Japanese Koryu Seminar Vietnam 2015
This is the third time Yamada Hironobu sensei visited Vietnam to teach us kenjutsu, bojutsu and naginatajutsu. This Japanese koryu seminar Vietnam is the sixth kenjutsu seminar of its kind. Yamada sensei worked with all monjin privately. This way the students really have the feeling they join a master class. Sensei corrected our posture, the way we hold our bokuto, how we cut and much more. He stressed again and again the need for proper basics in martial arts training. During earlier seminars in Vietnam, Yamada sensei focused mostly on beginners this time he also was able to teach oku classes to our more experienced monjin.
During this Japanese koryu seminar one of the ways we could learn from each other was by having two people train in front of the others while others looked on. Yamada sensei would then correct them and all of us would make notes and share those notes with each other in the following days. One of the difficulties for all of us is the fact that sensei may correct you on a certain point and you may understand the correction but your body just continues its old habits. One of the ways to overcome that is to slow everything down and to practice that particular movement over and over again until your body remembers the new form and forgets the old habits.
Sensei also shared his experiences at Shinbukan dojo in Japan with us. He recounted how he started and who else was there training at Shinbukan dojo when he just started. At that time there were only 6 students practicing one of them being Donn. F. Draeger. Sensei recalled how it was to train during those times with him. He also shared how the training differed from the way people are training now. He described how a young Otake Risuke sensei would take uke every class and how impressive it was to be on the receiving end of Otake’s techniques.
He explained his reasons for choosing this ryu over others and he stressed that our reasons to train develop or change naturally over time. For himself his reasons developed from a focus on the pure martial aspects to continuing the tradition and keeping himself sharp and fit. He advised us to be aware of our intentions when training this koryu and to remember the founder’s intentions when he transmitted the art.
His friendly and patient way of teaching, his vast knowledge and his sense of humour made this one of the most enjoyable seminars yet. Of course, no seminar in Vietnam is complete without a party. Yamada sensei shared traditional Vietnamese wine with us. This traditional wine or ruou can as it is called is drunk through straws stuck into an earthen pot with fermented rice and herbs. Sensei, thank you very much.