Des Moines Iaido Seminar 2017

We had a great seminar in Des Moines last weekend with sensei Ric Flinn and the Des Moines Iaido club. Three members from our Agassiz Dojo went to get a great run-though of the seitei jo kata with Flinn sensei, a WHOLE bunch of seitei-iaido practice, some tameshigiri, and some Musoshindenryu iaido.
Top that off with an excellent sushi meal at a Japanese restaurant and some sake.
It was a great weekend!

Here are some photos from Nate Thomason.

 

December Newsletter

Agassiz Dojo News

Greetings!
This fall and year has flown by! I can’t believe it’s already December, though an unusually warm and snow-free one, and we’re 3 weeks away from Christmas.

News
Pangea 2012 a good showing

We had an information table at the Pangea Culture Festival that was held in Moorhead, MN in November where we met several people interested in Japanese sword arts, and gave a demonstration of Seitei, Musoshindenryu, and Tachi Uchi no Kurai kata. We had a pretty good crowd watch us, and people especially seemed interested in the paired bokuto Tachi Uchi portion.
Thank you to Sarah and Tyler for helping me mind the booth, and participate in the demonstration. I appreciate it! We’ll try again next year to attend this interesting cultural event.

2nd Annual Agassiz Dojo / MWKF Iaido Seminar a Success!

Last weekend we had our second regional iaido seminar. We had a smaller group attending this year, which meant more personalized attention and interaction with the two sensei who attended. We welcomed back both Konno and Parker sensei, who came to our first seminar last year, and had participants from MN and CA.
The program consisted of a Friday practice for new arrivals and dojo members where Parker sensei introduced the first 6 Tachi Uchi no Kurai kata. These kata are paired kata using a bokuto (wooden sword) where one person is the “attacker” and the other is the “winner.” It is a great way to learn distance and timing.
Saturday’s schedule broke participants into two groups based on experience, who then worked with each of the sensei on kihon and the seitei series kata. There was lots of personal attention, and I could see marked improvement in everyone! Both Konno and Parker sensei provided us with demonstrations of their koryu kata, Musoshindenryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin ryu respectively.
We had an excellent dinner at Osaka Sushi and Hibachi restaurant in Fargo. The teppanyaki show they do is quite entertaining, and everyone had their fill of good food and drink.
Sunday brought more review of kata and kihon (basic techniques) and then some self practice where the sensei offered feedback.
It was an excellent opportunity for learning and quality feedback at a personal level! It was a great prep for people to review before heading to Summer Camp in Omaha next summer for gradings. I can’t wait until next year!
The photos are available for viewing at the following gallery: https://picasaweb.google.com/108692945864145681948/2012AgassizDojoIaidoSeminar?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Upcoming Events

Enrollment Opening and Embu – Mid January

Currently we’re not accepting any new students, but in the new year we’ll once again open enrollment and will possibly be accepting new students. I’m hoping to have an “open house” Embu of sorts first to have existing members showcase the kata they’re familar with and answer any questions people might have. We’ll send out an announcement once a date has been decided.

Dojo Grading – Late January to Early February

We’ll be having our next dojo grading in the new year after we’ve had a chance to review some of the seitei points. Currently, we’ve been working on koryu kata – both Tachi Uchi no Kurai, and the Shoden set of Musoshindenryu.

Iaido Summer Camp June 27-30, 2013 in Omaha NE

Several (if not all) of our members are planning to attend this event in June for seminar, taikai (tournament) and shinsa (grading). It’s a big event, and a lot of fun to meet practitioners from around the world. Highly recommended, so mark your calendars and start saving now!

Winnepeg CKF Iaido Seminar – Mid October

This event is replacing what was Eric Tribe sensei’s seminar formerly held in Thunder Bay, ON. It’s actually a shorter drive, and easy to get to. Featuring 7dan Kyoshi Ohmi sensei. Put it on your calendars and get a passport if you don’t have one!
We’ll post the seminar pictures and I’ll send another mail once that’s up live.
Have a great Holiday and Merry Christmas!
Brad

Demo Tomorrow and blurb

Just a quick announcement for those in the area.

