Iai-do and Jo-do in the UK

I started to practice Iai-do and Jo-do in the UK 2 years ago.
The reason I started was that I first wanted to see an Iai-do practice in the UK.
So I asked the Kendo club captain, “please take me there”
I wanted to watch, but when he came to pick me up, he said,
“Why you do not take your Kendo wear?” I did not want to take it,
but thought that I would only go once so I did as he asked.

I said hello to everyone in the club, and they made me very welcome.
I did not think I would do Iai again but later on the captain said to me
“We are going to have a meal in the Indian restaurant and have a curry,
will you come? We are going to do Kendo Kata, if you come you can join the party.”

I was not sure if I should go or not, but I thought “Curry sounds nice, want to go!
” so I went with wooden sword and Kendo wear. Actually I wanted to see the members again
and at the party everyone said to me, “see you next week!”
so I became a member the club very naturally. Later I heard that,
they asked me to teach Kata so I would become a member of the club.

There were no Japanese members in the Eishinkan Dojo before I became the member.
They have asked me to advise about Japanese language and script and made me welcome.

The practice is in a scout hut where there is the UK flag,
and during the practice they put the Shinzen next to the flag.

I am the only Japanese but other members are from Spain and from Rumania and of course Britain.
There is another lady who practices hard.

The Eishinkan the teachers teach in English, but use Japanese for Iai-do and Jo-do terms.
They asked me the meaning of some of the kata names but I could not answer,
when they showed me the names the letters are all English;

Iaido Chuden











They asked me again, but I could not understand the English.
Because they pronounce the word in English I still cannot understand it.
I just say, “It is difficult for Japanese!”

Later the teacher showed me the letters in the Kanji (Chinese letters),
so I understood the word in Japanese. But I did not know the meaning of Iai-do names.

The words are in Japanese;

夢想神伝流 中伝

山下風 (It is very difficoult to read for Japanese!)

Jock who is an Eishinkan teacher speaks Japanese very well came to teach and talked in Japanese to me.
He was the 1st captain of the British Kendo team at the 1st Kendo international match.

He said to me, “Jo-do is a wonderful because we can practice just using the Jo-stick.
It is not expensive to practice is it?”and smiled. He made me to decide to know Jo-do,
I wanted to understand why they practice it in the UK, and to join them,
so I started to practice harder.

But after I left the UK last March, I did not practice in Japan.
I saw practice sometimes, but I did not do it myself, when I came back to Eishinkan,
the Iai-do and Jo-do memories were all gone from my brain.

My x-class mates attend the senior class now.
They are my friends but now my Senpai (older member).
There are no new beginner members, so I am the lowest member.
It is the first experience for me to drop in a class (character building for you Yuki Ed.).

It is different from Kendo, I always have a clear understanding of how to do Kendo.
With Iai and Jo after one practice I forget the previous one.
Iai-do is similar to Kendo so I can do a little, but Jo-do is so different,
I can not do it well. I understand now how difficult it is to start Kendo as an adult.
I can still do Kendo after a long gap,
I have stopped Kendo many times since I started when I was 6 years old,
and my body remembers, it is not necessary to think.
But Iai-do and Jo-do are too different for me.
I practice same pattern, but spend more time than another members learning it.

The teachers and friends are kind to teach such a foolish person as me, so I thank them very much.

Last month, the teacher Chris got 7th Grade of Iai-do in Japan. He held a celebration party held in his home. Many Iai-do members in the UK went to celebrate.

The picture on the left is teacher Jock, on the right is teacher Chris.


We bought a gift for him. The presenter is Paul.

Teacher Chris cut the celebration cake.

It is interesting to learn Japanese Iai-do and Jo-do taught by British in the UK.

I hope to continue to practice with them.





















Art in Action 2010

Art in Action 2010

Art in Action was hAeld in Waterperry House near Oxford on the 15-18 July.

It started in 1977, artists and craftsmen openly demonstrate their skills,
visitors can see and learn at many classes.

