Ono Ha Itto Ryu Seminar Germany May 2016

Published on June 20, 2016 by in News

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Ono Ha Itto Ryu Germany SeminarI have just returned from an Oho Ha Itto Ryu (OHIR) Kenjutsu Seminar held in Pforzheim, Germany attended by senior Japanese teachers as well as practitioners from across Europe.

Ono Ha Itto Ryu  (one sword style) is a traditional Japanese sword art which dates back to 1500’s and the schools headmasters were the sword instructors to both the second and third shoguns in Japan.

It was great to catchup with people that I had met in Italy in 2013 from the Italian, German and Belgian study groups. This year, like 2013, I was the only attendee from the UK.  The teachers, Kaiwa Sensei and Ishizaki Sensei were really open with everyone and wanted us to take as much away with us as we could handle.  During the 4 days, I don’t think we finished on time as there were always options to have a little more knowledge…

The curriculum has over 150 techniques or Waza and this time, we managed to cover the first 50 techniques (which was a new record – so I am not sure my brain will be able to cope next year if they try to beat that record!) and if you know the style, you know how much that is to cover in 20 hours of training.

My goal was to try and remember both sides of the first 10 waza, as well as the basic warmups and kihon practice.  We will also be introducing this style into the monthly curriculum as it is a lot of fun.

Currently there are no official OHIR groups in the UK under the guidance of the current Soke, we practice under licence via the KNBK (another great reason to join).

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KNBK Plymouth Seminar June 2016

Published on June 16, 2016 by in News

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13510649_1144132172295644_99135284_nWe just finished a wonderful seminar at the KNBK dojo in Plymouth.

We had a group of over 24 enthusiastic participants over the last 4 days where we covered Batto-Ho, kumitachi and suemonogiri. Everybody worked very hard and did extremely well. Thank you all for coming and supporting this very good and flawless organised event.

A special thank you to David and Tre Worsley for opening their house and for the good care to Kenneth and me.

It was nice to meet new and old friends. Looking forward seeing you all at future events

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UK Bokken Bootcamp May 2016

Published on May 30, 2016 by in News

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Due to the ongoing security issues in Europe, it was decided that for those traveling from mainland Europe to the UK KNBK Seminar, we would make it Bokken only so it would be easier for people to get here without weapons.  It also gave us a good opportunity to therefore spend 3 days practicing paired waza which we don’t get to practice that much with  lots of different partners.

We had an ambitious plan to spend 3 days covering

  • MJER Tachi Uchi no Kurai
  • Battoho Katachi
  • OHIR Kata 1 – 5 plus practice drills

I am pleased to say we managed to cram in all of the waza and everyone had a great time.  It was also good to get a US perspective from Ramirez Sensei who came along to the UK seminar and then travelled on with us to the OHIR Seminar the following week in Germany.

I want to thank everyone who attended any of the sessions and now we have a training format and locations for each day we look to build that in for 2017 – and we are already looking at planning.

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Ono-ha Itto-ryu Kenjutsu in Gradara Italy

Published on October 31, 2015 by in News

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ohir-italyIn June 2015, Carl Long, Hanshi, Kako Lee, Renshi, and I had the chance to visit beautiful Gradara, Italy to attend an Ono Ha Itto Ryu Kenjutsu seminar with Takemi Sasamori, Soke. On this particular occasion, Kawakami Sensei and Asai Sensei accompanied Sasamori Soke to assist in the instruction. It was a very intense seminar in which we received meticulous instruction in the first 25 kumitachi, and closing the training with all participants being asked to perform an Enbu in which we had to choose to demonstrate either the first kumitachi or the next ten kumitachi, demonstrating both the shikata and uchikata roles.

As an aside, we were extremely thrilled to that Soke was making a trip to Europe for the third year in a row. I was able to train under his guidance in Italy in 2013, and then again in June of 2014 in Pforzheim, Germany. Yabuki Sensei and Sekiguchi Sensei accompanied him for that particular seminar, during which we trained intensively if the first 15 kumitachi.

Long Hanshi and Lee Renshi flew from the United States to Ireland where the took a connection to Bologna, Italy. I flew from Brussels, Belgium where I met up with them for the 90 minute drive to Gabicce Mare, where we stayed in a hotel 300 feet away from the beautiful Adriatic Sea. In the evening we went to Gradara Castle for dinner at a pizzeria where we were warmly welcomed by some members of Ono Ha Itto Ryu Italy.

The seminar itself , which proved to be a very intensive four days of training, began on Friday. As was the case two years prior, there was a wonderful feeling shared between all the participants. It is difficult to describe the feelings that we had due to warm way in which our Italian hosts welcomed us; it was as if we were long-lost family member who they had dearly missed.