We’ll be doing a demo tomorrow, Saturday June 2nd, in Ada, MN. The event is the 2012 Relay for Life, a worthy charity event for the American Cancer Society.
Our demo starts at 2pm. Details for the event and directions can be found at: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLFY11National?sid=128433&type=fr_informational&pg=informational&fr_id=37767

Also, in July…… OUR SEMINAR!
The Agassiz Dojo (formerly Moorhead Dojo) in association with the Midwest Kendo Federation, are proud to announce our second annual Iaido Seminar for the weekend of July 28-29. Last year we had 28 participants of all levels of experience from all over North America, and we hope to have as many again this year! The seminar site is at: http://seminar.musoshindenryu.com

We will be having two guest sensei provided by the AUSKF. Returning again this year will be Tatsuhiko Konno sensei, who will be joined by Shozo Kato sensei. Both are Musoshindenryu practitioners. The program will be very similar to what we did last year.
Venue: We will be hosting this year’s seminar at Minnesota State University, Moorhead (MSUM). They have a nice campus, and we’ll be in their Memorial Union ballroom. It will be a big room with a wood floor. Maps and information will be available on the website.
Housing: There is campus housing (dormitory) available at MSUM. We’ll need to know who will be staying in the dormitory as soon as possible to ensure that we have the appropriate number of rooms available. Room fees are paid directly to MSUM.
The tentative pricing/availability:
Double Room: $20/night/person
Single Room: $25/night/person
Apartments: $30/night/person
Meals: Included in your registration fee is a continental breakfast and lunch for both Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast opens at 7:30 at the lobby of the Memorial Union, and lunch will be served around noon or 12:30. There will be vending machines on site selling beverages.
Optional Saturday evening dinner: We will have an optional dinner on Saturday. We haven’t decided the venue yet, but it will likely be in the nearby area. Please indicate on your registration if you wish to attend this OPTIONAL dinner, so that I can reserve your seat. We will likely order off the menu, and the costs are paid by yourself.
Registration: This year’s seminar will have the same fee structure as last year. Please pre-register and pre-pay through the website as soon as possible. The discount rate closes July 15th. Each registrant should complete the registration, the liability waiver, and prepay.
I look forward to this year’s seminar – last year was excellent instruction, and a lot of fun for everyone. I’ve received so many comments from people who attended or heard about it and wanted to attend. It’s a great opportunity to learn iaido from TOP AUSKF sensei, right here in the Midwest. Again, ALL levels of experience are welcome.
Brad

October Newsletter (I know)

Since I started writing this on the 31st, can I still call it an October Newsletter?
Well, it was a busy month.

In the dojo we’ve been working on several things: seitei, Musoshindenryu, kendo kata, and of course kihon. In addition to that, I’d like to learn and show the Musoshindenryu / Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu “Tachi uchi no kurai” paired kata to everyone.

Kim Taylor sensei demonstrated these and taught me the first two kata (with two variations each) at the seminar in Thunder Bay a couple of weeks ago. I had always been curious to see and learn these “mysterious” kata, and I finally found someone who knows them.

I say mysterious, because even while in Japan, I had never seen them in the dojo. My instructor hadn’t learned them himself, and none of the other dojo members knew them either. I gather from this that not all branches or dojo of MSR and MJER have them as part of their regular curriculum. I’m looking forward to it anyway!

Speaking of Thunder Bay, Eric Tribe sensei hosted another excellent seminar. This year, Ohmi and Taylor sensei came and ran us through seitei, koryu, and the aforementioned paired kata. I was very lucky to work together with another 4dan Doug and Taylor sensei for the whole day on Saturday, checking and correcting on some of the finer points of kihon and applying them to our seitei practice.

We discussed a lot about the “vectors and lines of power,” and making all of our cuts and movements powerful, without adding “power” or “tension” to our body. These refinements came in the form of posture, grip, and utilizing our lower body and belly (hara).

