First Keiko in Ibaraki

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October 19th 2014
Published: October 20th 2014
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On my way to the dojo I thought about the time when we went there in 2009. I had such fond memories of the place, that I had to go back once more. Isoyama-san helped me organise the trip and Otsuka-sensei even arranged for a translator (Arisawa-san or Ari)

Ari waited for me and Alex at the station and took us to the dojo. It would have been difficult to find, but you hear the typical kendo noises long before you can see it.

I was greeted by Otsuka-sensei in such a warm and nice way, that I felt immediately at home. This is one of the reasons, why I love Kendo so much. You travel half across the globe to place, where you have been only once before and everybody is treating you like an old friend.

After some introduction to various club members and Kanaya-sensei (dojo owner), i got handed a 38 shinai and Otsuka-sensei asked me to do keiko with the juniors. Anybody else ever tried to do keiko with kids who do kendo nearly as long as you, with a shorter shinai? For me it was difficult at first and those kids gave me a hard time.

Already out of breath we did take some photos together and Otsuka-senseis wife took hold of my girlfriend and introduced her to kendo. They had a great time explaining Alex how to strike tsuki on me as a dummy. (see Foto) Now she even considers starting kendo as well. I'm not sure if I should be to happy about it 😉.

Then the training for the adults started and I got the honor of doing Keiko with Kanaya-sensei. I think everybody knows what that means, kakarigeiko and getting pushed around. Felt like an hour but I survived and tried to do as much keiko as possible. I managed to train with nearly everybody who was at the dojo.

After the training Kanaya-sensei was explaining some stuff about kendo to the others and I only understood the essence: "In Kendo you have to strengthen your heart, otherwise it is only playing with a stick." Ari confirmed that it was about that.

Kanaya-sensei showed me how to cut properly with a real sword and Otsuka-sensei gave me some special advices and presents. I'm already using his presents and I hope I can make use of the advices in the next practice.

When the final photoshooting was done, we said goodbye and headed back to Tokyo. In the train I was worn out, but because of the excitement of the previous hours I couldn't catch any sleep.


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