Kokusai Renmei Seminar in Kaohsiung, Jan 2019
Updated: Feb 29
The Seminar was held on 19-20 Jan 2019. As usual, Singapore members visited the local dojo for practice opportunities. The focus on this Seminar is on improving basic techniques; everyone spent hours working on the fine details - for example, elbow angle and hand placement leading up to a yokoichimonji in nukitsuke.
We are very grateful to our fellow Taiwanese Iaidokas for having us practice with them, and family and friends for hosting us during our stay in Kaohsiung. It is also an opportunity for the members to get to know each other better.
In general, our members did well. Of the 8 participating in Embu, 5 received commendation, 3 received special mention. Of the 3 participating in Shinsa, all were successful in progressing to the next Dan.
Below are some photos feature on the highlights from the practice, R&R and from the Seminar.
[Trying local delights before training] Photos: Rachel, Tommy
[Training with Lin Sensei] Photo: Rachel
[Snapshots from before Seminar proper] Photos: Valeth, 陳泰琦
[Snapshots of Shinsa] Photos: 陳泰琦, Valeth
[Snapshots of Members during Seminar and Shinsa] Photos: 陳泰琦, Valeth
[Examiners] Photo: 陳泰琦
[Demonstration by Lin Sensei, Charlie Sensei & Hou Kaicho] Photos: 陳泰琦
[Demonstration by Kobara Sensei & Nakamura Sensei] Photos: 陳泰琦
[Award Ceremony] Photo: 陳泰琦
[Group Photos] Photos: Rachel, 陳泰琦
[Completion of Seminar & Shinsa] Photos: 陳泰琦
We'd also like to use this opportunity to share some pointers for members taking part in future Seminars.
Team work - A Seminar (be it participating in one or hosting one) can only be successful through teamwork; everyone looks out for one another. Each can contribute in their own way. Beware the pitfall of judging people based solely on ability (technical mastery) alone and not who they are and what type of person they may be. The same could be said for community within the Dojo.
[Local Breakfast. Photo: Tommy]
Practice, practice, practice - Correct practice forms one's own core fundamentals. It is alright if one is unable to practice consistently (everyone has work/study/family commitments). Steady progression at your own pace is key.
The Study-Practice-Work/figure out framework outlines the various aspects to learning and practicing. More will be shared in a later article regarding this topic. But, here are the main pointers for now:
Study - Study the meaning of the wazas. E.g. why is this technique done this way?
Practice - Slowly practice, understand how one's own body works.
Work/figure out - Slowly internalize what one has been taught and improve on upon what is studied based on Sensei's guidances.
[Seminar/Shinsa Photo: 陳泰琦]
Find and establish your own ritual - It can be daunting during Embu or Shinsa to perform in front of a panel of judges. Certainly no one would want to end up freezing up at critical moments such as these due to stage fright. Create/ establish a ritual to calm oneself down and prepare oneself mentally. Some do it by counting from 1 to 100 during the wait to perform. Some prefer mediation, others may do it through TouRei (bowing to sword).. The list goes on. The point is, find one suitable for oneself, stick to it and adjust as situational circumstances change.
[TouRei. Photos: 陳泰琦 ]
Study of Iaido is a means to self-cultivation. - Don't just strive for technical mastery, but aim for a higher purpose. The term "Iaido" translates to "Way of Harmonious Living".
Don't lose one-self in chasing after Dan progression. Dan is a recognition of one's technical understanding from its affiliated Dojo. And with higher Dan, comes greater responsibility. A better "treasure" might be one's own understanding of the waza and its nature - no one can take that away. Borne from one's own experiences and guidance from those who came before us, it is priceless, given the potential value it can be used to further create.
Real fulfillment comes from being in love with what you do, and always striving to improve. Better yet, when there is support from the family and friends.
[Walking to Seminar Avenue. Photo: Rachel]
This concludes the current article. Once again, we would like to thank our Taiwanese Iaidokas for hosting and have us train with them. Special thanks to Noi for trip planning, Mr. Law for finance management, Rachel for photo taking, Hui Wen as navigator to all the scrumptious eating places and Tommy and Wah Siang for scouting out the local delights.
Here's wishing readers a Happy Chinese New Year in advance!