Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I can't wait to see THIS exhibit at the Museum of New York. I especially love this picture:

You can imagine this girl - a New York socialite, young and healthy - and her first experience with these foreign warriors, and what must have been going through her mind. As per most photographs of the time, their expressions are serene, as you had to wait for the camera to capture the image and it's much easier to maintain a placid expression. I suspect this was a much easier feat for the samurai, who were accustomed to keeping their expressions neutral, as was the cultural societal norm for the Japanese. Also, these were more than warriors, these were cultural ambassadors, charged with breaking Japan's self-imposed isolation from pretty much the rest of the world. What do you think they were thinking?

The exhibit begins this Friday, the 25th and runs through October 11th.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Japanese sword action Samurai exercise "TSURUGI"

This guy has some of the best form I've ever seen. I'm actually
going to use his description for the grip for my beginner students.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good things are coming!

Hello blog. I know we haven't spoken in a while, and I guess that's my fault, but you know, you don't make it easy. Twitter, Facebook, Buzz... all these services and how can I continue to.... ok, I know, I know, I'm just making excuses. But maybe we can try this again? Maybe this time it will be different? Iknow I've said that before, but can't you find deep down in your code to give me one last chance? Probationary period? OK, I'm willing to try anything if it means we'll be able to spend more time together. Good, let's give it a try then!

So there's a lot going on in the wide world of Samurai swords. Alright, so maybe it's not that wide, but it's certainly hopping! First of all, we have a Kendo and sword demonstration coming up this Saturday, June 19 at the ANIMENEXT convention in Somerset NJ. We're going to talk about how real sword training has influenced anime, and if we have enough time, might to a hands-on workshop. Hope you can make it to this!

On July 11, I am going to be taking a blackbelt examination for the martial art Joson Sebup. This is an extremely old sword form from Korea predating iaido. It is from a military codex that compiled different fighting styles from the proto-Korean kingdom's allies and enemies, including China and Japan. One of the challenges of this form is that there is no living record on how the techniques were practiced, so all we can do is interpret from illustrations. Here is a video of the form demonstrated by the Korean National Kendo team. These guys (especially the girl in front) are GOOD!

We're also going to have a master's workshop about Josun Sebup and Kendo (Kumdo) on Friday July 9 at 6:30 at the SMK Kendo Academy in Dumont NJ.

Also... I purchased a new sword. The one I currently use is great for general use and repetative swinging but I wanted a new one that:
- Was made of steel instead of zinc-aluminum alloy
- Was a little heavier to feel more like a "real" cutting sword and to bridge the gap between practice cutting (on soft targets) to real cutting (hard targets like bamboo mats)
- I could use for demonstration purposes.

Here she is. Ain't she a beaut?


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