Bob Hicks

It is always difficult to be asked to write a few words on the passing of an old friend so I shall be brief.

My wife and I knew Bob from a distance through his interest in ‘Things Japanese’ more or less all his adult life. It was about forty years ago that we first invited him to contribute an intermittent book review to the Journal of the British Kendo Federation on cultural publications on Japanese subjects that would interest our Members. About this time he began practice in these arts and many of our older students remember him. I should add ‘from a distance’ because Peterborough lies a long way from our centre here in the South so it was not so easy to meet on any sort of regular basis. But, thanks to the invention of email we kept up our correspondence until a couple of months ago.

His erudite understanding was always great help to us all and deeply appreciated. It is such a pity that he never achieved his ambition to visit that country.

Our sincere condolences go out to Sara and his family.

Roald Knutsen and The Eikoku Kendo Renmei

Beginners Instruction Guidance – part two

Continued from part one

In writing this article, we have been fortunate to have a number of translations from the wisdom of several very senior kodansha in both Kendo and Iai-jutsu All these masters and many others over the years, emphasise teaching the basics in a sympathetic and stimulating manner. These key skills are particularly important when we are introducing novices to what is exclusively a secretive Japanese culture, one deriving from the warrior tradition over the past fifteen hundred years.  The teaching skill is not based on finding fault with early errors but encouraging newcomers to absorb the principles naturally without the fear of harsh correction.

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Beginners Instruction Guidance

by Roald Knutsen and several senior Yudansha 

One of the most troublesome of subjects in the proper martial arts is the best way to teach complete novices from their very first experience in their chosen dojo. The problem is not the new student but the method of teaching him or her and ensuring that those doing the teaching know what they are about. In other words, are these ‘seniors’ aware of what is required and how to go about it? It is of the greatest importance to the whole dojo membership that mistakes and errors don’t become established. Shakespeare put it quite clearly when he wrote: ‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions’ – and he was absolutely right. Mistakes not corrected from Day One will plague the student even thirty or forty years in the future – and will always be a handicap to progress. All the masters of Kendo and Iai-jutsu that I and my fellow seniors have had the good fortune to  their instruction, have followed one set of principles throughout their own careers: basicsbasicsbasics – and when fed up with them – yet more basics!


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In Memory of Reg Winnall

It is with regret that I have to let you know about the passing of Reg Winnall in December last year “at the grand old age of 97” in the words of his friend Terry Brough. Reg was a keen budo-ka of several decades standing. He practiced Judo in Stafford in the 1960’s, which led to Aikido, including a seminar with Koichi Tohei sensei when he visited the UK (Reg managing to capture the sessions on film). This in turn sparked an interest in chi/ki that he stayed with him for the remainder of his life and partly explains his fluid ashi-waza. 

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