Over the course of the seminar, everything was explained in Japanese and at the same time simultaneously translated into both Italian and English by Koji Watanabe Sensei.

On Friday we received in-depth instruction in kihon and the first ten kumitachi, training in temperatures of 35° C (95°F). Within minutes our keikogi were thoroughly soaked. We trained from 9:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., and were completely exhausted by the end of the day. On Saturday after warming up (as if that was necessary with the scorching heat!) and reviewing the first ten kumitachi, Sasamori Soke provided instruction in the kumitachi from 11 to 24. Once again, we were exhausted from a day of training that went from 9:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m..

We then took part in a special reception and a dinner with Sasamori Soke. At the dinner Long Hanshi was invited to sit beside Soke at his table. The rest of us mingled with the other participants who had come from coming from the Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Macedonia, Switzerland, the United States, and of course, Italy.

Sunday was the grand finale of the seminar, during which we practiced the kumitachi from 25 to 50. This was absolute unique that the full series was shown outside of Japan! Following this, all participants performed embu for Sasamori Soke’s review.

To say that this seminar was rigourous is a great understatement. To quote Ishizaki Sensei, “the training was inhuman” and if you compare it to the seminar two years earlier, during which we received training in the first 25 kumitachi over the course of three days (with much lower temperatures!), you probably understand that training 50 kumitachi in four days, especially with such hot weather, is simply brutal on the body and mind! As evidence, all one had to do was to look at the feet of many of the participants, whose soles and toes were taped up because of extensive blistering!

It goes without saying that this was yet again a unique budo experience, and we look forward to further training opportunities with Sasamori Soke in the future. Although Sasamori Soke has indicated that he will not do much intercontinental travel in the future, plans are already set for him to teach another seminar in Europe next year, this time returning to Pforzheim, Germany.

I want to thank the people of Ono-ha Itto Ryu Italia once again for being such wonderful hosts. I also would like to thank Long Hanshi and Lee Renshi for the good time we had together, and last but not least, all the participants and the partners I worked with who helped me get through so many kumitachi.

I look forward to training in the coming months with with the people from the Belgium Ono-ha Itto Ryu Keikojo, as well and Andre Otome from Germany (who lived in Japan for eight years, training with Sasamori Soke) to keep polishing my practise of Ono-ha Itto Ryu. There is only one way to improve: practice, practice, practice, and afterwards………… more practice.  And I’m looking forward meeting some of you at an event somewhere in the world in the near future!

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10th Annual European KNBK Gasshuku

Published on October 31, 2015 by in News

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It was great to attend the 10th European Gasshuku in Antwerp, Belgium.  It is always something that goes in the new diary as soon as I get one and always look forward to seeing everyone for 3 to 4 days of Seito Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iai Heiho.  This year was no exception and we covered a lot of waza in 3 days of practice.

Friday 

  • Kihon
  • Happogiri
  • Cutting drills
  • Chuden Waza – Hasegawa Eishin Ryu
  • Battoho
  • Gradings – It was good to see everyone who took a grading passed.  Even those who didn’t realise they would be tested.

Saturday

  • Kihon
  • Happogiri
  • Cutting drills
  • Seiza no Bu – Omori Ryu
  • Battoho

Sunday

  • Tachi Uchi No Kurai
  • Katachi set

Being called out to demonstrate waza in front of the group was an interesting new experience.  I guess the responsibility that goes with rank.

We had a group meal on the friday at a Chinese restaurant and on Saturday night at an American style diner and I can’t write this without mentioning the massive burgers that a couple of people ordered.  You can see pictures of these of Facebook.

I left on the Sunday so missed out on the Italian restaurant.  All in all a great seminar, it was really nice to catchup with old friends and meet new ones.  Participants came from Belgium, France, Gibraltar, Holland, Malta, and the UK.  A truly European event!

Thanks to Mebis Sensei for a great fast paced Seminar and to Kenneth Matthys for organising the lunches, drinks and evening meals. A lot of effort goes into this kind of thing – I know.  The fact most people don’t see this is a good thing as it means nothing went wrong!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at an event soon….

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The Second UK KNBK Iaijutsu Seminar

Published on May 31, 2015 by in News

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UK Seminar Photo 2015The members of the Kokusai Nippon Budo Kai here in the United Kingdom were proud to host our Second UK KNBK Iaijutsu Seminar with Carl Long Hanshi this past May. This year we had a flying visit from Long Sensei as he had obligations both in the UK for this seminar as well as in Italy for the Ono-ha Itto Ryu Kenjutsu seminar with Takemi Sasamori Soke ten days later.

