Shoujin Kan members, lead by Kishikawa sensei, had the privilege to join the 2016’s Oubu-kan summer camp.
Through seminars which included Reiho, relationship and importance of kendo, study and work, everyone could understand deeply the kendo culture, philosophy and it’s benefits in daily life.
The improvement in basics and techniques were beyond everyone’s expectations, thanks to the unique teachings and kendo style of Sakuragi sensei, Harumi sensei and all Oubu-kan instructors’ and members’ touching dedicated assistance and friendship.
It was truly a worthwhile and unforgettable opportunity few people can experience, even in Japan.

All Shoujinkan members are extremely grateful to the great hospitality and friendship of Oubu-kan. Below the reflections of some of the members.
by Jason

            From 11th to 14th August 2016, a group of shoujinkan members attended a summer camp organized by Oubukan at Oita. I am not going to talk about what techniques we have learnt as I believe that other members will do so. Therefore, I am going to write on how the summer camp enhanced our understanding in terms of our dojo kun.

The 6 dojo kun are well embedded in every members’ mind. However, what are the real meanings behind them? Kishikawa sensei always remind us to think deeper into the meaning instead of repeating the dojo kun out of formalities. However, keiko time is limited, it is difficult for us to apply and understand the true meaning of our dojo kun. Through a series of seminars and practices during the summer camp, we all understand better the message behind them.



            Everyone playing kendo should know the basic reiho, from the beginning till the end, everything is governed by a correct reiho. Before, the way I learned the reiho was by observing. Since I practiced kendo, I do the rei according to how the sempais did. I have never think about the why and how should be do the correct reiho.

            On the first day of the summer camp, we were fortunate enough to have Harumi Sakuragi sensei teaching us the theory and origin of the reiho. Before that seminar, I did not notice that the way I was doing the rei was wrong. Doing all the reiho is to show respect to kendo itself and to senseis and others. Doing them in a right way help expressing our respect and gratitude.

            We have also learned why the rei is done in such a way. It goes back to ancient samurai’s style in protecting themselves while greeting the others. Harumi sensei’s seminar allows us to rethink and recollect the reiho.



            Most, if not all, people doing kendo have their own job, either as a businessman or a student. Therefore, it is important for us to develop a balanced life-style between practicing kendo and working.

            The summer camp consisted of a number of groups, including Japanese primary and secondary school students. The schedule of the camp is well arranged and organized so that they have a 2 to 3 hours study time every night after keiko and dinner. In addition, they were all well prepared with papers and pens for note-taking during the seminars.



            Sometimes after starting kendo, especially after a number of shiai, people may start thinking why am I that bad in kendo? Am I not suitable for this sport? Should I give up practicing? However, this is not the true meaning and heart to the practice of swordsmanship. During the summer camp, we have had the opportunity to attend a seminar conducted by Nomori sensei, who is a doctor. During his seminar, he shared with us how to do kendo with a correct heart and attitude, including how to train yourself even during unpleasant situations. We have to make ourselves stronger by not giving up.



            During the camp, the schedule was arranged in a tough and demanding way. We have had 3 keiko per day and around 2.5 hours each. After the first day, most of us were suffering from severe foot and muscle pain. Especially after an extremely tough keiko on the second day, when we have done numerous suburi, waza, footwork and kirikaeshi. However, none of us have skipped a single training. We have trained ourselves to cope with the pain and the tiredness. As a result, we all improved in terms of waza and stamina.



            Everyone from Japan, including all sensei and sempais are very kind and nice to us. Apart from keiko, we enjoyed the “second dojo” every night. It is a good opportunity for us to interact with the others. Outside the dojo, we have the chance to drink and talk with the others apart from kendo. We treasure the friendship we have with people from Oubukan.

            Apart from new friends from Oubukan, the friendship between us, members from Shoujinkan is also deepened. During the summer camp, we stayed together as a group. We practice, eat and sleep together. Our tie would not have been that close had it not been for the camp.


            Lastly, we are reminded to honour our parents. At the dojo, there were some parents of the Japanese students helping out at the dojo. They spent lots of time in taking care of all the people in the dojo. It reminds us of how important are our parents in our daily lives.

            By way of summary, the Oita camp is a very fruitful and unforgettable one. The techniques and friendship we gained cannot be replaced. If there is a chance next year, I will definitely go again!


by Clare
People said kendo reflects your personality and attitude. In Oita, there’s an inspiring talk about how to strengthen your mind (心構え), about how to balance work/study and kendo, about how to face difficult times. If you able to uphold a positive attitude, you will be able to improve yourself both physically and mentally in 3 years. During practice, Sensei wanted us to try hard and give out all we have learnt. We were asked to strive for better, to be tough, to keep the high spirit even in doing loads of kirikaeshi. To believe in yourself that you must be able to do it. To have confidence. And most importantly, if there’s a difficult way and a easy way, always go for the hard one. In second dojo, Senpei taught us attitude towards practicing kendo again. What I remember the most is that, every time after talking about kendo, Sakuraki sensei will said ‘so as work! work is the same. Isn’t it?’ These teaching are all theory only before I come back Hong Kong. But after this trip when I return to work, I truly understand why people said how to do kendo can simply apply to how you work.

