Hong Kong Junior delegation with senseis
Hong Kong Junior members, leaded by Kishikawa sensei 8th dan Kyoshi, joined the Kendo Winter Camp at Fukuoka University of Education in January/2014.
Being the first time such program aiming to boost the kendo development of junior members in Hong Kong, it was fully supported by LCSD and executed in a serious way by HKKA.
Through daily practice within Japanese university students, Junior members could experience, through daily and tough practice in Japan’s coldest season, how mind power and control was built in Kendo practice.
Below some reflection of our dojo members who joined this camp.
over 100 people joining morning keiko
In Fukuoka, it was very cold. So during Keiko, most of the Hong Kong players were half frozen to death. The first time, I did Keiko, I couldn’t hold my shinai properly and missed a lot of times. So once I got used to cold (took 2 days), I was really happy that I might get better and improve but the result was the same, I got beaten easily by the intensive Keiko. I learned a lot of things in Fukuoka in the 5 days I had. Some things, I can continue in Hong Kong, but others, it would be impossible.
The coaches there were very strict about body posture and was always trying to teach us (Junior Squad members) about it. For some reason, we always were always the ones that needed improvement-but I was glad because we could learn more-and since we were always the main people who had to be corrected, we learnt a lot. I was given advice on how to do a taiatari by some senseis and how to hit a proper hiki-waza by another sensei. Each sensei had their own advice for me so I learnt a lot.
The players at Japan were very nice and were very encouraging on keeping us on an endless battle with the senseis. Although I learned a lot I found it very tiring and couldn’t find too many positive thoughts about the students. After every Keiko, they would teach us things about the dojo philosophy. The senseis would teach us techniques and posture improvements but the students would teach us the dojo philosophy. The dojo philosophy was very different to Hong Kong so we learnt a lot.
The most important thing that I improved was willpower. Waking up at 4:00 in the morning is something that can easily strengthen your willpower. Also, I was able to withstand the freezing cold for 5 days so I think that it helped me strengthen my willpower also. Besides, even surviving the Keiko boosted my self-esteem by a lot so I was very happy. So after coming back from Japan, I think that my willpower is stronger than before by a lot.
Although I think that the most important thing I developed my willpower, I couldn’t have had done that without the other members in the Hong Kong Junior Squad. They helped me a lot during the trip. I mean, I wasn’t ready mentally. In fact, a lot of things there were things that I didn’t expect. And without the other members, I don’t think I would have had made it to day 3! So I am really grateful for everyone’s help. I have to thank them and the senpai for everything that happened (the safety stuff) so that everyone was happy and safe. (Especially me since I’m a kid)
There were many skills, techniques and advice that couldn’t be given in Hong Kong. That was why I was so happy when the sensei taught me and corrected me. I think I brought back a lot of knowledge from Japan back to Hong Kong and am very happy and willing to share it with everyone. I think that a lot of people will be able to be learn about kendo and its philosophy if they went to Japan.
special technical practice for HK Junior members
FUKUOKA KANGEIKO by Bonnie
It took me some time to digest what had been happened during the kangeiko. Actually the kangeiko training started when I decided to join the camp. Knowing from some of the seniors, the Japanese university training was very tough. I worried that I could not bear the training; therefore, I started jogging around a month before going to Japan. Moreover, with intensity of the squad train, I was physically prepared for the kangeiko. The other challenge arrived when I received the schedule of the kangeiko. We needed to leave the hotel at 5:10am, and arrive the dojo at 5:30am. That means we needed to wake up at 4:30, which was 3:30am in Hong Kong time!! It was a big challenge for me. I tried to adjust my sleeping pattern 1 week before going to Japan. Ya… the kangeiko was tough and we had to wake up super early every morning, but we did not late for once and came back alive.
The kangeiko gave me a valuable experience. The university student let me experienced the right attitude of learning and great fighting spirit. The university student arrived at least 30 minutes before the practice started. We cleaned the dojo’s floor, setup sensei’s Bogu and be ready by 5:50am. During the practice, not even a second was waste. From moving one spot to another spot, we RUN not walk. Students put on their men under 30 seconds and then ran to sensei for practice immediately. Whenever they knew we were having doubt or difficulties, they helped us as once. Even though some of them were not able to communicate with us in English, they did not hold any hesitation to help. In the first practice, one of the students lead the warm up like what we did; however, their Kiai and spirit was totally different from us. They put out 100% of their Kiai. They gave me a feeling that they have decided to put 100% of their effort in the practice without holding back a tiny drop of their energy. They have showed me the right attitude that I should have in every practice and challenge. Whenever we decided to do something, we should use 100% of energy and effort in order not to waste any opportunity in our lives.
In the last practice, there was a birthday girl. Everyone gave her a special birthday “gift”. She was being pushed, thrown on the floor, and asked to do endless kirikaeshi and kakarekeiko. Everytime she fell down, she got back up immediately. She hit every hit with 100%, without resting, without walking, without waiting, without any break. She kept going and going to every sensei and senpai for 2 hours. I was impressed by her spirit! Beside the techniques, skill and physical strengths that I needed to learn from the university students, I needed to learn their fighting spirit. There was another student, who worked at the restaurant at night and came to the practice in the early morning. I should not complain about getting up early when we were enjoying the dinner and she was working. She showed to me that she did not make any excuse and came to practice on time with full spirit. This is the right attitude that I should learn. Facing challenges, it is very easy for us to make excuse and escape from it. However, in order to grow, to improve, we need to face the challenges.
Facing challenges is not easy. But team spirit gives us support and courage to face the challenges. In this kangeiko camp experience let me understand that team spirit does not only presented by cheering teammates during matches. Team spirit is the support and encouragement that given by the teammates during the tough practice. The junior squad members cheered each other up when we were dying during the practice. We reminded each other to have enough rest, food and water before each practice. We helped and supported each other in these few days. With all these positive energy, we dared to challenge ourselves and gave out all our effort and energy in this kangeiko. The great team spirit is one of the elements that made this kangeiko experience memorable.
farewell dinner with senseis