As such, his trip was was somewhat shortened to allow him time to get back to the United Stated before making the return trip to Europe.

On Hanshi’s first day we managed to take in some sightseeing and visited Canterbury Cathedral and the city itself. We stopped for lunch next to the river and sat watching unagi swimming up and down, as well as boats of tourists on history tours. Hopefully everyone who came had a good day.

The biggest thing that happened before the seminar started on the Saturday was we had an earthquake. Well apparently,  we had an earthquake; I slept through it.

Saturday 23rd May saw the start of the second UK Iaijutsu seminar hosted by the KNBK, taught by Long Hanshi, and assisted by Marc Mebis Doshi and Bob Morris Doshi. As in the previous year’s event, we had attendees from the UK, Belgium, Spain, Gibraltar, and the USA. It was great to see so many practioners of Iaijutsu from inside and outside the organization come together, train together and become part of the family.

Over the course of the weekend we covered the Eishin Ryu Battoho, Omori Ryu (Shoden Waza) and some of the Hasagawa Eishin Ryu (Chuden Waza). Oh yes, we all love tatehiza. We also managed to squeeze in some Katachi, which is something we all enjoy but never seem to get enough practice in on this side of the pond.

We had two great days training and I took away many details to work on. Plus I have to learn to project my voice a bit more; those who were there will know what I mean!

Outside of the training it was great to spend time with everyone and the meals on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Breaking bread is just as enjoyable as the training and again, I always seem to come away with some new insight.

Also I think my wife enjoys the fact I can waffle on about swords with other people so she doesn’t have to listen to it!

I want to thank everyone that took time out from their families to come and train in the UK with us. I would love to have Long Hanshi and other US members over for a longer period of time as there is always so much to learn and the quality of the teaching and answering all our questions patiently.

With the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai World Butoku Sai in Kyoto in 2016, we will not be holding a UK KNBK Seminar in 2016 but there are plans for regional gatherings as the UK family grows.

The next time anyone from Europe will be able to receive training directly from Long Hanshi will be at Hombu for the KNBK and instructors seminar in November.

Again I want to personally thank Long Hanshi and Morris Doshi for travelling across the globe to our little part of the world. Even more so as they had been before and still they came back. I look forward to training with everyone else at some point in the future and look to host something in the UK in the future.

 

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European Koshukai and Gasshuku 2013

Published on October 22, 2013 by in News

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I have just returned from a very eventful and fun pack week in Belgium where I attended both the KNBK Koshukai and Gasshuku.

This was my first instructors seminar and I was not too sure what that would involved. The good news was I was totally amongst friends as I have trained with all of the other European instructors over the last few years. We had instructors from the UK, Belgium, Holland, Spain, as well as the US.

The event was held at a new sports centre in Wetteren , Belgium, (Thanks for arranging that Kenneth – I would love to have this as my home dojo) they have a fantastic matted dojo which came in very useful during the Omori Ryu instruction – my knees were grateful. The group was a small group which meant we moved at a good pace and had very good feedback on our individual practice. We also managed to get through a lot of kata. We covered:

  • Batto Ho
  • Omori Ryu
  • 5 Chuden Waza
  • Okuiai Tachiwaza
  • Tachi uchi no kurai

I found the instruction from Long Hanshi invaluable as ever and have taken a lot of things away with me to work on over the coming year.

Also working tai sabaki with Lee Sensei was a great help – Domo arigato gozaimashita!

It was great to get some much work in on the Tachi uchi no kurai set as it is something a few of us had not practiced that in depth. We got to work with several different partners which meant we got to work on kiri-ma and practice with different timings. Always fun!

The 4 days seemed to literally fly by and before you knew it we were saying goodbye.

Congratulations
A note of congratulations to all those who graded or were awarded titles , with two quick mentions, to my brother from another mother, Marc Mebis who was awarded his Godan (and puts up with me crashing his events every year), and to Kako Lee who was awarded her Doushi, which is very well deserved.

A few of us took a trip on the last day of Sensei’s visit to Amsterdam, but like Las Vegas, what happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam. Suffice to say it was a great day and evening!

Many thanks go to Mebis Sensei for organising another flawless event and ferrying everyone around. Not sure how you did all that driving around in the middle of the night and still managed to train. And thanks to our teachers who flew half way around the world to train us and break bread with us each night. Those “fireside” chats are just as important and rewarding as the keiko.

Really looking forward to next year’s event and have it in the diary already!

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