Posts 2012

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December 2012 | Training with friends

We would like to thank our brothers from the Montreal Kendo Club for their visit!

We had a great practice and then celebrated together as usual.

December 2012 | Grading time !

Shidokan had a 100% success rate in both kendo and iaido gradings. Congratulations !!

For Iai grading; in the morning before the exam we participated in a seminar where finishing touches were put on our katas by very experienced and patient Sensei. In the evening we celebrated the complete success with a Japanese dinner. Early next morning we took part in the Iaido class given by Cruise Sensei at Etobicoke.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our dear Friend, Ohmi Goyo Sensei for he has been recently awarded 'Kyoshi'
In Iaido or Kendo, "Kyoshi" status could be considered as having a PhD.

November 2012 | The First Quebec Provincial Kendo Championship

On November 3rd, Shidokan traveled to Granby for The First Quebec Provincial Kendo Championship, previously known as the Granby Kendo Tournament. It was the 10th such competition, and the first officially named "Championat Provincial de Kendo".

84 participants from 7 dojo took part: AMS, Granby, Isshin, McGill, Montreal, Quebec, and Shidokan. Shidokan brought a very strong contingent of 18 participants.

We set our sights high for this tournament, motivated by the good results achieved previously at the Montreal Taikai.

Thanks to Granby Kendo Club for the video extract
- Shidokan "A" at 22:15

This time around we were well represented in all divisions: 4 participants in the women’s division; 6 participants in the Kyu division; 4 participants in the Shodan-Nidan division and 4 participants in the Sandan and up division. Once again, we had a few members participating in their first tournament. It was a great learning experience for them as they got to experience the heat of the battle that they only anticipated before. Each of us, however experienced, learned something about our kendo that can only be learned in the tournament setting.

Shidokan made a strong impression in the kyu division, with many members winning multiple fights, and we ultimately captured a silver medal. We also represented well in the shodan-nidan division, winning a bronze medal after a Shidokan showdown for 3rd place. In the team division, Shidokan A fought it's way to a silver medal with confidence, after a dramatically close match against McGill Kendo Club which was all tied up after 4 fights.

It is the best result for Shidokan in the team category in recent memory, and an improvement from the bronze medal finish at the last Montreal Taikai - we are thrilled!

October 2012 | Shidokan Mini-Taikai

"The heat of the battle can be brutal and confusing..."

Many things happen during a kendo tournament; pressure, etiquette, rules. For an experienced kendoka all these factors are simply the norm, but for a kendoka without experience, the formalities of entering the ring (shiai-jo) might seem extremely difficult.

In preparation for upcoming tournaments Shidokan seniors prepared an internal Mini-Taikai.
In order to complement our training and to give our members the opportunity to experience ‘combat pressure’ in real time.

It was a great experience for all of us; many of our junior members were exposed to pressure in combat, shiai rules and etiquette for the 1st time. It was also a great opportunity for our senior members to sharpen their judging skills being able to recognize an ippon very confidently.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our beginners who acted as volunteers keeping the time, the score and placing the tasuki (colored ribbon) on the competitors. Without them we could not have accomplished our goal.

Arigato !

September 2012 | Cruise Sensei shows us the art of drawing the sword.

The day after the Montreal Kendo tournament held at McGill U., we continued our weekend with a wonderful Iaido seminar, graciously led by Cruise Sensei, (Iaido 7th dan & Kendo 5th dan).

Cruise Sensei was invited as a Shimpan (Judge) at the Kendo tournament the day before and since he was in town we couldn't miss this great opportunity. We were also joined by Gilles Valiquette Sensei and his students.

We started with some warm-up exercises designed to help the student discern between the cutting angles of Seitei-iai and Omoryu-ryu schools. We then proceeded to work through the the 12 Seitei-iai katas.

We paid special attention to the movement of the right hand and the fact that it should never cross the center line. We were as always very happy and honoured to receive Cruise Sensei’s visit. His dedication to iaido and his passion to teaching the most appropriate details for each of our levels are very much appreciated.

Arigato Cruise Sensei !

September 2012 | Montreal Taikai

On the 8th of September a battalion of Shidokan kenshi attended the 4th annual Montreal Taikai which was held at McGill University. Over 150 participants from over 16 dojos across Canada and the US participated in this tournament. The divisions were kyu-shodan, 2-3dan, 4dan up, women, and teams.