A buzzword of Tribe sensei’s was the “triangle of power,” which is basically the triangle formed by our hips and hands – for instance when standing in a chudan stance. If one side of the triangle becomes longer than the other two, it results in a weakening of power in our movement and strikes. It’s hard to explain, but once you’ve seen it in use, it becomes evident. If you can visualize moving from waki-gamae in seitei shihogiri, by placing the tsuka behind your right hip instead of having it centered on your hara, you potentially remove power when pushed or resisted against.

We did some interesting related exercises that made me start to think about how to better move my body and increase the power behind my cuts.

Sunday brought me and Doug the opportunity to perform our kata in front of everyone and get a critique by Ohmi sensei. I was kind of expecting this to happen after spending the whole day Saturday in review, and was a good reminder of some of the things I need to improve and work on.

More review of the seminar can be seen on Patrick Suen’s blog: http://sueniaidokyudo.blogspot.com/2011/10/2011-rai-un-kai-iaido-seminar-thunder.html

Upcoming Events and Demonstrations

Fargo All Martial Arts Seminar
We will be participating in the Annual Fargo All Martial Arts Seminar and Cancer Benefit on Saturday November 12th. We’re scheduled for our demo at 11am, but there are several other schools participating throughout the weekend. Here’s the blurb.

The event is being held at the Fargo Holiday Inn, at 3803 13th Avenue S, Fargo, ND.
It will be a two day event on Saturday, November 12, and Sunday November 13th.

There is an entrance fee, with all proceeds going to the Roger Maris Cancer Center located in Fargo, ND. It is our goal to come together as a Martial Arts Community to fight cancer.

We will have an open Silent Auction running all day Saturday that you can check out and bid on. Auction winners will be announced Saturday evening during the Banquet. But you do not need to be present to win. If you are able to bring any items to put in the Silent Auction, that would be greatly appreciated and would help us in our effort to raise as much money as possible to fight cancer. Please let us know what you can contribute and we can get it on our list.

DAY 1: Saturday November 12
Meet & Greet: 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
9:00am Red River Tae Kwon Do
10:00am Jeet Kun Do
11:00am Japanese Swordsmanship
1:00pm Okinawan Karate
2:00pm Combat Police Tactics
3:00pm Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Shaolin Kenpo

Saturday Evening Banquet Dinner/Band/DJ/Silent Auction – Please call and reserve your spot for the Saturday evening Banquet Dinner.

DAY 2: Sunday November 13
9:00am Boxing
10:00am MMA
11.00am Kenpo
1:00pm Hapkido
2:00pm Judo

Please contact Paul Dyer with any questions. For contact information check the http://www.fargoallmartialarts.com site Contact page.

Pangea Cultural Festival
We had initially planned to attend this event, but unfortunately it falls on the same Saturday as the FAMAS seminar above. We’ll try again next year.

New member
Welcome goes out to Kyle who has recently joined our dojo. Kyle has a broad background in various martial arts and fitness, and I look forward to training with him.

Coming Up!
There are a few things to look forward to in the next few months.
One is the introduction of the paired standing kata that I mentioned earlier.
Another is our second attempt at tameshigiri (test cutting).
And also our next rank testing, tentatively scheduled for Dec/Jan.

See you next month!
Brad

August Newsletter

July Seminar

Our July Seminar went really well! We had a total of 26 participants plus the two AUSKF sensei that we invited. We had people from all over Canada, the Midwest region of the US, and even Alaska.

The instruction was excellent, and a special thank you goes out to Konno and Parker sensei for leading the seminar, and also to Taylor and Tribe sensei for stepping in and helping instruct all of the different levels of participants we had.

And we did have ALL levels of iaido experience represented. There were some people who had never done iai before at all. Some who had only done kendo, and some with years of iaido practice. Regardless of rank or experience, we ALL learned something new and valuable – it was a great experience!

One of the things I took away from this seminar included a new way of thinking about and executing “Iai-goshi,” making sure our hips are turned properly to point our belly button either straight ahead or angled upwards as we rise and execute the first step of kata like mae.

