THU 05-JUL: Our first training session and meet-up was at the Shek Tong Tsui Athletic Centre in Sai Wan. The complex is on the 5th floor of a municipal building and has courts available for Squash, Ping Pong, and Badminton, as well as a couple of multi-purpose rooms; one of which we used for the Iaido class.
This special session was booked by the local HK Kendo Association rep of the Iaido division for our sakes and we were extremely grateful for this added opportunity to train and get to know each other.
Ms. Agnes Lee has 3 Dan Iaido and 5 Dan Kendo, and her technique, along with her students, show this experience, feeling and solid basics. Being such a small group, they haven't had any local options to grade, so their ranks: a couple of 1 Dan, and a couple of 2 Dan, show the quality as expected from being awarded in Tokyo.
The training session was especially rewarding, finally having the opportunity to do Iaido in HK. We had the room from 9pm - 11pm and the most of it.
After bowing in, we shared warm-up exercises. Nothing too different, as expected. We followed with about an hour of self practice and then some embu, which is typical of visits such as these.
Hanna performed 5 x Seitei-gata with two other students, while I did 5 x Koryu with Ms. Lee. It was a good opportunity to show our differences in MSR and MJER. The club's exposure to Koryu has been relatively lacking as Iai is still in its infancy Hong Kong. Following the Japanese schedule, Koryu is not required for grading until 4 Dan, so introduction has been slow.
Following practice, we proceeded to a nearby McDonalds for a little socializing. Turns out a couple of the members, including Ms Lee, have lived in Canada for an extended period of time and their command of the English language showed. Hanna was sure relieved at that. =)
It was a fun evening. Tomorrow evening, we do it all again. ^_^ First, we visit Ocean Park to see the Pandas!!!!
*Edit: We were supposed to meet again on FRI 06-JUL, but a family dinner went over time. Nevertheless, our brief encounter on Thursday was memorable and we hope it is a start to a lasting relationship.