It is always a pleasure to have visits by old friends and Yasuda-san’s stay in late-May was no exception. We have known this strong lady Kendoka for thirty years, first meeting at the 25th Anniversary of the Kobe Isshinkan Dojo – and, again, at the 50th Anniversary in 2005, in addition to being invited twice to stay at her house in order to visit the great Kasuga Shrine and Nara Kendo.
The Butokukan Dojo was very well attended for this long-promised visit and many members were able to have a practice.
One of the pleasures of visiting seniors lie in the small ways that fresh insight enters one’s awareness through what they say, particularly when they are more relaxed. In the case of the present visit it was interesting to talk about the subtle ways that sports-Kendo has moved away from the older traditions of only fifteen or so years ago. Maybe, without intending to be impertinent, an experienced ‘foreigner’ might see things clearer because of the distance from the centre and only intermittent contact. One of these points appears to be the move to slightly simplify the ubiquitous Kendo Kata, thus taking away or undermining the real teaching of some forms. For example: is irimi-seigan-no-kamae still present? Is the meaning of the hand mudra (ritual ‘seals’) explained to students at all? It certainly used to be. Lots of food for thought which can only be regarded as positive.
We thank Yasuda-sensei for her visit and trust that she found it worthwhile.