Cutting Edge Issue 2 - Page 32

from going pink. Still, with a baby now on the way, it was at least work and a steady income. For the next eight years I lived from Monday to Friday with Debs parents in Kennington, and just got home at weekends after thrashing up and down the M1 on a smart new BMW. Working in London was good for plenty of kendo and iai, but not so good for family life. The London Kendo Club had disbanded in 1971 when Deb and I went to Japan, and it was only when we were back and working in London again that the need to have a dojo specifically for iaido and jodo training that led to the foundation of the Eishinkan dojo in 1981 at St. Francis of Chichester School in Camden Town. Ishido Sensei visited the UK again in August 1980 and the first Iaido Summer Seminar was held at Whitstone School in Shepton Mallet thanks to the generosity and help of Ric Schofield. To say that Hiroi Sensei was “difficult” would be putting it kindly; irascible and short tempered, he would however persevere time after time with anyone who was genuinely trying. The Summer Seminar in 1982 was with Haruna Matsuo, Ide Katsuhiko and Ishido Shizufumi Sensei. It was held at the Elephant and Castle, London and covered all three disciplines. We were also extremely fortunate to be instructed by Hiroi Tsunetsugu Sensei, a direct student of Shimizu Takaji Sensei, founder of modern jodo. Like many professional budo teachers, Hiroi Sensei held nanadan in iaido and kendo but his truly amazing skill was with the jo, and his knowledge of all the accompanying koryu systems associated with Shindo Muso Ryu. We were fortunate to have Louis Vitalis with us as well, Louis had been 30 | CUTTING EDGE studying Japanese language as well as kendo and jodo at Kanazawa University and his help as interpreter was absolutely essential. On an interest ing and histor ical note, the sale of m y lovely Veloce tte Thruxton gave me the necessary qu ick cash to get back to Ja pan in Septem ber where, as a ro kudan, I manag 1987 ed to take my kend o kyoshi just before the AJKF raised th e bar to 7th da n. An very interestin g process. W e were all numbered up and herded in to a large dojo and told to get practic ing. While we all thrashed about for wha t seemed ages, the grea t and the good wandered between the participants m aking notes on their clipbo ards. At the en d of the session we w ere informed that we were all bloody useless but, fe eling kind, we had all passed and were now officially kyos hi and not to forget to pay on the way ou t and the men jo would be in the post. To say that Hiroi Sensei was “difficult” would be putting it kindly; irascible and short tempered, he would however persevere time after time with anyone who was genuinely trying. He hated questions and would usually reply “don’t talk about it, just do it, learn with your body not your ears“. The full jojutsu syllabus includes hojo jutsu – restraining techniques with thin rope. Hiroi Sensei was incredibly quick at tying people up, a technique used apparently before the last war before handcuffs were readily available – great to be shown, especially if it’s not you that resembles a Christmas turkey and with everyone else falling around in stitches. By this time the eyes and reflexes were no longer up to kendo refereeing and it was time to hang up the grey flannels and blue blazer, drape the red tie over the bedpost and do something far more sedentary, like refereeing iaido competitions, which have the particular advantage of a good long sit down whilst the competition goes on. The BKA Summer iaido and jodo Seminar in 1990 was made particularly memorable by the attendance of Ishido Sadataro Sensei, Ishido Sensei’s father. His breadth of knowledge of several koryu schools was absolutely astonishing and in his haste to show us as much as he could in the time available we galloped at breakneck speed through all the Muso Shinden Ryu kata, with demonstrations of equivalent techniques from other Ryu-ha, in an afternoon. The evening was spent in a Chinese restaurant. After the meal, the owner and Kancho Sensei had a “battle of the brushes“ where they demonstrated their brushwork skills until all the tables tops in the place were covered with sheet after sheet of the most amazing calligraphy in every conceivable style from the extremely formal kaisho to the “which way up does it go“ sosho style. In January 1996 I arrived in Johannesburg after a ten hour flight from Brussels, feeling “tired and emotional“ but surprisingly not jet lagged, as the plane was travelling South with only a two hour time difference. After relaxing at the home of Peter Furness the day was rounded off with a meal at a speciality restaurant serving ostrich, elephant, giraffe, kudu, crocodile etc and the dreaded mopane grubs – “How would