Iaido Journal Nov 2008
2nd Annual Calgary Niten
copyright © 2008 Alexander
(August 19-25th 2008)
the bright side, this year I picked up Watkin Sensei at the right
time. That whole fiasco about flight times was tactfully avoided by
some last minute confirmation to ensure that Watkin Sensei would not
be left stranded… again.
was good, but then again I did almost lose Taylor Sensei, but wait
wait wait. Let met start from the beginning.
year was the second annual Hyoho Niten Ichiryu Seminar in Calgary
Alberta. It was meant to be a solely Niten and Iaido seminar as it
was last year, but through various circumstances and exceptional
planning we were able to add in two more martial arts.
seminar started on a Tuesday evening at the Calgary Nikkei Cultural
and Senior Centre for Kyudo. A number of participants, including
myself, were new to Kyudo and Phil Ortiz Sensei did a wonderful job
instructing us in the ways of the Japanese bow. It was much much
different than western archery, and I am glad to have been given the
opportunity to try it.
just so happened that it was on that same Tuesday that I picked up
Watkin Sensei at the airport, and on time I might add.
I was unable to attend the second evening of Kyudo on Wednesday, but
from what I heard from the other participants it was even better than
the first night. There were what I would consider surprisingly few
incidents with the use of bows and arrows indoors and I think that
could be largely due to the superb supervision and teaching of Ortiz
Sensei and his student John.
following day came and brought the beginning of the Niten Seminar. Most
of the participants were from Calgary, but we were lucky enough
to have some visitors, from Edmonton, British Columbia, and even one
from the United States. Watkin Sensei started as always with the
basics and we spent the evening stomping around in a Niten fashion
trying to master movement from the hara combined with ki ken tai no
ichi. I have yet to master this, but there is always next year.
Thursday, Ortiz Sensei and his student John tried Niten, which was
fitting since Watkin Sensei tried Kyudo. Everyone was able to get a
taste of the different martial arts even if only for a short time.
After the training session they said good-bye as they started their
came and the training was intense. We were only able to train for a
few short hours but they were action packed and provided us with some
reinforcement for our technique, and some correction as well. A few
of the participants that were only attending the Thursday and Friday
sessions were from a Western Swordsmanship Club in Calgary called the
Academy of European Swordsmanship (AES). When asked they were more
than happy to give us a demonstration of German Longsword. It was
very different than the Japanese swordsmanship that I have seen, but
I can see the appeal of that kind of training.
ended and Watkin Sensei and I returned to my house. This was the
point were I lost Taylor Sensei, or perhaps he lost me. I had
surprisingly little contact information for him. I did not have a
phone number, he did not have mine, we did not have a meeting time
set up, and even if we did, we really did not have a meeting place in
mind. The only thing that Taylor Sensei had was my address.
I sat around, and I hoped.
Sensei and his family had flown to the west a few days prior and had
travelled through the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver and were supposed
to be on their way back. I hoped that they had a good map with a big
“X” marked on it for my house as training was to start at
8:00 am the following morning and 11 o’clock pm was fast
don’t remember the exact time, but it was relatively late, and
the doorbell rang. That was a sweet sound. I had been slightly
worried, as the primary coordinator of the seminar it would be me who
would have to explain to the students in the morning eager to learn
Jodo that I had “lost” Taylor Sensei. I am glad I never
had to explain that.
Sensei and his family had arrived and I ushered them inside. I had
to prepare for a training marathon the following day, so I did not
stay up all night, but Taylor Sensei, Watkin Sensei, and a good
portion of Taylor Sensei’s family stayed up into the night.
came, eggs were cooked, eaten, and then Taylor Sensei and I were off
to the Salvation Army Children’s Village. Since I had the keys
we were forced to arrive a few minutes early, but it was not long
until people started showing up and getting ready for training.
a hint past 8 we began. I do not believe that any of the
participants have ever tried Jodo before, but most of us were
somewhat familiar with it. Having been to the May Seminar in Guelph
for the past four years I could not help but notice the screaming
practitioners of Jodo.
