Friday, October 1, 2010

Kashima Gasshuku

I had a wonderful 3 days of training in Shinto Muso Ryu at the gasshuku held by Kaminoda Tsunemori Sensei at the Kashima Shinbuden Dojo in Kashima, Japan. The Shinbuden is a public dojo in Kashima near the Kashima Shrine. It is one of the major shrines in Japan related to the martial arts. The shrine and the Shinbuden are beautiful.

Kaminoda Sensei covered a lot of ground in the 3 days I was at the gasshuku. The training itself was wonderful, and continued for 3 days after I had to leave. The highlight of the gasshuku is always a Hono Enbu held at the dojo on the grounds of Kashima Shrine. Everyone participates, and we get to see excellent demonstrations by Kaminoda Sensei and his top students. This year was no exception.

There were demonstrations of Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu, Isshin Ryu Kusarigama, Ikkaku Ryu Jutte, and Uchida Ryu Tanjo, in addition to many, many demonstrations of Shinto Muso Ryu. This isn’t very interesting to anyone who wasn’t there, but it was really cool to be there.

After the enbu, we paid a visit to the grave of Tsukahara Bokuden, one of the great founders of kenjutsu in Japan. He is remembered as the founder of Kashima Shinto Ryu and a brilliant swordsman. It’s always kind of amazing to that we can connect this way with such a legendary figure.

The training which surrounded the enbu was wonderful. With many shihan available to give instruction, and with a deep pool of senior students to practice with, the training was wonderful. Everyone was doing the same kata together, but each training partner brought individual differences in size and strength, reach and height, timing and maai. All together they made a wonderful stew of training.