Our members trained hard for this taikai throughout the summer, and with a purpose. Our hard work materialized in the form of strong performances and places on the podium: bronze in the team division, bronze for Yan in 2-3 dan division, and a silver for Tong in the kyu-shodan division. Congratulations!

For some of us it was our first tournament, others among us are experienced competitors, but we all approached this tournament with a new focus and determination: to perform at a higher level than we ever had before. We were able to put to test the hard work we've put in over the summer, and the results were encouraging. Our members fought with a new fire, with confidence in their kendo, and confidence in their ability to score points, win matches, and win medals. We are delighted and proud of our accomplishments, we've set a new standard for ourselves, and now the work begins to maintain and improve upon it, to push ourselves to new heights yet.

We would like to thank our volunteers for their time and effort, without them tournaments like these would not be possible. We would also like to extend our thanks to our brothers at MKC for allowing us to practice and stay sharp over the month that our dojo was closed for maintenance. Above all, our sincerest gratitude to Santoso Sensei, Matsuura Sensei, and Tsuji Sensei for their guidance, support, and faith in us. We truly owe our success to them.

August 2012 | Etobicoke Olympium Kendo / Iaido Club 31st Anniversary

Etobicoke Olympium Kendo Iaido Club hosted an Open Seminar for all Kendo & Iaido members, in celebration of its 31st Anniversary.

The seminar was led by three sensei from Keishicho (Tokyo Police Force): Tomoharu Ito Sensei (Kendo & Iaido 8 Dan), Fuminori Kodama Sensei, Masanobu Hirose Sensei.

Ito sensei is unbelievable in his movements; he reinforced the natural and martial spirit
in seitei kata(s). He went back to the roots; -timing and intent is above the concept of "showing that you can use a sword".

Ito sensei encouraged all kendoka to view the iaido seminar to better understand and improve one's kendo.

August 2012 | Omachi Kendo Club seminar at MKC

On August 10th and 11th we were invited by our friends from Montreal Kendo Club to attend a kendo seminar conducted by Ryuichi Kimura Sensei, Kyoshi 7th dan. Kimura Sensei was accompanied by 10 members (5 adults, 5 students) from the MKC sister club, Omachi Kendo Club from Nagano, Japan .

On Friday we spent most of the time practicing and reviewing the kendo kata. Emphasis was placed on the fact that the uchidachi is the teacher and that the shidachi must follow in everything starting from the etiquette and following through with the rhythm of the kata. We still had time for a short godo-keiko between the Japanese guests and the Montreal contingent.

On Saturday, the seminar was conducted around a Shiai simulation. Participants from 8 dojos in Quebec were split into 4 categories: women, mudansha, shodan-nidan and san-dan and higher. Within each group several pools of participants were formed and we all had the chance to fight 3 times in a round-robin format. After each fight we received valuable advice from the Omachi Sensei(s). We concluded with 2 hours of godo-keiko, where we had the privilege to fight most of the Japanese guests. We were privileged to witness first hand the very high level of kendo of many high ranking Sensei(s).

We would like to express again our gratitude towards our friends from Montreal Kendo Club for inviting us to such an amazing seminar.

August 2012 | Otakuthon !

Shidokan was invited to participate in this year’s anime convention: “Otakuthon”. The event took place at the Montreal Congress Palace. It was a great opportunity for our members to share the wonders of kendo with many potential kendoka, giving them the opportunity to try a few hits. It sure was fun.

We would like to thank the Otakuthon organizers for the kind invitation and our sincere gratitude to all our members who volunteered to participate in this event, specially our brothers from MKC who gave us a hand !

July 2012 | Shidokan competitive reunion in Waterloo

On July 14th Shidokan kendoka(s) from far and wide met in Waterloo to compete together in the 25th anniversary of the University of Waterloo Kendo Club.

From Montreal 7 members made the trip. From Battle Creek Matsuura Sensei and his student and team USA member Travis Hill joined us.

On Saturday we participated in the tournament that had 4 individual divisions, women, sho-dan and lower, ni-dan and san-dan, and yon-dan and higher. From the Montreal members the best performance in the individual matches belonged to Juan-Francisco who managed to advance to the court-final.

The Battle Creek contingent had an amazing performance with Travis winning the gold medal in the ni-dan and san-dan division and Matsuura Sensei advancing to the court final to meet the most famous Waterloo Kendo Club alumni, Taro Ariga Sensei, 7th dan.

