Cutting Edge Issue 2 - Page 75

SEMINAR AND EVENT REVIEW My First Taikai Experience. First Annual East Coast Taikai, USA By Raul Acevedo Recently I was very fortunate to participate in the First Annual East Coast Taikai in August of 2013. Amongst some of the sensei there were Sang Kim, 5th Dan Renshi, Yoshitoki Hataya, 9th Dan Hanshi (Zen Nihon Toyama Ryu), Masaharu Mukai Sensei, 7th Dan Kyoshi (Zen Nihon Toyama Ryu), Philip Ortiz, 6th Dan (Ryushin Shouchi Ryu) and others. This was my first time going to a taikai and therefore did not know what to expect. First a little history. My style is called Silun Dobup. It has roots in Toyama Ryu, Nakamura Ryu and Korean sword forms. You can imagine my delight when as I watched the Toyama Ryu masters doing forms that I immediately recognised as being so very similar to the forms I do. I stood there looking around and felt like I had finally found confirmation that my own path runs along with other styles which we had heard of before but I had never actually seen with my own eyes. It does not end there either. You see, one thing I have found out over the years as a kendo practitioner is, whenever I get together with others who practice kendo, there is an immediate welcoming and almost instant forming of brotherhood and friendship. It was also the same with the taikai. I was welcomed with a very friendly smile from the organiser (Sang Kim sensei) and I went inside and spoke with other practitioners, I even found a friend from my kendo class there whom I did not know was also attending. Rico in the Caribbean. I always thought I was alone in this regard. You can imagine how happy it made me to be amongst such an awesome crowd of people who are extremely knowledgeable and eager to share the knowledge they possess. To be honest, I’m only a 2nd Dan in my art working my way towards 3rd Dan soon (hopefully), so being in the same room with these gentlemen was a real treat and honour for me. I came home from the experience of doing Toyama Ryu forms and watching some people cutting targets (which I love to do) and felt inspired to go out there and share what I know! Much to my amazement, a local Tae Kwon Do school invited me (a.k.a. Hudson Valley Sword Acadmey) recently to do a sword demonstration in a public festival in Monroe, NY called the Cheese Festival. I instantly accepted and recruited a sword buddy of mine to show up and talk with me about what we do, and also to cut some targets. It turned out really well, and many people came afterwards to talk with us and ask questions about iaido and kendo and how to get started on this path. I was so happy to be able to look back at the taikai and pull from the experience, and so be able to go out and share this wonderful art with others in a public forum. I met Philip Ortiz sensei and discovered through our conversations that he is very much like myself, in that we are both born in New York City but our parents are from Puerto CUTTING EDGE | 73