Demonstration at Oita Kendo Festival
I borrowed a video camera and set it up on the floor. I was intending on taking some pictures too, but I discovered that it's really hard to be a photographer and participant at the same time. Unfortunately, I missed the first demonstration which was (appropriately enough) Zen Nihon Kendo Kata. The demo was really, really good. Sometimes, the Kendo Kata are done (even by high-ranking sensei) with no feeling or enthusiasm, but these were quite impressive.
After that, it was Niten Ichi Ryu, as demonstrated by the group up in Usa (I think) who follow Aoki Sensei's teachings. In other words, they split off a couple of headmasters ago, so it was interesting to see what they were doing. It looks a lot like what we learned originally.
Following the Niten was the iaido section. I was really hoping to get some good footage, but I was in a terrible location, and then I got moved to an even worse location. Sigh. I guess shooting iaido from the back lets you see what they're doing with their feet, at least. How many times have you seen an iaido video and thought to yourself, "Gee, I really wish I could see what he's doing with his feet on that one..."
There are a lot of Sekiguchi Ryu people in Oita, so I enjoyed seeing that demonstrated again. I wish there were a couple more days in the week so I could practice that, too.
Anyway, then it was time to go out and do Jodo, so I just left the camera running, put it on the widest angle, and grabbed my jo. I was pretty nervous, but I didn't drop the jo or miss the sword or anything, so that was good. Afterwards, I checked the video and thought, "Yeah, I do have a weird kiai..." (Sensei has been telling me to change my kiai for weeks now, and I just can't seem to do it properly, but now I can hear it myself.)
My plan was to transfer the video from the camera to my computer, (and later edit it and put it on DVD) but that has (for some damn reason) proven impossible so far, both on my Mac and on the PC here in my office. I don't know where the problem is. The camera, the software, or the computer(s)? Why do things never seem to work the way they are designed to? I had to give the camera back today, so now I have a little tiny useless DV tape to use as a paperweight or something. Great.
If I can ever manage to extract the video, I'll try and put some of it online. Then the whole world will be able to hear my funny kiai...
Now the negative side (you knew it was coming)...
I was kind of irritated that my iaido teacher(s) didn't even mention to me that this event was happening. I guess I was supposed to know about it through The Force or something. Hmmph. And then, to rub it in, everybody from the dojo (they all knew about it!) was asking me, "Jeff! Why aren't you demonstrating iai today?" and "Oh, you don't like demonstrating, huh?" and I had to just smile and say, "Yes, I guess not" instead of "Where were you 10 minutes ago, numbskull?" There is one lady in particular who always rubs me the wrong way! She only comes to practice once every couple months or so, and then when she does come, she always looks really surprised and says, "Oh, what a rare event seeing you here! So you are practicing sometimes, are you?" I want to say, "I haven't missed more than 2 classes in the last 3 months, but this is the first time I've seen you" but she's a 7th dan and that would be rude... and budo is all about conquering your ego, right? Bad ego! Bad ego! (^-^)