IBM Kendo Club gasshuku - Ito Sensei

On Saturday April 21st I attended a gasshuku with IBM kendo club in Toyoda, West Tokyo. I was invited by Hisano-san and was lucky enough to have free time to attend!

I traveled with Hisano from Gakugeidaigaku and it took us around an hour to get there by express train from Shinjuku. The gasshuku was being held in a dojo that had bedrooms on the second floor, which was just awesome to be honest!

The gasshuku started at 10 am with a welcome speech from Ito Sensei. We then practiced some Itto Ryu kata, I don't know their names unfortunately. But one was for Kiriotoshi and the other for keeping the centre, using harai and a rolling harai to build strength in the lower arm and wrists.

After that we put on our men and did kirikaeshi 3 times regularly and once with many cuts in one breath.

We did men uchi in one step from isoku itto, both with big swings and small cuts with wrist snapping.

From there Ito Sensei began to teach about some different types of Seme.

In his opening speech he mentioned three distinct types of seme; Ki-seme, Ken-seme and Tai-seme (attacking/creating and opening from the spirit, sword or body)

The first technique we practiced used Tai seme, (body) from a kensen to kensen (sword tip to tip) step forward diagonally to isoku itto no maai, face the opponent and strike men. Do not step diagonally and strike diagonally. Your diagonal step takes the centre from your opponent, and your men cut should be forward, at your opponent and not off to the side. slightly pressure the opponents shinai as you step in.

This waza he mentioned something I'd been told in kamisu. As you seme forwards your kensen should go towards the opponents right kobushi (gauntlet fist)

Ito Sensei used a lot of pressing on the opponents shinai in this gasshuku.

Next we practiced some Tai and Ken Seme.

Standing just inside kensen to kensen, with the left foot further back than normal, press down slightly on the shinai and draw up the left foot to it's correct position, this will take you to a closer distance.

For this seme he said we had two options, if the opponents kamae was weak, and they allowed their shinai to be pressed down, attack men. If they resisted, kote will become open.

He stressed the importance of watching the opponents reactions or all his techniques.

You can also cut do from this seme, if you raise your sword an the opponent tries to block his men, then, it's open.

When I practiced this with Yamada-san, the club captain, he came very fast, as soon as the left foot was in place he exploded. Very good to take by surprise.

Next we did the same type of foot work but brought the kensen down from Omote (face - regular side) and under the opponents kensen to Ura (opposite side). The left foot is drawn up as the kensen is moved. Slight pressure to the opponents shinai and as they try to move you strike kote in a very small movement by extending the left arm and snapping the right wrist. Very important not to make big cut, your already on the kote side so you don't need raise the kensen at all.

We practiced this alot and then added in kote-men and men.

If the opponent doesn't react, you can attack kote-men, if they push back, you can roll your shinai back under and strike men.

Watching the opponents movements was very important here.

Next we split into groups of 4 and practiced waza. 1 kakarite ad 3 attackers, the kakarite stood on one side and the attackers lined up on the other.

Beginning with degashira men, the three attackers made 2 men cuts each and the kakarite had to execute the technique.

For men attacks, Degashira Men was followed by Debanna Kote, Nuki Do.
Then we practiced waza against kote. With anything being ok.

The idea was to use the seme we had practiced to draw in the opponent. However, as my group had less experienced people in it. There wasn't as much seme used! Me included! I tried to slow it down when it was my turn to try the waza by not allowing them to pass my kensen if they just went straight for men.

It was fun and nice to be able to get a fee nice techniques in. But leading up to the WKC, I would have preferred another with stronger opponents.

Next was Oikomi geiko, with 5 in each line.

First was big men followed by 3 small
men, next was kote men, with kote men against the other opponents. Last was men, hiki-do, kote-men (against the first person) then, men, kote-men, men against the rest.

Finally we did 80 hiyasuburi in bogu. He stopped us during the first set and said it was no good, too many people not giving 100%, and had us do another 50 with more kiai and properly finished cuts. I was happy that i went all out and was knackered by the end!

There was a break for lunch showers and a snooze for the Japanese, I did some practice in front of the mirrors, had a shower and some coffee and just waited for the next half to begin.

Part two coming soon.