4th TAIWAN TAIKAI
Day 1 (9/10 Jan 2017)
The 4th Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido Taiwan Taikai was held in Kaohsiung from 13th to 15th January 2017. This year’s participants from Genyōkan include Dojo Head Michael, Trip Director Lee Noi, Kong Hoi, Billy Yong, Rachel, Julius, Zul, Tommy and Warren.
Our flight is an overnight flight from Changi Airport to Kaohsiung International Airport with a short transit at Hong Kong International Airport. We would like to thank Ashley for taking time to send us off at the airport. We checked-in our luggage and then proceeded to the departure hall after clearing the customs. We spent the remaining time before the flight together having a nice warm cup of drink and having a good chat. Time passed quickly and it was time for us to board the plane for Kaohsiung.
We arrived at Kaohsiung International Airport around 10am and we were warmly received by Taiwan Genshinkan’s Hou sensei and Angela.
Hou sensei issued us with our iaito and we took the metro together with Hou sensei to our rented apartment. We were grateful that Hou sensei’s son fetched Michael and some of our luggage to our rented apartment. After we had unloaded our luggage in our apartment, Hou sensei brought us to a nearby eatery serving beef noodles. After lunch, we were free to spend the rest of the day on our own. Some of us went for a massage and some went to Ruifeng Night market to experience the local Taiwanese street delicacies and to soak up the night market atmosphere.
We were glad that Lin sensei and his wife dropped by our apartment later at night to record the measurements of some of us who wished to tailor-make our hakama, montsuki and keiko gi.
Day 2 (11 Jan 2017)
After having a good night’s sleep, we were energised for the day as we looked forward for training in the afternoon. Some of us woke up early for breakfast at Heguang Street morning market (和光街早市场).
We gathered at 12pm and proceeded to the training venue. The training venue is in a dance studio known as Door for Space located at Ming Hua Road near the Kaohsiung Arena Station. We changed to our hakama and gi and shortly, Kobara sensei and Hou sensei arrived and we started our training proper.
After the warm up session, Kobara sensei went through Battohou no Bu followed by Tatehiza. Members who are not familiar with Tatehiza, performed Seiza no Bu. Kobara sensei focused on the finer points in the waza. After 3 hours of training with a small break in between, the training was concluded at 5pm.
We headed back to our apartment and had our dinner nearby. We turned in early for the night in preparation for the next day training.
Day 3 (12 Jan 2017)
Training commenced at 2pm in the dance studio. Kobara sensei went through the finer points of Seiza no Bu with us. After a short break, we were separated into 3 groups. Zul, Tommy and Warren were attached to Lin sensei and they went through noto and sayabiki in detail. Billy and Julius practiced their grading waza under the close supervision of Kobara sensei. Noi and Kong Hoi were taught Tatehiza under the guidance of Hou sensei. Michael recorded in his notebook the details of the finer points that were taught by Kobara sensei.
Day 4 (13 Jan 2017)
We woke up at 7am and had breakfast at a nearby market. Day 1 of the Taikai commenced on this day at 1pm. It was held at Kaohsiung Martial Arts Stadium. We set off earlier than the previous days as the Taikai venue is further away from our apartment.
There were three distinguished sensei from Japan who attended this year’s Taikai; Kobara sensei, Mochizai sensei and Nakamura sensei. The Taikai began with Kobara sensei introducing the Japanese sensei and leading the warm up exercise. After the warm up exercises, we were separated into groups. Tommy and Warren together with 4 other Taiwanese members, received training from Hou sensei. Billy and two other Taiwanese members were taught by Mochizai sensei. Noi, Zul, Julius, Kong Hoi and Jeremy (Taiwan member) were taught by Nakamura sensei. Kobara sensei taught the group who were 4th dan and above.
After training, we were invited to a scrumptious seafood dinner with Kobara sensei, Mochizai sensei, Nakamura sensei, Hou sensei and Taiwanese members.
