Watchet Grading & Seminar 2013


On Saturday 18th May 2013, four Hizen members – Chi, Lewis, Nari and Simon, travelled to Watchet for a Kendo seminar and grading weekend. The long journey to the venue was extended by traffic but this allowed some of us to soak in some of the lovely weather.

The first day of the seminar started with a short introduction to what the instructors would like us to achieve from the programme followed by a short warm up. The theme of the seminar was attacking and counter attacking using “Seme”. We then went through a number of techniques with emphasis of stepping into your own cutting distance. In the afternoon, we did a variation of Kendo kata which allows us to check whether we were cutting the target. This was followed by more technique training before a Jigeiko session to mark the end of the first day.

After refreshing ourselves, most of us met up in the evening for a meal in Watchet – the Star Inn. The atmosphere was nice and relaxing which were accompanied by good food. We decided to call it an early night so we can get enough rest for the important day to come.

The second day of the seminar started with of a recap session of the techniques covered in the previous day. This was followed by a Kata section where the instructors would examine every pair’s Kata and correct their faults. This was followed by the last part of the seminar – Jigeiko. The Watchet seminar of 2013 came to a close after a short closing speech from the instructors. The anxiously awaited grading would be held after lunch.

Simon was attempting for his Nidan, Nari and Chi for their Sandan and his Yondan. Our new Hizen tenigui acted as a reminder of our training theme from the start of this year. The training to sacrifice; to give everything into every cut. This helped us feel a little sharper and we held nothing back.

Due to the low numbers, Simon was up very soon for his chance to attain Nidan. He did well in both matches but unfortunately, in the time that he had, he was unable to fully convince the judging panel for the grade. We hope Simon will keep trying and use this as a way to further motivate himself to improve.

Next up was Chi and Nari. Chi being the youngest candidate this year was given number 301 and Nari being the second youngest 302. This meant the pair had to face each other in the first match. This wasn’t business as usual, as they both had to forget they were friends and how they usually practice. Advice from Humm Sensei proved to be key in this matchup here. Both managed to demonstrate a Keiko quality high enough to progress into the Kata section of the grading. Having trained together for Kata competitions this part felt easier but there was still a lot of pressure demonstrating right in front of the judging panel. On the final Kodatchi Kata, the Bokken slipped out from Chi’s left hand which messed up the Kata. After the slip up (pun intended) both made sure the second attempt would be flawless. They do pull it off and pass their Sandan test.

After the Sandan grading finished, it was Lewis’ turn to face the challenging test of the Yondan grading. The quality of Kendo was definitely higher than the previous categories, yet not everyone passed. Lewis looked strong in his matches, he tried to only cut when an opportunity presented itself. Despite his efforts, the judging panel did not award him Yondan this time. We hope that this has helped Lewis understand what he needs to do for his next Yondan attempt.

Well done to all the took part in the grading and seminar taking part and showing the kendo that is being taught at Hizen is important to the development of Kendo.