an espresso lover's blog

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Bad weather today, and feeling a litte bored and depressed I decided to go the announced kobukai martial arts exhibition. Kobukai is a small martial arts club here in Oslo that specializes in japanese martial arts, especially the study of japanese sword techniques and use of other traditional weaponery. The particular school they teach is called katori shinto ryu. They have also got a branch studying and practicing the japanese art of archery called "Kyudo". I actually studied katori shinto ryu in the mid 90s in Halden and sometimes with the same people as I saw in Oslo today. Time has passed and there has been some alterations in the different clubs, but still things are mostly the same.

The head sensei is Eri L. Kusano. She's a strong, determined, yet sort of harmonic and tranquil woman. Her family in Japan appearantly have a long tradition of practicing the budo arts, especially katori shinto ruy. She's currently a 6.dan in katori shinto ryu and a 2.dan in the archery, kyudo. I guess she knows several other arts as well. Impressive woman. The members of the club are so privileged to have a 6.dan like her as their teacher!

She and other members of the club did a fine exhibtion of the different katas (predetermined patterns of movement, cuts, parry and so on) and some very cool iaido by a 3.dan called Arne Morten Hansen. Iaido are short and quite aggressive techniques for defeating an opponent sitting right in front of you. It is like a duel you may say, and the art of drawing the sword. There are also standing iaido techniques for defeating for instance two oppents jumping you from both sides. It is very intense stuff with loud screams (kiai) after each blow.

Iaido is indeed cool stuff, but one should not forget what this was really about : killing one's enemy as swiftly as possible with a razor sharp sword. Here's a quote from a web page about iaido (there's a link to it in the previous paragraph)

"No matter what style was practiced, the procedure always comprised four separate parts: the drawing of the blade to meet a sudden encounter (nukituke), the cut or cuts used to despatch the enemy (kirioroshi), the shaking of the blood from the blade (chiburi), and the re-sheathing of the sword (noto). "

I even think I recall reading somewhere that the part where you get rid of the blood from the blade should be esthetic looking, like in a nice curved pattern of flying blood through the air when the blade is moved swiftly backwards and then sheated. That's some cold shit. I can imagine the samurai period being pretty tough for the common man.

I was a bit curious about the kyudo and spoke afterwards with the instructor. I asked him a bit about training on shooting from horseback (which I recalled reading about) and other things. I just had to ask him why he was doing this. He smiled broadly (and I sort of felt I had been a bit too direct) and said he'd been training for 17(!) years now and found inspiration from many sources, including competitions, students and the pure joy of shooting arrows :). I must say I thought Kyudo seemed very repetitious and a bit boring, but like so many other hobbies and arts there are so many unseen aspects to work on. Our passon for the art of espresso brewing is a good example!

It could be fun to try Kyudo, but I am afraid that I would be bored. I am also somewhat trying to find activities that are not so geared towards doing something perfect and effective. Guess I just want to have fun :)

Kendo or Kung-fu would be more to my liking, or maybe jiu-jitsu which I have also trained before.

5/04/2003 08:29:00 PM  

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