忍耐 + 掌握人生
Yatta! New Horizon
Monday, 6 August @ Five Dock & UNSW
The kendo delegate leader of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force contacted the Association a few weeks ago that they would visit dojo around Sydney this week. So I was very excited the whole day, looking forward to the Monday evening's keiko. When I rocked up to the dojo that night, I was in total shock. Goodness me, I thought there would only be 5 or 6 visitors, but no, there werer 23 of them! Woohooo!!!
The hall in Five Dock is usually roomy enough to cater for about 8 pairs of people doing jigeiko. Tonight, however, there were 20 pairs doing jigeiko at the same time. And with most of the navy visitors young and fast, we were literally bumping into each other every 10 seconds. Hiki-waza was not a good idea in such a small confined space when you couldn't see what was behind you. You simply could not back out, so it really brought the intensity up, by forcing you to make a real effort to pressure in and go for the next cut. With spirited kiai echoing from every corner of the dojo, and the high intensity and energy flowing around, I had an extremely enjoyable keiko with many of the visitors.
After the Five Dock keiko finished, I took Daisuke and Yoshi to UNSW for the last 30mins jigeiko session. What a great kendo night!
Wednesday, 8 August @ Willoughby
Six navy officers visited the Willoughby dojo. After a short suburi and uchikomi-geiko session. We had jigeiko for the rest of the night. I was able to play all 6 visitors.
After the keiko finished, we went to the nearby Willoughby pub for a cool down biru-geiko session.
Feedback from Maeda Sensei:
Maeda Sensei noticed that my men cut was not straight - I twisted my body to reach out more with my right arm. So he adviced me to pay more attention on doing a straight and square men cut during practice.
Thursday, 9 August @ UNSW
I had a bit of fever, and decided during the day that I would rest for the night. However, I still went to UNSW, driving Daisuke and Elaine to the training, and watching the Navy officers having their last training session in Sydney before sailing off to Darwin.
There were a lot of people turned up to the training that night, so the dojo was quite full (though it was still far from the Monday night Five Dock scene just days ago).
My 'moment of glory' of the night was banging on the taiko every 2 minutes for the short mawari jigeiko session.
Saturday, 11 August @ Wollongong - 3 Dan Grading
I drove Ceciljia and Elaine to Wollongong. And for the whole 1.5 hrs trip, we were screaming on top of our lungs like crazy, doing the JAWS theme song, but will a kendo twist. It was so much fun and I certainly had a lot of exercises to my abdominal and facial muscles from laughing so much.
A seminar was held in the morning , where Sano Sensei led the Dan group; Payne Sensei with the Kyu group; and Rixon Sensei took the beginner group.
In the Dan group, Sano Sensei drew our attention on maai (distance) and how to take the centre by using seme and waza.
Following the seminar was the junior 'balloon' competition and the state association's AGM.
At 2pm, registration for grading began. There were 90 people grading from 6 Kyu to 3 Dan. Amongst them, nine people tested for 3 Dan. Two grading panels were set up - one for 6 kyu to 2 kyu; the other for 1 kyu to 3 dan.
After about 1 hour of watching the 1 kyu to 2 dan exams, it was finally my turn to try for 3 dan. My first match was against Dwight from the Burwood Korean kumdo club, and my 2nd match against Rocky from University of Sydney Kendo Club. I felt quite happy with my first match performance - I was confident and landed a few cuts in my first match. However, I wasn't quite sure about the second one - I felt I was a bit rushed and couldn't find my own rhythm during the match with Rocky, who launched some rapid attacks throughout the match.
I was the first to finish both my 3 dan jitsugi matches, and so I was able to enjoy and watched and enjoyed the performance of other 3 dan exam participants.
After all the dan grade jitsugi exams finished, we waited for about 10 minutes and finally, Rixon Sensei announced the grading codes of those who passed the jitsugi section to prepare for the kata examination.
In Japan, 3 Dan only has to do Kata 1-7. But in Australia, on top of Kata 1-7, we are also examined on Kodachi 1-3. Again, I was paired up with Dwight, and performed the shidachi role. Thanks to the help of all the sensei in the past months, I was able to complete the kata portion with great confidence.
With the completion of both jitsugi and kata sessions, I handed in my exam paper on 'the importance of kirikaeshi' to the grading panel.