Day 5 (14 Jan 2017)
We woke up extremely early this morning as we had to move out from our rented apartment to a hotel that was walking distance to the Kaohsiung Martial Arts Stadium. Day 2 of the Taikai commenced at 10am. Participants from Mudan to 3rd dan were trained under Kobara sensei while the rest of the participants practised Tachi Uchi no Kurai with Mochizai sensei and Nakamura sensei. Kobara sensei worked on Battohou no Bu while emphasizing the importance of Kihon. Although Noi, Billy, Tommy and Kong Hoi have yet to reach 4th dan, they were grateful that they were given the opportunity to learn from Mochizai sensei and Nakamura sensei Tachi Uchi no Kurai. Michael recorded all the details during the Tachi Uchi no Kurai training as reference and instruction for the Singapore members.
After lunch, we were separated into the same groups as on Day 1 of the Taikai. Hou sensei arranged a mock enbu session for the mudansha to perform their enbu /grading waza. Warren was thankful for the arrangement as he realised how nerve-wracking it was to perform waza in front of people even though he felt prepared. The rest of the members focussed on their waza for their grading and enbu.
Day 6 (15 Jan 2017) Enbu and Grading Day
The day that everybody excitedly anticipated had arrived. Day 3 of the Taikai was divided into 2 sessions with enbu as the 1st session and grading as the 2nd session. Kobara sensei started off the session by delivering a message on behalf of Esaka sensei. Esaka sensei expressed his appreciation to Taiwan and Singapore Iaido clubs for participating in the 5th Japan Taikai held last year. After Kobara sensei’s speech, Mochizai sensei and Nakamura sensei performed Tachi Uchi no Kurai.
All of us gave our best performance in the enbu and grading by applying all that we had learnt over these months together with the training we had over the course of our stay in Kaohsiung. There was so much to learn from our Taiwan seniors and Sensei as they performed their waza during the enbu. After lunch, the 2nd session of the day began. A written examination was held before the performance of the grading waza. All participants of the written examination knelt on the floor to write down their answers. Julius and Billy took their Nidan and Sandan grading respectively. We are proud that Julius and Billy had successfully passed their grading. Furthermore, Billy was awarded an enbu certificate for his excellent performance during his enbu.
This year’s Taikai concluded successfully with all grading participants being promoted to the next rank. New friendships were forged and old friendship reminisced. With elated hearts, we made our way to a nearby restaurant to have dinner with all the sensei and participants to celebrate the success of the Taikai.
Day 7 (16 Jan 2017)
As this was a free and easy day before we return to Singapore, we were free to explore places in Kaohsiung. After breakfast in the hotel; Warren, Tommy, Zul, Julius, Billy, and Rachel took the metro to Yanchengpu station. Yancheng district is a charming old district with quiet streets, beautiful parks and a scenic Love river. We followed a railway track that is no longer in use and arrived at Sizihwan. We decided to make a trip to Kaohsiung Wudedian since it was close by. Tommy and Warren had heard about the beauty of Wudedian and were excited to visit this place. However it was closed on that day. We managed to take a look around Wudedian and hoped to be able to train in Wudedian one day.
After our dinner, we gathered at a cosy area of the hotel lounge to have a chat and share our experiences in Kaohsiung. As this was the first trip to Kaohsiung for Tommy and Warren, the training sessions with Kobara sensei and the Taikai were an eye opener for them. Michael also shared with us what is planned for the year 2017 in our dojo. He thanked us for being cooperative, well behaved and caring for one another during the entire trip. As it was getting late, we then went back to our rooms to pack our luggage and rest.
Day 8 (17 Jan 2017)
It was time for us to return to Singapore after a fulfilled training and enjoyable experience with great travel companions. We would like to like to express our gratitude to Michael, Noi and Kong Hoi for planning the trip and taking care of the team so that this trip could be a pleasant experience for all.
*Photo courtesy of Genshinkan and Rachel
The trip report was done by Warren, the most junior member in Team Singapore. Warren was in Kaohsiung for training experience and enbu, hopefully, he will be taking his shodan grading either in Japan or in Taiwan in a year’s time. Rachel has been a great support to the team, assisting in the design of our T-shirt and taking photographs. We hope that she would take up Iaido. The Singapore dojo would like to thank Warren for the time and effort in putting up the trip report and Rachel for her tireless support.