In the team division we had the privilege to form a team with Shidokan members from Battle Creek and Montreal . We qualified to the second round but met with the Toronto Kendo club team and after fighting them with all our spirit we were tied after 5 matches. It was decided in Daihyoshu-sen.

It was a great feeling to be able to have a reunion with the Shidokan members from Battle Creek in competition. We visited them before and they visited us but this was the first time we had the chance to compete together. At night we celebrated Travis’ gold medal and our reunion with a special bottle of champagne provided to us for this special occasion by Santoso Sensei. We vowed to have these reunions many more times in the future.

On the second day of the event we participated in a godo-keiko with all the high ranking Sensei(s) that attended the anniversary festivities. It was a great chance for us to experience exquisite kendo first hand.

Once again our immense gratitude to Matsuura Sensei and to Travis for granting us the privilege to fight amongst them as Shidokan brothers.

July 2012 | A hot week in June!

During the week of June 30th we were lucky to have 2 days of practice with Shidokan Legend: Yutaro Matsuura Sensei, 6th dan, Shidokan member from Battle Creek , Michigan . It was a very hot week and our usual two hours practices got even more intense and demanding, pushing us all to our limits.

As it is the tradition of our dojo, both practices were focused on the fundamentals, namely hitting a proper men-uchi. During the first practice we looked at the depth of the strike and the length of the stride.

At the end of the practice Matsuura Sensei took the time to fight all of us and through his own example emphasized that we should treat all fights the same way, no matter who we fight, we should always give our 100%. After the practice we enjoyed some well deserved refreshments, food and some great kendo talk.

On the second practice we looked at different drills that can help us achieve the proper form that we studied on Monday. Again we all fought with Matsuura Sensei in preparation for the tournament in Waterloo that we were going to attend in a week’s time.

We can't thank enough Matsuura Sensei for his dedication towards Shidokan and the great effort he makes to visit us, Always making sure we are on the right track.
Our immense gratitude Matsuura Sensei!

June 2012 | Shidokan welcomes Kohara Midori !

This summer we received a wonderful surprise. One of Funamoto Sensei's direct students: Kohara Midori has returned to Shidokan after a few years of absence.

Midori-sempai trained with Matsuura Sensei, Tsuji Sensei and Santoso Sensei within the first Shidokan generation. We are very thrilled to have her back with us and we'll make sure to make her feel at home.

May 2012 | Shidokan the proudest and loudest at Granby !

On April 28th, 16 Shidokan kenshi participated in the bi-annual Granby Kendo Tournament. In total 99 participants (20% more than in November) from AMS, Granby, UdM, McGill, MKC, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Shidokan competed.

Shidokan had another successful day capturing 4 medals. In the womens' division Ruby earned the silver medal, beating a ni-dan player on her way to the final. In the mudansha division we took two of the three top spots just like in November, but this time Benjamin won the gold medal.

Juan Francisco won the bronze medal after losing to Benjamin in the semi-final, which was one of the best matches in the entire kyu division. In the sho-dan/ni-dan division Len won the bronze medal playing nito style (two swords). He beat Tong in the semi-final, another fiercely contested match.

Shidokan played in 2 of the 4 final matches and we also had numerous semi-final matches played between two Shidokan kenshi. Our theme for the day from the warmup to the final was UNITY (Our gratitude to Matsuura Sensei since it was his initiative), and we made sure to loudly encourage our members even when they were fighting each other. We were the loudest club from the warmup to the final matches that we participated in.
The Shidokan spirit was very present at Granby and we will make sure that we display the same spirit at all our practices.

Congratz Shidokan !

April 2012 | Basics, basics, basics

At the end of March we were very happy to receive a visit from Funamoto sensei’s direct student, 6th dan Matsuura Sensei. Proudly wearing his old Shidokan Zekken and Tenugui he was ready to lead a wonderful two day seminar.

We started the weekend with a joint practice with our friends from Montreal Kendo Club and McGill University Kendo Club. During the suburi and kihon periods of this practice Matsuura Sensei reminded everybody that we should attempt every technique with utmost conviction an make every attempted strike count as an ippon.

