The road to third dan

This Summer has been really great. But it’s not all been lounging around on beaches and having impromptu barbeques in our car parking port here at Beerhound Mansions. There was also the small matter of my iaido third dan examination that took place in September. Regular readers will know that I failed the first attempt…

A moment of clarity

I am presently going through one of those revelatory periods in my iaido practice where some small insight into the deeper significance of the art has become clear to me. This has come at the end of a reasonably despondent period of training where I don’t seem to have made any progress at all. After…

Doubting Thomas gets twatted

Fresh from the “That’d never work in real life” school of martial arts scepticism, this reporter decided to pit himself against an 8th Dan iaido sensei in a direct stand-off. After having witnessed iaido competition and training, which is always carried out solo (for obvious reasons – it’s a real bloody sword!), our hero has…

No luck in Tama but philosophical in defeat

I have just returned from competing in the 27th Tama taikai, but my return is alas – as expected – sans l’argent. I’ll quietly admit to being a bit disappointed not to have even won the first round. Although, in mitigation, I was unlucky enough to draw one of the semi-finalists as my first opponent…

Silver Week – sterling performance

This week was a very special one here in Japan; An unusual combination of public holidays meant three bank holidays back to back. This so-called Silver Week (Golden Week is the famous week-long annual holiday in May) won’t happen again until 2015. Such a special occasion can not go unmarked, of course. And what better…

Of intense heat, intense training, mad dogs and Englishmen

Summer has very definitely arrived and iaido practice has become a real test of stamina and endurance. Although not as aerobically challenging as aikido or karate, the controlled movements and constant rising from a seated position to standing, and back again is quite demanding physically. Especially for a gentleman of ..ahem.. a fuller figure and…

Some thoughts on war & peace

Last Sunday saw the first iaido class of 2009, an event marked with a wonderful party at a fellow student’s house afterwards. What I thought was going to be just a quick tin of beer and a chat turned out to be a whole afternoon of eating, chatting and watching videos of past iaido competitions…

Great expectations

I have just returned home from my first Bonenkai – the Japanese version of the Western Xmas party. Bonenkai means “forget the year”. While there is no tradition of Christmas here, as my last post explains in great detail, great store is placed in the year-end/New Year. So it’s a time to bring the year…

The journey begins

I have now started training at my friend K-san’s dojo in central Tokyo. And what a marvellous experience it is. In the space of just one week I’ve managed to pack in no less than 9 hours solid training – that’s an incredible improvement over what I’m able to do in the UK. I don’t…

All Japan Iaido Championships

Yesterday I travelled up to Sendai with my friend and Iaido colleague K san for the All Japan Iaido Championships. This is an annual event that changes venue each year. This year’s host city, Sendai, lies about 300 miles north of Tokyo, necessitating a rather early start and a long drive – made all the…

Following the trail

Last night I made contact with my iaido friend and mentor here in Japan. We had a very pleasant evening discussing the state of iaido, both here and in the UK and catching up on all the latest news. He mentioned that he had already talked to his teacher about me joining the dojo, and…

A lesson learned

Another day of toil; a bigger pile of rubbish and more problems. It’s looking increasingly likely I’m going to have to just give away some expensive items like the tumble drier and Little M’s bed because I can’t find any takers. My mum said to just do it and forget about it; “You’ve done your…