Dojo

2016 06 19 - 11:51

The room I have my class in every Wednesday.

dojo
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Friday night’s all right for fixing

2016 06 18 - 11:49

Tool Number One in the sword-handler’s repertoire, is apparently dental floss. Tool Number Two is clear nail polish. After long use, things can loosen up a little – particularly the tsuba – so to avoid the cost of sword repair as long as you can (because it can sometimes cost nearly the price of a sword to take it apart and put it back together again to tighten it), you can wind dental floss under/over the seppa (which are like washers above and below the tsuba) to tighten it up; and the saya will loosen over time also, so to tighten that up a little, you can coat the area around (inside) the opening with a few layers of clear nail polish.

That was my Friday night.

I really know how to live it up.

Addendum:

What I wish I could do, is afford to get this sword fixed before I give it back to its rightful owner; because though it’s not mine, I have been using it, and it’s the least I can do as thanks for the loan.

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Laundry

2016 06 06 - 11:46

Since last September it’s been a never-ending series of hand-washing and dry-cleaning my hakama – one does not put an expensive piece of black martial arts clothing into public use washers where people frequently also use bleach. Tie-dye, not acceptable in the dojo. It finally occurred to me that the simple solution was to get my hands on one of the two washers in my building before anyone else could get at them, do a load of laundry that doesn’t care if it gets bleach marks first, then wash the hakama.

Success. Keikogi and hakama still acceptably ninja black, and daisy fresh.

I do so like the idea of $2 to wash my gear at home, as opposed to the $30 it costs to have them dry-cleaned.

Yes, I do lead an exciting life.

There’s this idea in some circles that one’s dojo gear should always be a little bit dirty. Where and how this came about is kind of beyond me, but I’ve seen it mentioned in a few things I’ve read. The Japanese are aggressive bathers as far as I understand, and dirty or smelly clothes, or your person, would be disrespectful to yourself and your fellow budoka. Cleanliness, tidiness, and proper appearance are very important.

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Guelph Iaido Seminar, 2016

2016 05 21 - 15:39

I had an absolutely stupendous day at the Guelph Iaido Seminar. It’s going to take me a while to process the intense amount of information that the various senseis gave us during the training sessions. I am exhausted, and my bed is going to feel good when I fall on it, but it was so worth the stiff muscles, lack of sleep, and long hours.

I don’t think my sensei realises the impact he’s having, how decent a person he is, and how much I’m growing to enjoy having him as part of my life. He’s incredibly kind, generous, and supportive.

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Doors Open / Demo

2016 05 08 - 15:35

I was at the Hamilton Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre today, to help out with Doors Open Hamilton. I didn’t think I’d be doing anything more than that little helping out, but I did end up demonstrating a little Iaido for some of the people who came by – and I think I talked at least three folks into trying a class. It was a really good turnout up there, even though I thought it might not be given that it’s Mother’s Day.

I hope I did my club proud. There was no one there to comment on my mistakes, except myself.

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Tsuka-ate

2016 04 13 - 21:17

I managed to do this waza repeatedly today, without putting my sword through my sleeve again.

I consider that progress.

That starting position is called tate hiza - hiza is knee. How the hell the samurai used to sit around like that all the time, is beyond me. They make it look so casual, sitting around with the tea and swilling sake.

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So-giri

2016 04 07 - 21:09

This is absolutely my favourite waza to watch done by others...

… it is not so much fun doing it myself.

… especially not when both of your palms are bruised, and several muscles stiff, because you tripped on a piece of sidewalk the night before your class, in front of a Presbyterian church (the lovely cakey looking one on James St. S., for those locals playing along at home). I mention this only because a) I like to provide comic entertainment to people, and b) I may be going to hell, and wish to give everyone there a heads up.

… also worth noting: I fell so artfully that I fell right out of both of my shoes and my hat fell off.

… sadly, unlike the time I fell on a dark sidewalk and broke my finger, there was no beer involved.

Re: the waza: It’s a difficult one to carry off, because every one of the overhead cuts is done at a different angle. There are eight standing waza suitable for testing at grading time. This will be one of the ones I don’t do.

Addendum:

It’s worth noting that were I, as a mere beginner, to even try this at grading, they might fail me just for being arrogant enough to do it. It is not a beginner’s waza.

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Monkey art

2016 03 14 - 21:05

These are the two pieces of Year of the Monkey artwork by Cruise Sensei that I won on Saturday. Sadly, my crappy scanner doesn’t show the niceties.

YOTM
YOTM
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Sword / Gear

2016 03 14 - 20:11

I was hoping to get a big girl sword of my very own on Saturday, but the ones that were available in the right size for me, were not at all ‘right’. Almost a good thing anyhow, given that the price was way over what I could afford. That’s what’s going to be the big stumbling block – cost. I can’t at all afford one, but I need to find a way to make it happen. I was expecting an influx of cash that isn’t now going to happen, so that binds my luck. Makes me a little frustrated on a few counts, not the least of them being that I don’t like borrowing things from people, not big things. I’m grateful to have the sword that was lent to me; but, at the same time, I don’t feel comfortable borrowing it. It makes me feel a little unsettled.

Who knows, maybe I’ll yet win a lottery.

I’m not keen on buying a sword online without being able to hold it first, but I might have to chance it, and hope the seller in question has a good return policy if it’s not the right sword for me. There’s a huge selection at this site, which has the added advantage of being in Canada (no duty or exchange) and offering free shipping on orders over a certain amount.

By the way, if you’re looking for martial arts gear and equipment – for Kendo, Aikido, and Iaido – this site is a good place to start.

AOI Budogu

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Bowl

2016 03 13 - 20:39

Here’s the ceramic bowl I won at the seminar yesterday. It’s a lovely piece, about a foot across. He said there was something Zen in the pattern, that I’d notice when I took a good look at it. I haven’t noticed yet, but I’m blind, so it could either be there, or it’s not being there could be the point. :)

Addendum:

It’s skulls, those bumps in the bowl. I had to email him and ask!

bowl
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