Let me share a bit about my personal story in order to illustrate what I have learnt in Japan better. It’s lucky that no longer after I know I hate sitting in office and replying emails, I got to know my best friend’s brother and started a tutorial center together. I felt anxious but at the same time excited to start my own business. I have lots of vision at the beginning. It started quite well, with my experienced partner’s guidance, I can earn my living right at the beginning. This industry has steady income compare to those selling products. It was so steady that I gradually became lazy and not stepping forward to making more professional notes or to take advance study, to develop the business. It just feel that there’s some problem but I couldn’t point it out before the trip.

New school term starts, there are new students but also old students leaving. Some students that I have been teaching a few years withdrew from class. It’s sad. I tried to reflect and figure out what’s the problem as I believe- If you are able to overcome the problem and do better next time, it’s just a lesson; but if you just complain and deny the problem, it’s a failure. After days of reflection, I suddenly realized that I was not devoting fully. I was doing easy teaching. I was not teaching in a high spirit. I unconsciously set myself a comfort zone. There’s still fear and lack of confidence deep in my mind. On one hand I believe I have the strong mind to face difficulties. While on the other hand, I’m actually not acting with confidence. Want to do easy things. Don’t want hard things. And Not trusting in myself that I can do better. After all, difficulties in life and work may not necessary appear as ‘difficulties’ but ‘steady’. When you are steady, you lost the fighting spirit. Days passed and I set myself a limit without even noticing. When I kind of reach or near the limit, I stop. I justify myself that I don’t have the resources, I don’t have a team like those famous tutors have to assist me. Thus, I’m working good enough already in this stage, which is totally wrong. At that moment, Sensei and senpai’s words come to my mind. I shouldn’t lost my passion, aggressiveness and excitement in work that easily. If I can be so obsessed with kendo, why can’t I put more passion in work? If I can’t do the same as kendo in work, it’s that I don’t do it but not I can’t do it. After all, it only depends on my attitude. Having what Sensei and senpai said in mind, I am now rejuvenated in work now!

Actually after settling my uncertainties at work. I realize my kendo has the same problem too. Sensei is sooooo right. You can do easy keiko, but if you do so, you will never improve to higher level! Chaos and disorder in mind being settled thanks to Kishikawa Sensei and Oubukan’s Minna’s teaching. It feels like I can go forward to actualize my vision and goal without worries now! I finally understand why sensei emphasis on work/study and kendo balance. When do kendo, practice wholeheartedly and forget about work. And vice versa.

Before, I used to think working is an output while learning (sports, art, whatever interests) is an input. I like my work but thought work had nothing to do with interest. As long as I find something that I can challenge like kendo, life is still kind of balanced. Yet after the camp, I have new idea. It’s not good enough to only enjoy kendo but not work. You can’t spilt up yourself into half. That’s schizophrenia. Lazy at work but full passion in kendo maybe ok but no matter you want it or not, work takes up a large part of life. So why don’t I uphold the fighting spirits in work too? I can benefit from that myself! I believe I may still face lost and difficult times in the future and I will have to tune myself again. But I will always remember to choose the hard way instead of easy. To work hard and enjoy both kendo and work would be my goal!
by Alan
This Gasshuku (Training Camp) was the first I had experienced in my life, so I was very excited. And I certainly wasn’t let down. During this Gasshuku, I managed to learn a lot, experience a lot, and make a lot of new friends. To put it simply, it was a fun experience that was made possible to the Senseis over at Oobukan, and at Shoujinkan. When we first arrived, the members from Japan took a lot of care for us, and I think we were able to deepen bonds this way. They even helped prepare our lunches on the first day! But as the days gradually progressed, the Hong Kong members learnt to be able to act independently. So I think that Shoujinkan members have learnt much more about Kendo in an international point of view.

Every night, we had a drinking party, in which everyone from Japan and Hong Kong had a lot of fun talking, eating, and drinking. (Of course, as a minor, I didn’t drink…). Everyone was able to have a lot of fun, and I think many new friendships were made during these few nights. It was very enjoyable, and I felt extremely welcomed by everyone. It was a very good example of the strong bonds that Kendo (and beer) can bring.

