I am in London for the 6th Annual Next Generation Sequencing Congress 2014, a very good opportunity to learn on the latest changes in the technology but also a good excuse to cross shinai with London's kendokas.
Wednesday the 19th of November I went for the first time to UCL Kendo Club. Being a University club the average age of the kendokas was mainly between 18 to 25 and it was very nice to feel the freshness of those young people. The warm up was relatively brief and then we were divided in two groups: one for beginners without bogou and the other with the persons with bogou. The beginners were supervised by Joe and they were really a lot! The bogou group was instead supervised by Neil, the head instructor, and the two hours practice were mainly dedicated to kion mixed with kirikaeshi. The last 15-20 minutes were left for jigeiko. After keiko we went for a beer and it was very nice to have some extra time to talk about Kendo with UCL people.
On Thursday the 20th I was again, after a long time, to Hizen Kendo Club. I was there about 5 years ago. They changed the location of the practice now it is on the first foor and the floor was incredibly soft as it was designed for professional dancers.
The initial part of the training was based on foot work and basic techniques without men. Then, we were divided in two groups: with and without bogou. We spent a lot of time on basic large techniques and the training was organized having 3-4 motodachi and the others practicing with them.
After the basic techniques we had a kion session in which motodachi were providing technique opening and kakarite has to apply the correct technique. After we had a brief session of jigeiko and I had the possibility to cross shinai with all the other kendokas. It was a very nice evening, where the supervision of Jeff Hum Sensei was very present and extremely useful.
I finished my evening with an hot wanton soup in a little restaurant near the Hizen dojo.