Most of the practice was devoted to ji-keiko which gave everyone the opportunity to fight with Matsuura Sensei and with everybody else. Each of us engaged in at least 20 fights, giving our best effort to honour our opponents by giving our 100% in every fight. After practice we refuelled our energy with food and refreshments at PJ’s.

We continued on Saturday morning with more kendo. We spent the morning session working on the men strike. Matsuura sensei reminded us that even if “men-uchi” is the first technique that we learn, it should not be considered a beginners’ technique, and it can be improved on at every level. We reflected upon the basics of footwork and the men strike, and we all tried to apply them and improve on them at our respective level.

After two hours of footwork and men we took a lunch break. During this break we had a chance to witness Matsuura Sensei’s proficiency with origami. Some of our member tried their hand at this Japanese art as well with decent results although anyone could tell the difference.

In the afternoon we started with some very intensive kirikaeshi waza that left us all almost exhausted within 30 minutes. After a short break we continued with ji-keiko. Again everybody had a chance to fight with everybody. Towards the end we were all treated to a fight between Hanitijo Sensei and Matsuura Sensei. The skill, courage and dignity displayed by both of them were truly inspiring for all of us.

A few words from Matsuura Sensei:
"This time, I got to see a lot of you twice. Friday night at Shidokan was a more relaxed and fun time, while I hope that Saturday was more of an educational experience for all of you. What I enjoyed most this time was that many of the faces were now familiar and I have been trying very hard to remember all of your names a little bit about each of you."

Shidokan Stories - Basics Full Article "Basics, basics, basics"

We would like to thank Matsuura Sensei and Hanitijo Sensei for their teaching and their example this weekend and we will train hard to improve and make sure that we get closer to the kendo level that they put on display this weekend.
Our immense gratitude Sensei ! Please visit us again !

March 2012 | Distinguished guests

At the end of February, Shidokan Kendo and Iaido club received the visit of two distinguished guests from Toronto for a weekend dedicated to the way of the sword.

Over the course of two full days we practiced Iaido, the art of drawing the sword from the scabbard and striking or cutting an opponent, and Kendo, full contact Japanese fencing using armour (bogu) and bamboo swords (shinai).

Our weekend with Ohmi Sensei (Iaido 7th dan and Kendo 6th dan) and Cruise Sensei (Iaido 7th dan and Kendo 5th dan) began early Saturday morning with Iaido by going through the 12 katas of Seitei Iai, placing added emphasis on centering the angle of the initial draw or (nukitsuke) and the direction of one’s gaze (metsuke). Seitei Iai katas are katas institutionalized by the Japanese Iaido federation for grading purposes.

After a short lunch break we launched full tilt into an intensive two hours of Kendo. We were all very thrilled to cross shinais with such high ranking sensei, and gain the experience of and exposure to a different style of training. At the end of the day we were treated to a Kendo demonstration match between Shidokan’s Hanitijo Sensei and Cruise Sensei.

The activities continued on Sunday with more Iaido at our John Abott college location. After reviewing Seitei Iai katas one more time, the students practiced Muso Shinden Ryu 12 katas of the first level, also called Omori Ryu. The Muso Shinden Ryu is the traditional style of Iaido practiced in our dojo. The day concluded with a demonstration of Muso Shinden Ryu 10 katas of the middle level by Cruise Sensei.

We were all thrilled to spend two very busy days in such distinguished company.
Arigato Ohmi Sensei and Cruise Sensei !

February 2012 | A weekend with friends

This February we renewed our friendship with our fellow kendoka from Montreal Kendo Club. On Friday evening, a small contingent of our senior members visited MKC for their practice. After training basics we engaged in a friendly team competition simulation, or Shiai-keiko.

On Saturday morning we began the day with our iaido class and then continued with kendo, where approximately 16 members of MKC joined us, including Chief Instructor Ariyama Sensei. Everybody showed great spirit through out the extended practice, and the energy in the dojo was strong and radiant.

We started again with basics, and continued with Mawari-keiko, where all bogu members of Shidokan fought with the MKC members. We then split the group in Mudansha and Yudansha and continued with Ji-geiko. After the 2.5 hrs practice, Ariyama sensei reminded us that even though showing great spirit is important, it is also very important to sustain that attitude throughout the entire practice, no matter how tired we are.

To our brothers from MKC, Ariyama Sensei and Viengkhou Sensei, thank you so much for the visit!
We look forward to the next one!