Also, a refining of how to do proper tenouchi with less “wringing” and more control with your small fingers on the tsuka. Konno sensei also explained about “kiri-te” or cutting hand, and how to move and draw nukitsuke in a better way.

There were many other basic kihon items that we covered, and my notebook is filling up as I try to remember and jot them all down for continuing practice and review.

We also had an excellent demonstration of seitei jodo by Taylor and Tribe sensei, along with a basic explanation of what is happening in each kata. I’m hoping to introduce some jodo sometime in the future – it’s a very nice addition to training in iaido.

The Olson Forum was very nice and roomy, and the floors were pretty good for iai. Dormitory accommodations brought back memories of the hot, arid evenings without air conditioning, but the price was right, and they were located within 3 minutes walk of the venue.

The dinner in Downtown Fargo at the Green Market Kitchen was very tasty, and they did the best they could (considering they have a single chef) to get everything out to us hot and in a timely manner.

I’d like to thank the members of my dojo and also Ron Fox who helped out with the organization and execution of the seminar. I couldn’t have done it without you, and the success of this seminar will hopefully lead to becoming an annual event for us. Thanks again!

Summer practice

In addition to our standard seitei and Musoshindenryu kata, we’ve been practicing some new (paired) kendo kata in our class this summer. It’s been a (re)learning process for me – I haven’t done kendo kata since about 1999, and we’ve all been picking it up pretty well.

Kendo kata is a great supplement to iai kata in that it teaches the kenshi about timing, sen, metsuke, and seme. All of the kamae (stances) are the same as what we perform in our regular kata, and learning to work with and time your movements with a partner is a wonderful learning tool. I look forward to some “professional review” by a better qualified sensei somewhere down the road to make sure we’re not doing anything obviously wrong. At the seminar we did have an opportunity to see Konno and Fox sensei perform the kata for us – very nice, and it shows we still have a long way to go in refining our technique!

RRV Fair

A few members of the dojo gave some demos at the Red River Valley Fair in July. We had 3 demos at the Scheels stage, where we performed kata, explained about the history and theory of iaido, showed our iaito and bokuto, and had the children do some practice cutting of newspaper with bokuto.

Thanks goes to Paul, Gary, and Tyler for participating in this and showing the attendees a bit of Japanese culture (and how to be an awesome newspaper cutter).

You may laugh and think, “Cut newspaper with a wooden sword??” Actually it’s not as easy as you might think. The “blade” of the bokuto is dull and rounded, and only with good swinging technique and speed of the blade will you be able to cut cleanly and straight.

We sometimes practice this in the dojo, and it is a cheap way to test your cutting technique. The dojo record for most layers of newspaper cut cleanly with a single cut is 32. Pretty cool!

Rank Testing

We held rank testing in the dojo in June for 3 and 4kyu students. Congratulations goes to Tyler, Gary, and Sarah who achieved their first rank of 4kyu, and also to Erik and Joey who achieved their 3kyu.

The requirements for 3kyu are for a student to perform 5 selected kata from the seitei series. Beyond just performing the movements correctly, they must show some indication of timing and smoothness in their execution, and a beginner’s understanding of jo-ha-ku.

Again, congratulations to all who tested!

Upcoming Events

We don’t have anything in particular on the schedule for our dojo for the rest of the year. We may be invited back to the Pangea festival in November, so that might be a possible demonstration we’ll have. Beyond that, we’ll keep you posted if something comes up.

In Thunder Bay, Ontario, there is an excellent annual seminar being hosted by Eric Tribe sensei on October 22-23. Instruction will be led by Ohmi and Taylor sensei and there will be a rank testing opportunity available as well. More information can be found about that at: http://my.tbaytel.net/etribe/Seminars.html

The 3rd Annual Fargo All Martial Arts Seminar and Cancer benefit will be held on November 12-13. We’re still looking for martial arts groups and dojo to come and participate. The proceeds go to the Roger Maris Cancer Center. People interested participating in or contributing to this seminar should contact Paul Dyer.

