Kenjutsu Seminar VII at Shobukan DojoThis has been the fourth time that Otake Nobutoshi has headed a kenjutsu seminar at Shobukan dojo in Hochiminh City in Vietnam.
It is clear from this seminar that Shobukan dojo has come a long way. During the first months in 2012 four monjin practiced only suburi and basic kamae on concrete parking lots for hours on end. Later that year we started slowly with a part of the first kenjutsu kata and it was only after many many months that we trained the whole first kata from beginning to end.
The first kenjutsu seminar with Nobutoshi sensei clearly indicated where Shobukan dojo was in its development. Most of the time we focused on basics and sensei did not share many details. During those week long kenjutsu seminar we would have many open days to further introduce the ryu to the wider community. During that kenjutsu seminar and other sessions sensei would take the time to introduce the art, its history, cultural significance and technical aspects to a wide audience.
One important part of seminars to date has been a demonstration at the Hochiminh Friendship Association House with the presence of diplomatic officials from Japan and other countries. Such demonstrations further formally introduce and strengthen the position of the ryu in Vietnam. Many of the invitees are martial artists and teachers of Japanese language or Asian studies. Otake Nobutoshi’s presence at these days was of great value.
This kenjutsu seminar we invited people to come and visit our demonstration and Nobutoshi sensei’s lecture on swords in our own dojo. After the lecture there was some time for questions and answers about all facets of the Japanese sword. Otake Nobutoshi is an official appraiser of swords for the department of culture of Chiba prefecture and for Narita airport. His knowledge on swords has been built through holding and learning about swords as early as when he was six years old and followed his father to swordsmiths.
As a dojo even now we have not lost sight of the most important part of the technical side of the ryu: basics, basics and basics. And that is what we have been doing every day three hours a day, fifteen hours at least per week for four years. However after four years of continuous training and as many as thirty visit to Japan in those four years, sensei has shifted his focus and has started teaching in greater detail to all regular students. This year we welcomed fellow monjin and shidosha from several other countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Singapore, Japan among others.
This seminar he took time to teach each and every monjin carefully, adding to what they had already received within a kata or new kata altogether. As the core group of the dojo has strengthened its basics, it has become easier for the group to adjust following sensei’s advice. The week included omote, bo, naginata, oku classes, yawara, tameshigiri and shurikenjutsu.
Now that the dojo receives more detailed attention form sensei we will limit the scope of our seminars. This will also ensure an intimate and kind but intense atmosphere for us to work in. We will, however not limit the hours of training of the seminars: eight hours per day, five days per week.