In the second week of April I went for another private seminar to the Hombu Dōjō of the Hokushin Ittō-Ryū Hyōhō. These weekends are always very special. They are filled with hard training and afterwards very long talks about Koryū and life in general while eating delicious foods… and of course drinking fancy stuff!
Koryū practice just needs to go hand-in-hand with such pleasures!
Well, I was just not aware how special this particular weekend will be…
After a couple of hours training on Saturday, Ryūnosuke-Sōke was asking me in passing if it’s clear to me that this weekend is my examination for the Kajō-Mokuroku scroll, the third of a total of five main gradings in our tradition.
Oh man! Until that very second, no, I was not aware of this fact!
We worked through different sets of our Kumitachi curriculum (omote and ura) and in between always picked up the shinai to go in Gekiken mode (without bōgu) in order for Ryūnosuke-Sōke to point out applications and deeper meanings of our schools techniques and the efficient utilization in complete free fighting with full contact.
Every time I am astonished to see how he combines completely natural movements with the devastating effects of our Ryūha’s techniques. It obviously pays out to follow that path not only as a profession but also with a highly investigative mindset and integrity.
Later in the day another student joined us in the Dōjō and we spend the next couple of hours with Naginatajutsu. With our kind of Ō-naginata of approximately 260 cm this is very challenging training and very insightful as well.
We had a pretty late-night dinner at one of the best Italian restaurants in the city and had quite a lot of that previously mentioned delicious food and indeed some delightful Valpolicella Ripasso!
The following day was filled with Battōjutsu, mainly from the demanding Kaden set and Uchikomi-geiko Gekiken practice.
After two days of training, fighting and examination I was awarded with the Kajō-Mokuroku scroll of our school.
I am pleased that Ryūnosuke-Sōke sees enough potential in me to train and teach me further.
Now it is all about to embed the twelve Kajō even more in every single technique and movement. I am looking forward to this experience and work!
I am really grateful for the guidance and instruction offered by my teachers, Ōtsuka Yōichirō Masanori-Sōke and Ōtsuka Ryūnosuke Masatomo-Sōke and their patience with me.
It was a good time so far and I am convinced it will even get better in the future! My journey continues!
Last year, I have written a bit more in detail about our one-to-one private seminars and the benefits they bring: Some impressions and personal thoughts on a Kaichô private seminar at the Chiba-Dôjô