Listed in order of posting:
|1. Kendo with "Aloha" by Azamat Koumykov|
|2. Notes from Gedatsukai - 2001 Shimpan Class by Ando Sensei|
|3. Experience Achieved During the Gedatsu-kai training by By David Hilo Kikau, Jr.|
|4. Essay for Kenkyukai (July-August, 2001) By Takuma Hirako|
|5. May 4, 2001 By Lawrence Chun|
|6. Various others|
|7. October 2002 Kenkyukai by Akiko Furutani|
|8. September, 2003 by Akiko Furutani|
How it all started. In the beginning of August 2001 I arrived to Honolulu, Hawaii, where I was to spend a year of studies. I heard that Hawaii had a strong school of Kendo and was looking forward to practicing and learning from their kendoka. Prior year I had spent mostly in travels and under significant stress because of the nature of my job and often I was not really able to train full heartedly and most of the time had no partner. This upset me because I had a lot of homework left by Marsten Sensei to do. Never-the-less, with the help of the President of RKF Nikolai Petrovich Yakovlev, who left us so tragically that year and RKF Vice-President Rouslan Soultanovich Aloev, we managed to start Kendo clubs in Mineralnye Vody and Vladikavkaz, which will hopefully continue to thrive. I was able to leave my bogu and shinai for the Kabardino-Balkarian Kendo club, which still experiences a certain lack of equipment, thanks to the generosity of our dear teacher and friend Curtis Marsten Sensei, who presented me a brand new bogu and shinai, which arrived almost immediately after I found myself in Honolulu. I settled my academic and accommodation affairs and started looking for Kendo. I was lucky in that the first time I saw Hawaiian Kendo was at the Aiea Taiheiji Kendo Tournament, where all Sensei, most Dojos and the best Kendo players of the islands were represented. To my surprise I saw that many women were practicing Kendo in Hawaii, as opposed to our country where Kendo is stereotypically viewed as a brutal activity for masochistically inclined men who like to shout at each other and to hit each other with sticks. There was a significant number of kendoka of young age, who were quite good and had a strong spirit. I had the pleasure of watching the tournament and also approached Shigeo Yoshinaga Sensei who headed Kenshikan Dojo of Honolulu with a request to enroll. Yoshinaga Sensei was very kind and gave me permission immediately. Next week I was at my first keiko.
Several words on the history of Kendo in Hawaii. Kendo appeared on the islands when the first immigrants from Japan arrived in 1868, bringing with them fencing and Sumo. The first kendoka were either the real Samurai or the students of the Samurai teachers. In 1902 Japan has sent Furuyama Sensei to be the official Kendo teacher for the immigrants. In 1940 a Hawaiian branch of Dai Nippon Butoku Kai was opened and Kendo was taught in many Japanese schools and Dojo throughout the islands. In 1941 Kendo was banned at the onset of WWII but reopened in 1945. Such was the policy of the American government at that time which was afraid that Budo would contribute to the formation of anti-American sentiments, and radical pro-Japan nationalistic groups. This reminds me of when late Dr. Yanoushevski, founder of RKF, was reprimanded and ordered to seize all Kendo-related public activity in the middle of the 60-es, after he did a performance at the Moscow State University. The Soviet Government viewed Kendo as "an activity, full of the aggressive spirit of militarism and Samurai hood - the juggernaut of Japan, a spirit alien to the Soviet people". In 1959 Hawaii Kendo Federation became part of the ZNKR but in 1988 it became an independent member of IKF and is represented in the World championships as a separate team from the United States, although Hawaii is a state of the USA (I too didn't realize that until shortly before coming to Hawaii). Now there are many kendoists training in the Dojos of Hawaii Kendo Federation. Most of the Dojos are located on the island of Oahu, concentrated mostly in Honolulu - the capital of the state.
