The 20th Haku Un Kai in Kashiwa, Chiba on April 29th and 30th
Written by Hiroshi Takahashi
The 20th Haku Un kai was held in Kashiwa just before the Dan grading this month. On the first day, the 29th, five members from Haku Un, and five members from Shodokan participated. Two of the management staff members and two from Kashiwanoha Academy joined. In addition, Miguel and his students from Chile, who had a special practice at Shodokan on Thursday, April 27, in total 10 people joined us. On the second day, the 30th, 13 people joined the practice.
We learned the basics again this time. Okada sensei instructed on exercises to be aware of the center of the body. He taught us how to stretch our back muscles as if we were striking the ceiling with both arms, how to strike both palms in the center of the body, and how to be aware of the connection from there to the posture.
In order to be aware of the center of the body, are you aware of the position of the navel and tanden?
Where is the left fist?
Where do you feel the balance on the soles of your feet?
Okada Sensei's instruction contained in his simple movements the essential points that are absolutely necessary to be aware of the center of the body and to be in the correct posture. We felt that this is a practice method that we should be keenly aware of on a daily basis because it is something that can be practiced alone and confirmed by oneself on a daily basis.
We put Men on and Okada sensei told us how to draw out the opponent's Ki. He was keenly aware of the difficulty of basics, especially the difficulty of striking with the hips and tanden, rather than using the end of the body. As the "basics" are so important, it is important to repeat them thoroughly and over time. In addition, Mr. Okada explained the main points in easy-to-understand language. In this way, the teacher and student of Hakuunkai become in tune with each other, and we felt like we were united. Then we had some Tachiai and Jigeiko.
After the first day's practice, we went to a spa in Otakanomori near the gymnasium, and a reception was held. The beauty of Hakuunkai is that people who normally practice in their own hometowns can get together in this way and deepen our Kendo friendship with the same goal in mind.
On the second day, taking advantage of the spacious gym, the participants were instructed to step forward with their right foot and then proceed forward with their left foot, while clapping their hands with both palms. Repeating the go and return motion over and over again was quite a workout and effective in warming up the body. He reminded us that the important points of "basics" are hidden in simple movements.
The emphasis was also placed on the practice of Nippon Kendo Kata.
We practiced repeatedly, over and over again, being aware of every single detail, from the nine steps, to matching with the opponent, to not moving selfishly, to the height of the sword, to the timing, to the manner of the kata, and even to the Riai(explanation of the causes of action). We spent about an hour and a half practicing from the first to the sixth. Although we were not able to go on to the seventh and later kata, it is only at Hakuunkai that we can receive such thorough instruction in Kata.
On both days, we practiced with Okada Sensei. It was fun to see how much we had improved since the last time we practiced together. It was a great experience for everyone who participated. Thank you very much for your hard work.
And lastly, we know that each and every member of Haku Un is working hard in their daily practice while setting their own goals. We are sure that we will be able to deepen our relationship with each other if we can practice together offline. If you have any questions or requests about Hakuunkai, please feel free to contact us. We are looking forward to meeting new people and of course more Haku Un members at the next Haku Un Kai.
- The 23rd Haku Un Kai was held jointly with the Barrier-Free Kendo Club on July 20th and 21st.
- Practice Report of The 21st Haku Un Kai