February 2012 | Visit of Lawrence Tsuji Sensei

At the beginning of February, we were fortunate in receiving the visit of one of Shidokan's born and raised: Lawrence Tsuji Sensei. He reminded us of the Shidokan tradition of focusing intensely on the basics of kendo.

We spent a good portion of our morning's training working on footwork and basic striking techniques, and were reminded that just as important as showing good physical form is having a focused mental attitude. Furthermore, this attitude should be maintained just as thoroughly when being the motodachi in any one technique.

The motodachi must be supportive and both partners have to show mutual respect in helping each other develop their kendo skills. To top off a great practice, at the end of the class we had the opportunity to fight both Tsuji Sensei and Hanitijo Sensei.
Thank you Sensei for another fantastic visit!

A few thoughts from Tsuji Sensei :

" It was a great pleasure to visit the Shidokan dojo, and I really appreciated to be given the opportunity by Santoso-sensei to lead the practice. Once again, I was very happy to see the enthusiasm and the spirit shown by everyone throughout the practice. The positive spirit of the dojo is something very precious. In this past visit, I tried to demonstrate a broad range of basic forms and techniques, everything from suri-ashi, suburi to uchikomi. I emphasized the importance of distance through encouraging to-ma uchikomi, of sharper striking with the mono-uchi part of the shinai, of the proper role of the motodachi in kirikaeshi (proper tai-atari and receiving the strikes) and of more focus in your waza through the last kote/kote-men drill.

These technical points are important, and I hope all the members can continue to practice to improve in these areas. However, I do want to add that, while these things are important, in a way, they are just the execution part. The manner in which to approach and to engage in the practice with the sensei and with each other are what will make the difference in your rate of understanding and improvement. The supportive manner of participating in practice and the mutual respect shown to each other are the deeper foundations to good kendo. This is what I continue to strive for. Thanks to everyone for their generous hospitality and goodwill. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!"
- Lawrence Tsuji

January 2012 | International Kendo Federation Shinpan Seminar

On the 28th and 29th of January, the Americas' zone of the International Kendo Federation (FIK) conducted a judges seminar at McGill University in Montreal. Kenshi ranked 4th dan and above from as far as Brazil and Aruba took part, honing their judging skills under the instruction of 8th dan Koda sensei, from Japan.

Many other kenshi ranked 2nd dan and above participated as volunteer competitors, partaking in shiai matches for the judges to practice with and examine. Some of our members participated as volunteers, others watched the high level of fighting and judging on display, getting a better idea of what their own future kendo needs to look like.

On the second day, after a morning judging seminar, we were treated to 3 demonstration fights between 7th and 8th dan Sensei(s). Their skill and poise were truly impressive. We were then all able to take part in goudo-keiko and fight against any of the Sensei(s) present at the seminar.

At the end we all felt extremely fortunate to be able to witness such and event in our own city, and to fight such high ranking sensei so close to our home. We hope that this is a sign that Montreal is a bigger dot on the kendo map, and that our city will be lucky enough to host such important events in the future.

January 2012 | New beginning

We would like to take this opportunity to give a warm welcome to our newest recruits. As freshmen the road ahead might seem very difficult from time to time. We hope you can find the patience and dedication within yourselves to overcome every obstacle you may encounter in this new path.

We promise you hard work and lots of fun ! Welcome to the Kan!

January 2012 | Shidokan Annual Brunch

"Renewing wonderful traditions"

This year's annual brunch was bigger and better than ever. Almost 40 members of our extended Shidokan family took part in this wonderful event. After several speeches that highlighted the contribution of the founders of Shidokan and the achievements of the last year, we tasted some delicious Korean food. We then celebrated Sensei’s birthday, as well as the birthdays of two junior members of the club.

The party continued with many toasts, karaoke, and the traditional Shidokan family photo.
Here's to another great year!

January 2012 | Musashi Kai Seminar

During the month of November Shidokan member Len Mudgett had the honor of attending the bi-yearly Musashi Kai Nito Ryu seminar in Alexandria Virginia. The subjects for this year's seminar was proper basics when performing waza, shiai tactics and introduction to the Niten Ichi Ryu katas.

We would like to thank Fujii sensei, Inoue sensei, Sato sensei, Sherry sensei, Capital Area Budoka, translators and participants for their hospitality. With great enthusiasm we look forward to the next seminar.

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