuesday and Thursday we will have keiko from 17:30 to 19:30 and Wednesday and Friday asageiko from 6:30 to 7.30.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May the 2nd 2013: On the way to Fukuoka

Yesterday I started this little adventure. I am going to spend few days in Fukuoka practicing Kendo at Fukuoka University of Education in the dojo directed by Honda sensei (7 Dan). The trip was quite long and I near to the end since I am waiting to catch the last flight to Fukuoka.

Torino Airport
Frankfurt Airport

 Seoul Airport

This time I was quite lucky on the international flight since it was partially empty and I could move to one seat near the emergency exit. A lot of space for the feet!
It was a long time that I did not spend time talking with somebody on a flight. I had a nice time talking with a sailor man. He is young, 25 years old. He is from Montenegro and he works on oil tanks. I was very curious of his work and we talk a lot about it. It is a hard work, you are on the sea for 3 months and then you are back for other 3 months. However, the critical issue is that when you are back you have a lot of time but it is not the same for all the rest of the people you know. At the end you are very lonely. He told me that sailing is one of the few opportunities for young people in Montenegro and he said that for the moment is ok then he will decide.
I am now in Seoul Airport and my flight to Fukuoka is going to depart in few minutes.
My Italian sensei, Walter Pomero (7 Dan) is now at the Kyoto Taikai and we will meet in Fuluoka on next Monday. This week end I will visit Fukuoka with a Japanese friens that will arrive from Nara tomorrow morning.
More info on my time in Fukuoka on next post.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 2013: Visiting ARK Kendo Club in Rome.

This time I am in Rome for the report meeting of the EPIGEN project. It is very rare that I can spend few days in Rome, although my brother is living there. Since train/flight connections between Torino and Rome are quite good , usually I do business work within the same day. This time, since I am here for three days I took the chance to visit Accademia Romana Kendo.
It was a nice night!  Everybody was very friendly wiht me, as in general happen everytime I visit a new dojo.
I met all the instructors of the club. The training started with two groups, one doing kata (people preparing for exams) and an other group that was doing the warm up. Mauro Battaglioni was driving the warm up and he did a great job. He organized the warm up in a very efficient way starting from the legs and moving slowly up to the upper part of the body.  After we did basic suburi, training was driven by Carla Liberto. She did a very good work too. Her part of the training is, in my opinion extremely useful for beginners to make them able to cohordinate the ashi and arm movements.
In the mean time other two groups made men tsuke and work in parallel with us: competitors and persons preparing exams. Later, I joined the persons preparing the exam and I did some jigeiko with them. I also had jigeiko with Enrico Banchetti.  He has a great kote, he catched me many times and I have to reflect about it to understand why my kote was so accessible.
At the end I had a nice surprice, I had a brief round of shai with all the instructors of the dojo. As I usually do when I practice shai I moved to jodan no kamae. All shai were very challenging and I managed to strike some points but I lost all the fights. It was a pitty but it will help me to improve my jodan keiko. For sure a big problem is my kote, it is too easy to be detected it. However, at the present time I do not understand which is the error, and I have to work on it. Furthermore, I have to construct more to get an effective men from jodan no kamae.
Well I have some work to do for the next few years ^_^.
Great time at  ARK!

November 2012: Visiting Bologna Kendo Clubs

I am a bit in delay in writing this post but, believe me, I could not find time to do it.
I was in Bologna at the end of November 2012 for a Kick off meeting of an European Project I am involved and I took the chance to visit two Kendo clubs in Bologna: Musokan Kendo Club and Seishinkan Kendo Club.
At the Musokan Club I met Stefano Verrina (roukku Dan), which was driving the training the night I visit them. We spent quite some time with Kendo no kata and I got some good tips to improve my technique. Then, after the men tsuke, we did a lot of work studying some shikake and oji waza and finally we did some jigeiko.
It was a very pleasant night  and we ended it having dinner together. During the dinner I asked Stefano for some suggestions about my kendo, his tips regarded my beaviour on debana kote upon men attach. He told me that I was loosing the posture when doing it. This is a point on which I am working and I am still trying to find my way to the correct behaviour in debana kote. I have a reasonable timing but still something is missing to have an efficient technique.

In the second day in Bologna I went to the Seishinkan Kendo Club. I went there already once but I did not have the possibility to meet Stefano Betti (roukku Dan), the instructor of the club. The training was very interesting, we had a lot of suburi and a lot of exercises to find the correct seme posture. At the end of the training Stefano was so kind to bring me back to the hotel.
An other nice night of kendo and an other little step in my kendo trip!

October 2012: Singapore Kendo Club

I have been so lucky to be back in Singapore for a reasearch meeting 2nd NGS Asia Congress 2012 and for a seminar at the  SIgN A-STAR Institute. As usual it was a great experience both for the scientific an social view. My stay was brief but characterized by very intense working activity. However, I managed to practice Kendo again at the Singapore Kendo Club. I was at the Sunday training and at the Thursday training. The two training take place in tow different Japanese schools in Singapore, the Changi Japanese School, 11 Upper Changi North Rd and the Japanese Primary school, 95 Clementi Road.
The Sunday training started with about 30  minutes of kendo-no-kata and Yeo sensei offered his advise to me on the kata hihglighting some tips expecially for the kodachi katas. After we make directly men-tsuke and we started with few rounds of kirikaeshi. Suresh, one of the components of the Singapore Kendo National team, run the training. We focus on main basic techniques, and after we had the possibility to practice jigeiko with the various sensei present in the dojo.

Thursday was more hard. I was in dealy because of the working schedule, taxi was not available, I took the underground, but the station were I when out was not exactly very near to the dojo. Finally with a taxi I managed to get to the Clementi Dojo.
The Dojo is little but the participants are alt least shodan. Also here Suresh run the training that was particularly heavy for be because there was no air conditioning and this affected a lot my performances. . After basic kion we had few rounds of Jigeiko that was very challenging for me. I was not very satisfied of me I could not find the right timing and my seme was very poor and it was very very hot!

At the end of the training a asked for some advice and I one of the Japanese sensei told me that I have a kendo base is good but I have to trust more on my kendo. Suresh told me that I have to be more carefull in the attach because men and kote attachs are different and the opponent recognize them.
Although I have not been good as I wanted the training was very useful and I enjoyed very much.
Next year it quite possible that I will be back in Singapore and I will ask Yeo sensey for the possibility to participate to the training also in the University dojos, I not so sure it will be possible but I will ask to have the possiiblity to cross the shinai with other  kendokas.