Hizen Winter Taikai 19th December 2010

It had been snowing. A lot. As such, London’s transport system downgraded itself from ‘maybe if you’re lucky’ to ‘just no’, meaning that Hizen’s winter taikai was more sparsely attended than usual. Those who did make it got a good day’s kendo though, with a pools system ensuring that everyone got several fights.

It was a good day for some of Hizen’s newer members, with several players putting in positive performances despite never having worn armour before. Sadiq in particular took a much more experienced opponent to a long encho, and in doing so won himself the fighting spirit prize.

In the main though, experience won through, with Ini and Emma fighting their way to the final, leaving Tatos and Dillon in joint third place. In a closely fought final, Emma’s precise timing and neatly performed ojiwaza failed to convince the judges, and Ini’s more attacking style took the match.
In the sandan cup, Jeff Martin proved the dark horse. Forced by injury to take an unconventional kamae, he managed to wrongfoot several of his opponents. “He can’t cut kote from that angle”, said one competitor, before stepping into the shiaijo and loosing to a katate kote from gyaku jodan. Which isn’t something you see every day. Jeff also scored a men against Paul Gray, but that was Paul’s only loss, and with four wins he took home the trophy for the next six months.

The most coveted prize of the day is always the fuusen cup – an actual cup, which the winner is duty bound to drink from in the pub. Each competitor had a balloon tied to their men, and when the bashing was done, Ini was the last man standing. Once the prizes had been awarded, many of the competitors headed to the pub to continue the contest by other means.
Report: Phil Wilson