The event is set In a large area, there are many stands demonstrating painting,
sculpture, glass, woodwork, textiles, ceramics, metalwork and jewellery.

The nearest stand to the entrance was for glass blowing.
A lot of people were watching a demonstration there.

by a Glass craftsman.

There was also a Glass jewlery making stand with some glass crafts women on it.
This was very popular.
They not only demonstrated how the jewlery was made but they sold the items.

Janet bought a glass bead for a bracelet

On the textile stand a young lady was sewing blue thread onto a white cotton
frame to make a picture.

In the same area, I saw some pretty applique work.
I looked for a while, and the lady smiled and said, Hi to me.
`Is it your work?` I asked
`Yes.`she said, and showed me a book.
`Is it the book cover’s work?`
`Yes, it is!`
I took a picture with her, the book and her work.

There was a tent filled with classes where teachers were demonstrating
and teaching different craft skills.
Many people were enthusiasticlally listening to their lectures

There was another tent filled with stands selling many artistic items…

The last stand was `Beekeeping`.
It was a demonstration of how to keep Bee’s.

One of the men lectured about the Bee’s way of life.

I have been to see the bees at Ginza in Tokyo,
so I was very interested in the stand

They sold not only honey but candles.

The candles made by Ginza bees are used in the Church of Ginza at Christmas time.

Waterperry Gardens are next to Waterperry House and were included in the admission.
At this season they were at their best.

We can enjoy art in a natural setting at Art in Action.
I would like to go again next year.





























Chiba Masashi Sensei Kendo Seminar in England

The Kendo seminar was held by the British Kendo Association
(BKA) on the 3rd and 4th of July in Reading,
about 60 Kendo players gathered from all over the UK.
The teachers were Masashi Chiba and Tatsuo Hayashi.


During the opening ceremony of the seminar an English teacher asked us
to contribute to a charity raffle,
“Please pay 5 pound each and you can win an Armour,
bamboo sword, or wine!” he said.
In Japan, I had not heard such a speech, so I was very surprised.
He then told us where the Pub was; I thought this has to be England!



After the ceremony, we started the practice.
Mr. Chiba taught basic techniques very clearly,
and Mr.Hayashi translated in English.

It was a very hot day, not usual in England.
We performed the basic training very carefully to understand the techniques,
and we got quite hot.



For the second day, we revised our practice of response tecniques (Oji Waza).

Using a whistle to set the timing of the strike.
If we had the same timing or one person was late,
they had to do 20 times jumping Suburi.

“1,2,3,4! (We said in Japanese)”

many people were shouting, it was very lively.

During the afternoon session,
we had practiced separately with the same grade a mock grading.
Mr. Chiba and Mr. Hayashi separated,
checked our practice and advised us.
While we were waiting for our turn we could relax for a while,
Daisy took a photo of us… we were chatting.



We had 45 minutes for lunch.
I had sandwiches and chatted with friends who I had not seen for a long time.
One of them a young man whose mom is Japanese
and dad is English had a rice cake.
“Has your mom cooked it?” I asked,
he smiled and showed me fried chicken (Karaage)
and other food. (Lucky man all I had was a roll ed.)


The afternoon practice was response tecniques (Oji Waza),
and Free practice.
The first day’s seminar started at 10am and finished at 4:30pm.




For my practice I faced an English man who is a bit older than me.

After this we had a free practice with the teachers.
On this day, we finished by 3:30pm.

We gave presents to teachers from BKA in the closing ceremony.
Derek who is an officer of the BKA asked me to write the letters on the card,
so I wrote with a brush.
Once the ceremony ended,
many people gathered to hear the teacher’s speech.

Mr. Chiba wanted to see many people and he gave us another practice
the day after the seminar.
When I was in Japan I met Mr. Chiba and was glad to hear his thoughts.

Mr. Chiba taught us not only Kendo but also how to build our character through Kendo.
He said we should think of another people, and keep friendship with them.
I shall try to do as he says.

Mr.Chiba and Mr.Hayashi.
Thank you for a great seminar.