Here are my thoughts and experiences. I shall put them up on the new forum as well. Pity we don't have many members there =(
Thoughts about the Kendo seminar
In my opinion, the decision to host the 2009 NZKF Kendo Seminar here at the Waikato Kendo Club (WKC) dojo was undoubtedly the best decision ever made by our sensei. I’ll like to begin by sending my sincere thanks to both Sam and Marleen Sensei for their commitment and passion to furthering the kendo of each and every member of WKC. Let’s not forget that had our sensei not opt for the seminar to be hosted in Waikato that many of us would probably have missed out on this wonderful experience.
After reading and hearing our fellow member’s thoughts (including Debbie’s fantastic self reflection), I’m certain that all of us, in one way or another, walked away from this seminar with a renewed appreciation for kendo and ourselves. Personally, I found this seminar to be an eye opening experience. I had a great time getting to know all the other kendo practitioners around New Zealand. There is a true sense of belonging when you are training a martial art alongside 75 other members. I know that many of our beginners have never actually trained or met with members of other dojo (excluding the senseis from Auckland for the occasional grading) and that this seminar must be so exciting for them!
I thoroughly enjoyed the simple teaching by Morioka Sensei and his brilliant philosophies. I learned a lot from what he had to say. Certainly I hope to use this new knowledge from him to further my kendo. However, Robin Senpai was correct in saying that what we have learned from Morioka Sensei was nothing new. Danten, footwork, shoulder relaxing, seme etc. were concepts covered before by our sensei. So we should not forget that we have two great teachers (8th Dan between them ha ha) here at WKC. The fact that almost everything we learned in the weekend by a 7th Dan sensei were already taught before by Sam and Marleen illustrates this.
One particular part of the seminar that stood out to me was the point put forward by Morioka Sensei, Well Sensei, and Bennett Sensei, that good kendo begins with good kamae and posture. Like a fault in an aeroplane that leads to a disastrous crash, bad kamae leads to bad kendo and irreversible habits. Therefore it is one of my goals to improve on my posture and position both in kendo and my life. Simple things like maintaining a good posture when wearing or removing our men, or keeping my chin in and holding the shinai properly will hopefully make my kendo more beautiful and correct. Special thanks goes to Ian Senpai from Christchurch, who showed me that correct kendo is better and more beautiful than anything else. His cuts were so elegantly simple and straightforward. No difficult waza to confuse me. In fact, he scored more cuts on me than anybody else on Friday’s ji-keiko. So my inspirations for a more correct kendo came partly for him as well.
Finally I’ll like to say how impressed I was with the Morioka tournament on Tuesday. You could tell that all the beginners who took part in the weekend seminar have improved significantly! Sanjiv’s kendo has become more aggressive than before, unleashing more attacks instead of his usual defensive style. Henry’s kendo has become more agile and flexible, with more accurate cuts and wonderful zanshin (apologies for my bad shimpan ha ha). Even when I was doing warm up with Debbie, I could feel her kendo has become more focussed. Everyone has improved since then, and it is a great sight.
So all in all, the seminar was a great success! This experience has convinced me to attend as many seminars as I can in the future. Watch out 2010 NZKF National Seminar, here I come!
Oh and congratulations to all our members who successfully graded (the Dan line looks strong, but we could do with a few more! Ha ha)