While the grading panels were collating and finalising the grading results, a free jigeiko session was arranged. I had a keiko with Yuko Tanaka who was having a short holiday in Canberra in the previous week. Her favourite tricks were feint-men to kote and kaeshi-do. It was enjoyable to play her again, and I was keen to taste her tricks and see how I fared this time since our last keiko in Tokyo in January. Unfortunately, the 30 minutes jigeiko session was over too quickly and so we only had a short keiko with each other. Nonetheless it was enjoyable. Ah, but it would be nice if we had more time...
And so, the results of the grading were announced. A total of 78 people passed the exams ranging from 6 kyu to 3 dan. Amongst them, 6 passed 3 dan. And I was one of them! Yatta!!!!
Sunday, 12 August @ Wollongong - Founders Cup Team Championships
An early morning rise again. This time, I had the companionship of Elaine and Daisuke in the 1.5 hrs drive, and arrived to Wollongong at around 8:30am.
When I arrived to the venue, Itakura Sensei notified me that I would be in the Dan Kata competition with Nishimoto-san. As time drew closer to the kata competition, Nishimoto-san was nowhere to be seen. So instead, Daisuke was quickly nominated to be my kata partner, and we did a super quick run-through of Kata 1-7.
Of course, with that little preparation and partnership, there were quite a bit of stuff-ups during the kata competition. Basically as soon as we performed ippon-me, we both knew it was over. All we could do was to enjoy performing the rest of the kata routine (without anymore stuff-ups). The funniest thing from this hilarious impromptu kata partnership was that, on two occasions, Daisuke made a slightly incorrect move and apologised so loud that I think everyone around the court could hear. In normal situation, the pair would carry on the rest of the kata routine as if nothing wrong happened. But this time, however, there was no intention to cover up the stuff-ups whatsoever. In Ropponme, our kote-suriage-kote partnership completely failed, however, Daisuke suriage'd me again and again until he successfully suriage'd me. Ah, my goodness. Poor Daisuke, he was so traumatized after the impromptu kata performance that he vowed to win all his matches in the afternoon's dan team competition.
For the rest of the morning, I shinpan'ed for the womens team competition and also managed to do a bit of study on the side.
At around 2pm, the Founders Cup Dan Team competition began. In my team, we had Daisuke (senpo), Jayson (jiho), myself (chuken), Toshio (fukusho), and Yoshihiro (taisho).
Our first match was against Han Rim Won. Our team performed strongly, winning the first round 4-0. For me, I drew my match 1-1. During the match, I did a tsuki which landed dead on the tsuki-dare. I was really hoping that the referees would give me a point on that, but maybe my posture wasn't convincing enough... but it was encouraging to be able to tsuki on the target under pressurised situation.
In the semi-final, we faced last year's winner - University of Sydney Kendo Club. In my match, I played against Louis Estrada who was a nito player. He is certainly an up and rising star, and it really amazes me with his lightning fast learning and improvement rate. Anyway, back to the match... I won my match with a gyaku-do - my first ever gyaku-do point in a competition setting. In the end, my team won with an overall score of 4-1.
Last year's Founders Cup, I fought Ka-bi (UNSW) in the senpo position. This year in the Dan Team Final, Ka-bi and I crossed sword again. But this time, both of us were in the chuken position.
Daisuke started off our final campaign strongly, taking out his opponent convincingly 2-0. Jayson carried on the momentum by winning his match 2-1.
After fighting a chudan player and a nito player in the previous two rounds, I had to fight Ka-bi the jodan master in the final. I tried to move around and threaten Ka-bi as much as possible, but in the end, Ka-bi was the stronger one, taking both points with beautiful katate-men.
Toshio drew his fukusho match. With 2 win : 1 draw : 1 loss, our team had a nice lead coming into the taisho match - Yoshihiro Fuchita vs. Michael Henstock. It was an extremely exciting and beautiful match to watch. I was able to sense the intensed tension going on between the two. Michael took the first point with an extremely convincing tobikomi-men cut. Yoshihiro then equalised with a lightning fast kote. The time was ticking by... could Yoshi hold on to the team score lead, would Michael come up with another ippon... the tension was certainly running very high by that point. Then, Michael launched into a tobikomi-men, and Yoshihiro saw that and countered with a nuki-do. PAMMM!!! Do-ari. Yoshihiro took the last point of the Championships, and our team won the Dan Team Final!
Thanks to David Banbury and Twins for the following photos.
Click here for more Founders Cup photos taken by David Banbury