That’s about it – enjoy the rest of your summer!
Brad

Core Con and Other Upcoming Events

Hello everyone! Spring melt is starting up, and I sincerely hope that wherever you are, you won’t have to deal with any flooding. I know they’re estimating Fargo – Moorhead Red River levels to be pretty high again, and the community is moving well towards it’s sandbagging goal.

We’ve got a few events coming up. I’ve got some detail updates for you.

2011 CoreCon – April 15- 17th
The Musoshindenryu Iaido – Moorhead Dojo group (us) will be doing a demonstration on Sunday the 17th.

1PM-3PM Sunday, April 17th
Japanese Swordsmanship
Presented by Moorhead Iaido Dojo
Woods Room

The Moorhead Dojo will present a two hour discussion on the history and traditions of iaido (Japanese swordsmanship), followed by a demonstration of kata, some of which have origins dating back over 400 years ago. There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions, and view the Dojo Members’ various katana (swords). More information can be found at the dojo website: http://www.musoshindenryu.com/.

CoreCon 2011 will take place at the AmericInn Lodge & Suites and Event Center in Moorhead, MN – the same as last year.

The CoreCon’s website is: http://fargocorecon.org/ and the theme this year is “Myth and Magic.” Sounds interesting, and I would encourage intersted people to check out the whole Con.

THE 2011 SEI DO KAI SPRING JODO and IAIDO SEMINAR
University of Guelph, Ontario Canada, May 20 to 23

This is Kim Taylor Sensei’s annual seminar. Excellent and with some of the top iaido people from Japan coming in to instruct. More details can be seen at: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~iaido/iai.seminar.html

2011 AUSKF Iaido Summer Camp – June 9 – 12th
The dates have been confirmed, all else is tentative right now.

Dates: Thursday, June 9 – Friday, June 10 AUSKF Iaido Seminar
Saturday, June 11 AUSKF Iaido Championships
Sunday, June 12 (morning) AUSKF Iaido Shinsa
Sunday, June 12 (afternoon) AUSKF Jodo Seminar
Monday, June 13 AUSKF Jodo Seminar

Location: Mac Center Gymnasium, Kent State University (KSU), 800 East Summit Street, Kent, OH (pending confirmation in April 2011 after approval of camp budget and submission of deposit to KSU)

Lodging and more details to be announced.

2011 Moorhead Dojo / AUSKF Iaido Seminar (1st Annual) – July 29-31

This is our iaido seminar. We’ve got an application in for two 7dan iaido sensei, and are awaiting their confirmation. The venue and pricing has been set, and we are taking pre-registrations at this time!

This will be an excellent opportunity to see some top notch AUSKF iaido instructors, and brush up on your skills.

We’ve got three, yes THREE excellent vendors coming with iaito, and iaido gear for sale.

Check out the website for registration and seminar information: http://seminar.musoshindenryu.com/

Pre-registration is encouraged!

Thundar Bay – Annual Fall Seminar – October 22nd and 23rd
with Ohmi Goyo Sensei Iaido 7-Dan Renshi

This is another excellent seminar, from our neighbors to the North. Eric Tribe’s dojo hosts this event, and is another great refresher on seitei iaido and some koryu. More information can be seen at: http://my.tbaytel.net/etribe/index.html

So you can see, there’s a bunch of stuff coming up! Hope to see you there!

Brad

February Newsletter

Well February is almost done, so I guess I’m a little late in getting this out, but it’s been a busy month.

2011 Moorhead Dojo / MWKF (Midwest Kendo Federation) Summer Iaido Seminar

This has been the big thing that I’ve been spending a lot of time workinig on. Together with the VP of education for the MWKF, we’ve been hashing out details and requesting sensei from the AUSKF. Here’s what we know so far:

The seminar will be held on July 29, 30, 31 at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. I’ve started a website with the TENTATIVE details on it. 2011 Moorhead Dojo Iaido Seminar page. Keep in mind that the rates and schedule may be subject to change.