Taylor has now given us in Calgary the opportunity to become among
the group of those practitioners. We trained for four hours that
morning, well, I trained for slightly less as I had to return home to
get Watkin Sensei. When we returned to the dojo a Calgary Iaido Club
Member had ordered in pizza and lunch was underway.
ate and training resumed. The seminar attendees split into two
groups. Those who practice Niten worked with Watkin Sensei again,
and the others went with Taylor Sensei to enjoy a little Jodo in the
the Sun with Taylor Sensei
another 6 hours of training most of us were about done for the day. Two
of the other Calgary Iaido Club Members had prepared an
impressive barbecue for the seminar attendees. We all headed over to
the barbecue and enjoyed a wide range of sausages, hot dogs, salads,
chips, marshmallows, and BEvERages. It was a great party and the
turnout was large. I think it was exactly what we needed after a day
of training like that.
ended pretty late, and then we headed home. End Saturday and repeat.
came, eggs were cooked, eaten, and then Taylor Sensei and I were off
to the SACV. Jodo training was excellent and after even just a
little I could understand why so many people found it enjoyable. I
even got used to hearing my own kiai. I suppose we would have
ordered in lunch, but we had so much food left over from the barbecue
we just ate heaps of glorious left-overs. Niten and Jodo training
again filled the afternoon.
evening we did not have a barbecue to attend, but most of us piled
into Boston Pizza for drinks and snacks. Yet another great party. It
was wonderful to be able to spend so much time with Watkin and
Taylor Sensei to speak about training, and whatever else seemed to
come to mind.
that marked the end of the Seminar for most people and they said
their good-byes. Hopefully it is only a temporary good-bye and we
will see them again next year.
night we trained at the SACV for the last time. Taylor Sensei
provided us Iaido instruction and even showed us the Tachi Uchi No
Kurai, something which we have all promised to forget so that we
might better focus on out Seitei.
really was the end of the Seminar. A number of people went to Boston
Pizza again and partied the night away… again. I have never
understood it, but Sensei always seem to have unlimited amounts of
energy. No matter how long they train they always have energy to
stay up all night partying, and then always have more than enough
energy for training the following day. Perhaps that is a great
secret that is revealed only to those in that position.
seminar might have been over but Taylor Sensei, his family, and
Watkin Sensei still had a few days in town. That in mind we all
piled into cars and headed out of town. West on Highway 1, South on
Highway 93, three hours later and we were into the Canadian Rockies
in the little town of Invermere. That first day seemed to waste away
as we all did nothing but relax. The following day vanished much
like the first. We went to a set of natural hot springs went
swimming at the pool, swimming in the lake (which was warmer than one
would imagine for the end of August), and we just relaxed.
good things come to an end, and the vacation was one of those good
things. We made the drive back and parted ways with Taylor Sensei
and his family.
Sensei had a few more days but they came too quickly and he to had to
was the only one left. That sounds sad, but another few days and I
was back at the Calgary Iaido Club in my regular training schedule,
Iaido, and Niten, but now there was one more to add to the list:
seminar was over for this year, but there will be a Third Annual
Seminar, and a number of us participants will be united again. This
year’s seminar was great, but next year’s will be better.
would like to specially thank Taylor Sensei, his family, Watkin
Sensei, Ortiz Sensei, John Pozar, James Lyall for taking pictures,
all of the Calgary Iaido Club members who helped to make this event a
success, and all of the participants who made this event possible.
more; I would like to thank Chris Gilham Sensei. Without him none of
this would have happened.
you all; and I will see you next year.
from Photo: Kim Taylor Sensei, David Williams Sensei, Marc Bowles,
David Wright, Todd Mitchell, Kristen Coke, Liam Dextraze, Ryman
Script. I'd like to add a personal thank you to the Calgary Iaido Club
from myself, and I know from Phil Ortiz and Colin Watkin. It is always
a pleasure and a delight to practice with students who are eager to
learn. - Kim Taylor