But not all we did during the Training Camp was fun and games. After all, you were supposed to train during a training camp. Again, the senior members from Japan taught us a lot of new things. Harumi sensei taught us the proper way to show respect in Kendo, in which I learnt a lot of new things such as ‘rei’, ‘seiza’, and even how to sit properly! (Actually, it’s not only Kendo. I think it’s a good life skill to get used to.) But I also felt that Nomori sensei’s inspirational talk on improving in Kendo was useful too. He made a clear point that people can change in 3 years. But more importantly (for me, at least), he showed us a graph correlation between Kendo and studying. I learnt a lot during the numerous seminars held.

The members attending the training camp came from all over Japan, and there were lots of different fighting styles. But Sakuragi sensei and Kishikawa sensei ensured that we could learn from each of the senior members. For that, I would like to thank the two senseis, but apart from them, I would also like to thank the senior members, who spent most of their free time teaching us. I think everyone in Hong Kong was able to learn a lot too. During this Gasshuku, everyone was able to have a chance to do some matches against the Oobukan members. Whilst the majority of our results were losses, I believe that we were able to do a good match against them. We were able to challenge them to a certain extent, and we were able to try our best. Even when we were tired, we managed to pull through, and bring the best out of ourselves. To me, this is more important than a simple win or loss. I was fortunate to be able to fight against a Saga Prefecture representative. I was also able to fight against a highschooler. It was a good experience in which I think I was able to learn more about the Japan kendo style.
Whilst I was a special case, I was able to have my birthday during the Gasshuku. I had never experienced a birthday outside of Hong Kong in a kendo-filled environment, but I wasn’t looking forward to it. In fact, you could say that I was nervous, because I had never experienced something like this. But luckily for me, everyone was quite nice to me about it. The Japanese members sang the birthday song during breakfast, and wished me a happy birthday. Some people even gave me presents! I was extremely happy by this, and I think that this is one of the many unforgettable memories that I made in Japan. The Training Camp was a very good experience in which I learnt a lot of things I never had before. I think that it was a worthwhile experience, and am glad to have had been there. If another chance such as this arises, I would like to join again.

by Victor
















by Angela

On 11-14 August, Kishikawa-sensei took us to a Kendo summer camp in Oita, organized by his sensei in Japan, Sakuragi-sensei. I did not even want to go in the first place, because for me, Kendo in summer in Japan = heat and tiredness. But then the 4-day experience has been so enjoyable that we are all longing to go back. There are so many great memories to share, but I will try to sum up this camp with some words said by the wonderful senseis we met there.


“Whenever you are in the middle of a junction, always choose the harder path.”

Throughout the whole camp, Sakuragi-sensei always says, try hard if you want to achieve something; if you still can’t achieve it, it means you’re not trying hard enough.

This sounded so cruel at the beginning that the words kept ringing around my ears. I AM trying hard already. Compared to one or two years ago, I am taking Kendo more seriously and I am definitely trying (relatively) harder, but improvement just doesn’t come as easily as the way I wanted. Sometimes I feel so frustrated that I can’t help thinking, maybe I’m just not suitable for Kendo.

But then Sakuragi-sensei reassured us, you just need to try hard. Trying hard does not merely means practising recklessly, it is about understanding what practices are needed in order to achieve your goal. There is simply no short-cut to success. I want to believe that, after making all the hard turns and detours, there will be some beautiful views waiting for me.

One of the most precious gifts I got from this summer camp was all the ecouragement from the senseis. So I’m reminding myself now – whenever it is too hard to continue, just remember Sakuragi-sensei saying “you CAN do it” and “just believe in yourself” with a smiling face, I should be able to go so much further.

Receiving guidance from senseis

“What are you going to do when you’re scared? Are you going to simply take off your men and go?”

The keiko on the first two days of the camp was comparatively light, and sometimes even relaxed. The real challenge came on the third day. We did 350 kirikaeshi in the morning, had shiai and ji-keiko in the afternoon, at which I really felt that I have tried my very best. So when Kishikawa-sensei asked whether we wanted a soft or tough keiko, I actually thought I deserved a soft one. But I just couldn’t pull up the courage to say so, so I could only be worried, anxious and even annoyed about the frightening keiko awaiting us.

Before we began, Sakuragi-sensei asked us how we felt. Scared, one of us answered. That was when sensei asked – So what are you going to do when you’re scared? Are you going to simply take off your men and go? No, I told myself, I might have run away in other occasion, but not now, not when I’ve tried so hard in the past three days.

Kirikaeshi was, as expected, tough. But actually it wasn’t so hard when your motodachi was rooting for you, everyone was supporting each other, and most importantly, you told yourself to smile and keep fighting.

All the hard but fruitful practices

The 4-day experience has truly been unforgettable, just as the senseis wished for us. But the unforgettable part is not the number of kirikaeshi we did, or the near-tear tough keiko we experienced. What will forever leave in my mind are the encouragement, motivation and courage we received from all the loving senseis and sempais.

Once again, I would like to thank all the wonderful people we met from Oubukan and Kishikawa-sensei for taking us to such a meaningful trip.


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