Keiko! I didn't quite know what to expect when I came to my first keiko at Kenshikan Dojo but it went very well. Yoshinaga Sensei introduced me to the class and everyone applauded to the new student. I was treated very well both by the Sensei and the students. The Sensei (and there are several other Sensei that teach at the Dojo with Yoshinaga Sensei - Furutani Sensei, Teshima Sensei, Yamada Sensei, Konishi Sensei) were kind enough to pay a lot of attention to correcting my numerous mistakes. Actually, I almost died during the first keiko because I haven't practiced for awhile and my lungs became weak. During jikeiko I got successfully beaten by everyone including the very youngest students. Then I had the pleasure of doing jikeiko with the Sensei. In the end of the keiko the teachers encouraged me by telling how good my Kendo was, although I did realize how horrible it really was. I recall that the first time late Nikolai Petrovich saw me do kirikaeshi with a bokuto, which I learned myself from a book on Kendo, he looked at me sadly, was silent for a moment, sighed and said, "This is very good! Really it's very good!" - at this moment I instantly felt that I had perhaps more potential than Miyamoto Musashi himself - "But this is not Kendo." - Ooops. So this was how I started regularly (or at least, when classes allowed) attending keiko at Kenshikan Dojo. Some time later I also started coming to Sunday general practice for all kendoists of Hawaii Kendo Federation. There I was invited to practice Iaido by Akagi Sensei - an opportunity I gladly accepted. I had some experience of swinging bokuto in an attempt to study several Seitei Iai forms wonderfully taught to us by Ide Katsuhiko Sensei, during his 3 day stay in Nalchik and this was a great chance to follow-up on our promise to Ide Sensei and late Nikolai Yakovlev to keep Iai alive in Kabardino-Balkaria.
Aloha Spirit. Aloha is the word one often hears in Hawaii. It literally means both "hallo" and "goodbye", but in my limited understanding represents far more than that. It represents the spirit of these beautiful island and the warm-hearted people that live on them. "Aloha" was what I encountered from all Sensei and fellow Kendo students in Hawaii: it is kindness, attention, patience, generosity, understanding and something indescribable, which is part of this land and which can be felt only when you are here: amid the blue waves, under the beautiful sky and among good people. And, of course, many, many hard "men" (Maeda Sensei, one of the Sensei with whom I have the honor to train during the Sunday general practice, excels in that, emphasizing the basics and correct strikes, which I enjoy immensely). Kendo in Hawaii is a live example of something directly opposite to the propaganda of "aggressive Japanese militarism", for which Kendo was viewed as a proxy by the Soviet functionaries and it is represents a lot for us to learn. Not only from a technical point of view, but about approaching life with "aloha" and a lot more. Because Kendo is about human life, it's not about battering people with a bamboo stick. As I was writing this article, I got an e-mail and was informed that one of the people I knew back home, a prominent business man in my native town in Nalchik, got blown up in his car, as he drove home. He survived but his legs were badly injured. Such is the nature of competition we still have to deal with in Russia. And I must admit for us it is often very difficult to approach the world with aloha and courtesy but we have to do so. Only then, moving beyond emotion and fear, we will be able to eliminate our suki, our weak spots and grow. For without victory over yourself, there may be not progress in Kendo and in life. And without our personal advancement there is no future for our country: and the battle for our future in new Russia is far more difficult than any of the shiai we may face. And for the person who suffered in the explosion, and for all of us, there is an example of Henry Smalls, a member of Hawaii Kendo Federation, who lost his legs but practices Kendo maybe with great vigor than most of us.
I plan to write more for the members in RKF about my experience of training in Hawaii, as time goes on. But so far my most sincere "Mahalo" (thanks) goes to my new friends at Hawaii Kendo Federation and to all readers. "Aloha!" and Kote-meeeenn!
This article is to be published in English and Russian on:
Submitted by Lawrence Chun (ed. DYT)
1.Most important thing is to be aware of a good yuko-datotsu.
**** Ando Sensei asked the foreign leaders to carefully consider what
He believes that shiai represents a duel between gentlemen. If a person
He cautioned us by saying a teacher will influence their students with
By David Hilo Kikau, Jr.
The purpose of this report is to share the experience I achieved during
Kendoist in Hawaii, as I myself, must have clear goals that are achievable
Ippon-Uchi-No-Waza (Kihon-Uchi -- basic strikes and thrusts skills)
I realize to sustain 10% of what I have learned, I must make the above
It was made clear that even a simple technique must be practiced over
Currently in Hawaii the Kendo instructors are doing what is right with
A Reality Check on My Kendo:
I did not achieve my Roku-Dan because I was not worthy of being promoted.
