Monday, 15 July 2013

2013 Tokyo Iaido Judging and Technical Instruction Seminar: Overview

On Saturday, July 6, 2013, Hanna and I attended the Tokyo Judging & Technical Instruction Seminar held at the Takinokawa Gym in the Northern District. Having attended the same event in 2009, we were expecting a long, but productive day of learning and training.

Wide-space, no Air-Con, 34C outside.... long day
Let's all get naked!...seriously, that's what we do here
The seminar was broken down into four parts separated by a short break and lunch:
  • Shimpan Overview - All Participants (Instructors & Students)
  • Shimpan and General seminar - Participants split into dan groups
  • Shimpan Key Points - All Participants (Instructors & Students)
  • Shimpan and General seminar (cont'd) - Participants split into dan groups

Leading the entire program was Aoki Eiji sensei (Hanshi 8 dan), whose dignified and commanding presence, not to mention his experience and depth of instruction, belied his relatively young age (mid-60s). His speeches during the Shimpan Overview and Key Points segments broached no argument, even among the many older 8 dans in the instructor groups.

Aoki Eiji sensei. Picture courtesy of
Court distribution: 4 dan-, 5 dan, 6 dan, and 7 dan
Following each of these imposing yet encouraging speeches, the participants were split into their rank (dan) groups to receive guidance on judging (5 dan+) and general techniques (4 dan and below). The groups each had two 8 dan instructors to lead the way, a rare opportunity even in Tokyo.

Group instructors included:
  • 7 Dan: Ito Tomoharu, Maruyama Yoshiaki
  • 6 Dan: Yoshimura Kenichi, Shirasu Kimiya
  • 5 Dan: Koyama Takanobu, Kaneda Kazuhisa
  • 4 Dan: Hatakenaka Atsumi, Ito Shigeo(?)

5 dan+ worked on judging using members as guinea pigs
5 dan group lead by Koyama and Kaneda sensei

As usual, the notes (to be shared in my next post) are only possible due to the diligence and effort of my wife, Hanna. I'm sure it is mostly her growing relationship with Hatakenaka sensei that allowed us to be accepted as honorary members of the Shinjuku Iaido groups:

Lunch was fantastic as usual and ready for pickup at the registration tables just as our stomachs started to growl.

Green tea and Bento!! Soooo gooood!
Beautifully packaged and sorted.
The seminar was completed with demonstrations from the 7 dan groups. Several individuals really stood out for Hanna and I. If we can find out their names, will let you all know ;)

Attitude while spectating is just as important as demonstrating
Future 8 dan? Some, most definitely!
Up next: 2013 Tokyo Iaido Judging and Technical Instruction Seminar: Wisdom from Aoki Sensei

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