The 28th of February is a tribute to physical exercise. It starts out with strong keiko and ends with running. To practice with the Imperial Guards in Saineikan Dojo is always a challenge. One of this World’s most beautiful dojos and some of the strongest kendo players to walk on Japanese soil.
I can honestly say that for the first five or six years I could hardly sleep the night before practice with the Imperial Guards. It’s true what is said about Police kendo: “Police kendo is honest and strong. Sometimes honesty hurts.”
However, I must also say that even if kendo has a strong impact on your psyche, it is one of the kindest sports to your body. Bruising and blisters are cool 🙂 …and injuries are rare.
Kuniyoshi and Fujiwara sensei are both 8 dan and responsible for helping the Imperial Guard grow in their kendo. Amazing teachers with kind and friendly attitude together with strong teaching. It doesn’t matter how strong (or weak) you are, they will patiently be just a tad bit stronger than you, resulting in you trying a little bit harder 🙂
Some of the guests at the Imperial Palace and elsewhere misunderstand this and think they are stronger than the Imperial Guards. Please remember: Just because the Guards let you beat them in IPPON, doesn’t mean you’re stronger than them.
What happens after morning keiko?
After morning keiko comes lunch and after lunch it’s time for a long, brisk walk for 90 minutes in central Tokyo. It’s a beautiful time of year and not too hot. In the late evening it is time for a 6 km run.
28 years old, Otsuka san has decided to return to doing kendo. He reached 3 dan in high school and after high school, he quit kendo. Tonight was his first practice with us and we all enjoyed his strong, straight and very fine kendo. He is obviously a little rusty after his over 10 year hiatus, but will soon be able to get 4 dan.
He told us that he had a very strong 8 dan sensei in high school. It’s easy to see on his kendo that his teacher was great.
Every year, we celebrate Kagami Biraki in Kawahara Dojo. Kagami Biraki is a Japanese traditional ceremony which literally translates to “Opening the Mirror” (from an abstinence) or, also, “Breaking of the Mochi.” You can read more about this important Japanese celebration on Wikipedia, here.
Every year we break open the special mochi and the children are extra happy 🙂
It was with joy and happiness that we all learnt of the great news: Mori sensei was recently chosen by Suda sensei to become the Vice Chairman of the dojo. Mori sensei will surely keep motivation high, the dojo in great order and make people love kendo even more.
Congratulations to Mori sensei and we’re all looking forward to the fruit that surely will be harvested from Suda sensei’s wise choice.