Cutting Edge Issue 2 - Page 22

British Kendo Association’s JOCK HOPSON Sensei R ecalling over 50 years of budo is never going to be a brief synopsis; but then again, Jock Hopson Sensei has got a lot to cover. In his own words, “since my recollections are based on self-appraisal and often half-remembered events, it’s also pretty unlikely that I can do the job with any semblance of accuracy or of modesty either – but here goes”. Cutting Edge asked Hopson Sensei if he’d be happy to share his memories; so what follows is an essay that plunges us back to the early sixties, and paints a picture of kendo in it’s infancy in the UK, and the ups and downs of a novice armed with little knowledge, but a lot of enthusiasm. Jock Hopson Sensei’s budo experience spans over 50 years. From London, he is one of two Europeans holding nanadan in iaido, kendo and jodo. Still very active on the teaching circuit in both Europe and nonEuropean countries. As a teenager I had developed an unhealthy interest in swords and bayonets which could be bought at the time for just a couple of pounds from just about every junk shop and house clearance. Among my collection were a couple of wakizashi, a shin-gunto and a rusty old katana which I innocently polished up with emery cloth and Duraglit! My earliest attempts at tameshigiri were spent in my parent’s garden throwing spuds in the air, drawing and cutting them before they hit the ground, much to the amusement of the neighbours. I first discovered the world of budo at the age of 17, during my final year at secondary school, when I came across a Judo Club which had just 20 | CUTTING EDGE opened in Streatham, South London which is where I became acquainted with weird words such as tomoe nage, o-soto gari, “Jesus that hurt”, and the like. Judo certainly paid off when I was made a school prefect and put into the school football team as a striker; the striking mostly coming into effect during the after match punch-up with the opposing team. On leaving school I got my first (legal) motorbike and started work in a photographic lab in Farringdon Street in the City of London which was convenient for judo and aikido training at the London Judo Society (LJS) in Vauxhall under the marvellous Senta Yamada Sensei. By great co-incidence, Charles Lidstone and Roald Knutsen were