We asked for two high ranked sensei from the AUSKF to lead the seminar. With two, we would be able to host concurrent sessions for practitioners of all levels. In short, AWESOME.

The seminar will have a Friday evening practice session including kendo keiko for those who practice kendo and also some iaido.

Saturday will be a full day of iaido, again with some optional kendo mixed in. Sunday is a half day of iaido.

Continental breakfasts and lunches for both days are included in the seminar registration fees.

Concordia College is offering lodging at LESS THAN $25 per night on campus. We’ll need initial numbers for those interested in this.

All of this information and more can be seen on the abovementioned site, so please check it out. PRE-REGISTRATION IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED so we can have an accurate number of participants who will need lodging and meals.

This seminar won’t offer rank testing this year, but in future seminars that may be a possibility.

Other upcoming events

Core con – April 15-17

We’ll be doing another demo at the Core Con this year. The date and time has yet to be determined, but be assured, it will be AWESOME.

Kim Taylor’s Iaido seminar – Guelph, ON – May

I went last year to this awesome seminar. I’m hoping to reserve the time and money to go again. Well worth the time and the sensei in attendance were all high-ranking people from Japan and Canada. More details once I know the dates for sure.

AUSKF Iaido Summer Camp – Cleveland, OH – June 9-12

Myself and Kelly will be heading there for the summer camp and rank testing this year. I don’t have the details yet, but these are the dates they’re saying for the camp. From what I’ve heard in the past, it’s AWESOME. I’ll be trying for my 5dan and Kelly for his 1kyu.

Red River Valley Fair – July

The RRV fair has asked us to provide a demo again this year. Due to the (not) huge number of people who came last year, we’ll likely limit our time to once or twice. It got pretty hot last year, and though it was great to be there, it was a lot of time for a handful of viewers. More details to come once I know the dates on that.

Fargo All Martial Arts Seminar – October 8, 9

This will be the third year running for this wonderful seminar and charity event. All the proceeds to to the Roger Maris Cancer center here in Fargo, and you get to participate in many of the different area martial arts practice sessions. Last year we had many different schools and styles, and people were welcome and encouraged to participate as well for these “introductory teaching” sessions. AWESOME.

Welcome

We’ve gotten a couple of new faces in our dojo here in Moorhead. Welcome to Sarah and Antonio. We hope you enjoy learning iaido as much as we do!

The Aikido Shimboku Dojo

This group has joined our iaido dojo’s membership for the MWKF. Why Moorhead? Because it’s their first year in petitioning for membership, they need a sensei of 4dan or above to “mentor” them. I too had to do the same thing before my dojo was accpted for membership – I was a member of a group down in Rochester, MN. This will get them on the rolls for both the AUSKF and the MWKF, and it also shows both associations that we are serious about iaido here in the Midwest as well, so it’s a win-win for both of our schools.
Their head instructor, Lisa, studied both aikido and iaido during her stay in Japan, and now leads the iaido group down there. More information about their school can be seen at http://www.aikidoshimbokudojo.com/index.htm I’ll likely be heading to their dojo sometime this year to say hi and have a refresher class with them on seitei gata, and maybe a few of them will attend our seminar in July as well.
So Welcome to Lisa and your members!

LINKS

Here’s a couple of interesting links I’ve found. I love the kenshi247 site!
Excellent article on tameshigiri http://kenshi247.net/blog/2011/01/28/thoughts-on-tameshigiri-from-famous-swordsmen/

That’s about it for now, until next month.
Brad

2011 Moorhead Dojo / MWKF Iaido Seminar

We’ll be hosting our first annual MWKF / AUSKF iaido seminar in July. The unconfirmed dates are July 29 – 31. We have the venue booked, just waiting on confirmation from the kendo federation on the sensei schedule.
A web page describing the event details is under construction, and should be up soon! Watch this space for more details, but mark those calendars now for July 29-31 to come to Moorhead MN.