Keiko at Hikawa Budojo - Nomunication

On Friday I practiced at Hikawa Budojo in Asakasa Tokyo, defiantly one of the more challenging places ive been to practice, with almost triple the amount of Sensei to students.....

Keiko started at 6 with 1 hour of Ito-Ryu Kiriotoshi practice. An absolute SAVAGE of an exercise....

Having only done it once before, Ill give a very basic description: first off you use a bokuto, shorter, thicker and heavier than your average bokuto, both sides raise their swords, Uchidachi steps forward to cut Sayu-men, Shidachi steps forwards and cuts "through" the Uchidachi's cut (striking the sword with your own sword) your cut ends in-front of the Uchidachi's throat, hands fully extended, step back to distance and repeat thirty times each. The experience was terrific, I didnt know what I was doing, and the whole time a Hachi dan (Yanagida Sensei) was screaming at me to Kiai louder... good times! (I could hear Hasunuma Sensei laughing at my misfortune when he arrived!)

My arms were numb from both the effort and the shock of impact (my left hand is still slightly numb more than 24 hours later!). We also practiced Hari, another exercise with the bokuto, using harai and rolling of the wrists, agonizing.

The leading Sensei was Kon Sensei, Hanshi Hachi-Dan (8th dan) from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, he is the Shihan (Master/top Sensei) in Minato-ku (area of Tokyo where I work) and I believe the newest Hanshi in Japan (I was drunk when we talked about that!)

He took us through a Kihon Session lasting around 30 mintues, Kirikaeshi, BIG cuts, Menuchi, BIG cuts, and Ai-kakarigeiko. It was pretty tough, with the group being made up of mostly Nana-dan Sensei (7th dan)

Sensei repeatedly told me that my cuts were not big enough, and that my arms were too narrow while swinging up. So I will do more suburi at home infront of the mirror before next time.

Jigeiko was short, maybe 20 minutes, and I only managed to practice with Yanagida Sensei and do kakarigeiko with Kon Sensei. With Yanagida Sensei I tried my best to do a powerful men with good zanshin, pushing through like Tsuchiya Sensei showed us, but, I found it difficult to do what I wanted (often the case when at a new dojo with new scary Sensei) I did my best although he was really pushing me around too easily, I dont think I was taking the centre enough and most likely trying to go to the side after cutting. He corrected the height of my hands after men, saying they were too high.

I queued for Kon Sensei but as time was running out he started having people do kakarigeiko, around 4 big men each before returning to the back of the que. Each time I went he stopped me after 3 and gave me a tip, widen my arms when I swing over my head, swing slower and bigger, go through faster!

It was a really good session, and one im really looking forward to going to again. I hope to make it a regular part of my week! Nice dojo, nice people and LOTS of Sensei! During the closing reigi, there were only 5 people on the low side, and id saw 12 or 15 on the high side!

After keiko Hasunuma Sensei, Sato Sensei, myself and some others went to a Korean Yaki-niku restaurant for some "nomu-nication" (Hasunuma Senseis joke) it was the first time in 10 years of going there to actually have BBQ, and it was really really good! Apart from all the raw garlic and chilies!

Hasunuma Sensei, John, Sato Sensei