Kendo Tilburg

WaShinKan Summer Camp! (Natsu Gasshuku – 合宿) 2018

This year’s Natsu Gassuku (or ocassionally called Natsu Batsu – Summer punishment) was a great succes! WaShinKan members had an amazing time, great experience and learned a lot.

When most of the members gathered at Ivo’s place, we directly went out for some grocery shopping at Jumbo. Of course it had to be healthy, contain a lot of nutrients and be tasty! We decided to mainly eat pasta this weekend, so that’s what we went for.

After groceries it was time for the first step of getting in shape again and the first training-session of the summer camp: Running! We drove to our usual running location (see our trainingschedule for the location), and went for an initial round (3.2 KM) to see how in (or better said, out of) shape everyone was. After running, we hit the showers and started preparing the food! Then all around the table at Ivo’s place and feast!

After dinner it was time for drinks, discussion, explanations and some Kata practice! Because the ceiling was pretty low, the choice of swords was on the shoto (usually only used in the kodachi ippon- until sanbonme). Ivo of course had to do some explanation on why the shoto existed in the first place to the newer members, showed parts of the kodachi Kata. After writing some of the info down, it was back to practice and then off to bed!

The very next morning at 08:00 (yes, very early…) we already sat in the cars for another round of running! Everyone started off again with stretching under the judging eyes of our very own running expert Rudy. Although early, everyone did their best and actually ran a better pace than before. Then back home and quick breakfast with some bread and bananas!

After breakfast and a moment to relax, everyone grabbed their swimming gear and we headed to the swimming pool. Although most of the time was free and people were only relaxing in the pool, chatting with the lifeguards or slipping down the slides, we also had a session of diving lessons for our youngest members. Of course everyone was quite satisfied with the day so far, but to be honest, practice wise, it wasn’t that hard. Not yet at least, but that would come after dinner, so first stop: groceries shopping.

After getting the food for the night, we headed to the dojo for some practice. First up warming up, then quickly onto all the different pointers of Kata! Changing clothing and heading back to Ivo’s place, everyone was already getting hungry. Not too strange, considering the activities so far! Time for some cooking, and yes, again a healthy pasta!

When everyone finished dinner, the dishes were washed and the place was neat again, we drove back to the Dojo. We started with our regular warming up, but because there were still a lot of pointers and improvement points, we went over the whole exercises again in a slower tempo. Then a 5 minute break, followed by a 1.000 suburi! And not just swinging the sword, actually doing proper suburi! Very though, and as you can imagine, everyone was pretty exhausted afterward. Nonetheless we started mawari geiko after this. You can imagine that afterwards everyone was dying for some drinks and rest, so after a few beers, it was quick off to bed.

The next morning waking up was pretty hard for most of the members, but since it was the last day, everyone pushed themselves and got up, ready to run! The mosquitoes in the forest were up early as well! Then back home, quick shower, breakfast and off to the Dojo for the last day of the summer camp: Examination time!

The first hour consisted of everyone doing their basic practice, whether they wanted to try kata, go over some of the theory or do some basic kihon strikes, it was up to them. Then a quick lunch and onto the actual exams! We started with the lowest grades, as it’s usually done in examinations (so we started with 6th Kyu) and went as far as 2nd Kyu. When the exams were over and everyone was graded, all examinees got feedback on their performance and were told if they passed or had to try again the next time. WaShinKan thinks it’s important to have a good basis when doing any Budo, so we are happy to implement the Kyu grading system in our club. This really allows all the members to be of a decent level when they try dan-grades or test in international competitions!

When the exams passed, the focus shifted to shiai, or competition practice in our case. Everyone was told how to hold the flags and how to referee. Ivo explained the basics on how to walk, how to look, where to be in terms of the other players and shinpan and even how to properly walk out of the shiaijo when switching shinpan. Of course it was then for some try out runs where 2 players fought eachother and the newer people got to gain some experience in how to be a shinpan.

When all was done, we quickly folded the hakama and gi and went to Ivo’s place for some drinks and a little bit of relaxing time, before heading out for dinner! A quick update, practice was quite though, and bruises are part of the drill when you are teaching the less experienced!

Anyhow, after a well-deserved break, we went to Enjoii, one of the Japanese restaurants in Tilburg. Enjoii is located close to the dojo, and there we met up with the Kyudo people from WaShinKan who had their central Kyudo practice that Sunday! Really nice to close off the whole Natsu Gasshuku with so many people, so much fun and all the great food, drinks and converstations. And then finally onwards to home!

For all those who participated, thank you so much for making Ivo’s efforts not in vain and for those not there, make sure you join next time!