Until this experience, I was lead to believe Kendo to be an aggressive
I look forward on continuing to improve my Kendo with the Hawaii Kendo
The greatest lesson learned at Gedatsu-kai has been the realization
This report is submitted for the perusal by the Kendoist of Hawaii
In Kenkyukai, for the last two months, I've learned some Kendo phrases
First, "Sandan no Ma." I knew that there are three kinds
of Ma, but I
Secondly, "Gogyo no Kamae" was very interesting to me. It
is because I
Lastly I thought "Kou Ken Chi Ai" was very important. Especially
I had more things that were interesting to me. I also had a lot of
Kenyukai practice on May 4, 2001 was conducted by both Teshima Sensei
The main scenarios were as follows:
1. Regarding judging of different ranks from children to Yudansha.
2. Unnecessary roughness-Boryoku-was also discussed. The most common
3. Rule about injury was also brought up. Section 2 Article 30 of the
[note from DYT: the intention of the rule here seems to be to penalize
4. Overwhelming an opponent because of size and strength was also
5. During a Shiai, if a player is over exuberant and continually knocks
6. Mr. Sato mentioned that the best Shiai's are usually determined
Mr. Carl Nakamura led the participants through Suriage Waza during
March 2, 2001
On March 2nd, we had to learn about Miyamoto Musashi. (This session
April 7, 2000
Since April 2000, Teshima Sensei has been leading special sessions
During the month of May, these sessions focused on Kata. The first
The Kyu/Dan examinations are rapidly approaching and as a result, on
Every first Friday of the month the yudansha kenshi get together and
By Akiko Furutani
For this month's Kenkyukai, Mr. Seth Harris led a session on Fudochi
The discussion about the Kannon Bosatsu, the Buddha with 1,000 arms
Zengo Sai Dan, from what I understand is something that means to focus
Ms. Akiko Furutani has graciously accepted a position as our HKF reporter. She regularly attends all of the HKF Keiko and functions (e.g., monthly Kenkyu Kai, Sunday General Keiko at Honbu, special Keiko with visitors) in her busy schedule as a student at the University of Hawaii. She participated at the recent World Kendo Championships at Glasgow as a member of Team Hawaii. Her monthly report summarizes the activities and lists visitors to HKF, in hope of increased participation by the HKF members in the future. [DYT]
In the beginning of this month, we were fortunate to have a group of students from Kokushikan University lead by Baba Kinji Sensei. During their stay they not only practiced with us but also demonstrated Sumo, Iai, and the Baba-ha Kumitachi, a form of Kata that Baba Sensei developed when he visited Brazil a few months ago.
At the end of the Kaimuki Honbu practice on Sunday, their last practice with us, Baba Sensei took the time to share his comments and advice with us. One of which was that in Kendo the left side of the body – mainly the left arm and the left leg—is vital. He advised us to be careful as some of us tended to have our left knees bent, thus causing our Fumikomi to be an up and down movement instead of forward movement.
On their last night in Hawaii, we had a barbeque party at the Fort DeRussy Park. For many of us, it was a bonding time with the Kokushikan students. The night was spent sharing stories, wrestling in the sand, and dunking each other into the water (including Furutani Sensei, Akiko’s father).
The Kenkyukai practice this month was held on September 5th and was led by Teshima Sensei. We learned the All Japan Kendo Federation’s Kihon Kendo Skills using the Bokuto. The purpose of this Kihon Kata is “to master the basic Kendo skills, remembering that the Shinai represents the Japanese sword, and to study the principles of the sword (Toho) and manners (Saho), and interactions with each other using the selected Waza using the Bokuto.”
The basic procedures of the Kihon Kata such as the footwork, Maai, Ritsurei, etc., all follow that of Nihon Kendo Kata. The two people involved in the Kihon Kata are the receiver called Motodachi and the trainee called the Kakarite. There are nine fundamental Waza in the Kihon Kendo Kata:
1. Ippon Uchi No Waza (single hit): Men, Kote, Do, Tsuki
Going through the fundamental Kendo skills using the Bokuto makes it apparent when the Hasuji (blade) of the sword is incorrect. The Bokuto resembles more closely the shape of an actual sword while the Shinai is round in shape. Sometimes it is harder to grasp the actual concept of the idea that the Shinai represents a sword because of the difference in shape.
Although there are only nine fundamental Waza in the actual Kata, it can
be applied to other higher technical Waza as student progresses. For example,
for Nidan No Waza, the second one in the Kata, students who have advanced
can apply it to Sandan No Waza (triple hits) such as Kote-Men-Do. In other
words, based on this fundamental Kata, students and teachers can apply it
to more Waza as they continue to advance and teach Kendo. It is very important
to have a solid foundation of basics to develop upon and this Kihon Kata
can be part of that.
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