To close the year in a fun but also educational way regarding Budo, WaShinKan organizes a special end-of-the-year Keiko, every year around the last weeks of December. For each Budo we had some fun things planned:
Starting with the introduction of Kenjutsu, Alphons Metselaar and Marcel Hesseling introduced us to practice with Fukuro shinai and bokken, Kenjutsu style. We tried a lot and most of the movements of the body felt a bit weird to us, only practicing Kendo or Iaido. Kenjutsu is unlike Kendo not completely directed to the front, as well as that the cutting motions are more based on how to kill or wound a person, rather than to score a perfect ippon. Very interesting to try! After this we quickly jumped to our lunches and had some conversations about Kenjutsu to let the meaning of it sink in. After we ate our full, we started with the Tameshigiri course. Some of the members already had some experience in cutting the straw mats, but most of them did not. We tried a few times in the air to make the cutting motion perfect. When feeling comfortable, the cutting commenced! Trying to get some really nice and clean shots, Karin set up a studio like setting. Some flash-lights and a big camera finally resulted in some really cool pictures of most of the members actually cutting trough the straw mats in a diagonal way.
Tameshigiri is all good fun when it comes to the cutting, however, you of course also have to clean up afterwards. It’s a rather messy procedure since the straw pieces fly almost everywhere after multiple cuts. Swiping all the pieces together and putting them in garbage bags, we had about 5 to 6 complete filled bags to dispose of. Pretty heavy too, since the straws all were soaked in water for about 3 days to get the texture and pressure of human flesh and bones. Scary!
After the Tameshigiri and cleaning up, we changed the setting of the dojo to a Kyudojo. With a target, an arrow curtain and everything set in place, Ivo gave an introduction course to Kyudo. Walking everybody slowly trough the steps of pulling the arrow back, aiming and releasing in a correct way, we started to let the people shoot by themselves. We made the distance to the target pretty short and used balloons for target! It was a lot of fun and everybody got to shoot at least a few times!
After changing the dojo back again into a Kendojo, it was time for the final stage of the end-of-the-year session of Keiko: Kendo, balloon shobu. Basically it is a balloon death match where there are balloons tied to your do, kote and men. The first one to lose all the balloons, loses the shobu. And the cool thing is that with having 2 colors of balloons, we had a red and a white balloon team. Shin Nakada VS WaShinKan!