There are special days in everyone’s lives. Bogu Appreciation Day is one of the special days in the IGA Kendo Club. We celebrated it last 3 November 2012 when we were visited by Igarashi-Sensei’s friends: Mr. and Mrs. Yokomichi and Mr. Endo.
Mr. Yokomichi is a 6th dan while Mr. Endo is a 3rd dan, both in Kendo. Mr. Endo is also very skilled in Shodo. They came to the Arena dojo and the Dasmarinas Village dojo to train with us and the club members showed their appreciation for Igarashi-sensei’s friends for their donations to the club (bogu – armour, gi and hakama – kendo wear).
Everyone was excited and jittery, wondering what will happen on that day. Together with the beginners in the club, the sempais (seniors) wanted to do their best and show the guests all the things that they learned from Igarashi-sensei.
KICKING OFF WITH A SMILE
At both dojos, the day’s training started with picture taking!!!! Yay. Everyone showed their best smiles before they proceeded with the nerve-wracking training.
At the Arena dojo, we were able to witness Igarashi-sensei and Yokomichi-sensei’s Kata 1-10. Then we practiced Kata 1, 2 and 3. We were given pointers by Igarashi-sensei and Yokomichi-sensei. For all the 2 years that I’ve been in Kendo, I still made so many mistakes.There was a moment when I thought that I should stop because my left shoulder was paining me. I told myself to continue, to disregard the pain and the mistakes, because I rarely train and I HAVE to experience this special day’s training session.
JIGEIKO AT 200%
After Kata, the pressure was on to get an ippon against Igarashi-sensei and Yokomichi-sensei. If the group scored 12 points altogether, we would get a chance to choose a shodo from Endo-sensei. We usually give our 100% during training, but this motivated everyone to show their 200%. Whoah! 200% Huh? In the dojo, not only was everyone’s performance level raised but also everyone’s excitement level!
Before my match with Yokomichi-sensei, I was really nervous and I thought that I wouldn’t have the courage to put up a good fight. I don’t know what happened but after my kiai, the only thought in my head was to hit and give all of my power in that jigeiko. I didn’t know what was happening. I just hit and hit and hit until they said “Yame!”. Until now, it is still a blur. All I know is that I hit, that’s it.
After the match, I was trembling and everything was numb. Adrenaline rush maybe? I was confused as to why there were people congratulating me and saying positive things about my jigeiko with Yokomichi-sensei. In addition to that, I was really surprised when Endo-sensei followed me to the back of the line and gave me some pointers. The truth is, I had a hard time understanding what he said. My mind was blank while he was teaching me, (Endo-sensei GOMEN NASAI!!!). I just followed his movements and realized that he was correcting my maai and some other things.
I AM REALLY THANKFUL TO YOKOMICHI-SENSEI AND ENDO-SENSEI FOR GIVING ME OPPURTUNITIES TO DEVELOP MY KENDO. “HONTOU NI DOMO ARIGATOU GOZAIMASHITA!”
With my match with Igarashi Sensei, I was also scared. I wanted to show sensei the things that I learned from him, but I’m not perfect and even my basics are still flawed. During our match, I just hit and hit again and gave everything that I had. I was sad that my jigeiko with Igarashi-sensei ended so fast but I still enjoyed it. He reminded me of the important things I love about Kendo.
I’m sorry Sensei if I can only do beginner’s kendo. I really want to be a good student and do everything that you taught us since the day I entered the club two years ago. Thank you for letting me experience a jigeiko with you today. And I will thank you for the rest of my life for letting me do Kendo. A MILLION “THANK YOU VERY MUCH” IS NOT ENOUGH. I WISH THAT THERE ARE OTHER WORDS THAT CAN HELP ME EXPRESS MY GRATITUDE TO YOU.
After the match, I was confused when Jomar told me that I scored two Kote-uchi on Sensei. I was not sure if he was really referring to me or to a different person. Still, the feeling of giving everything that you’ve got just to hit a single Men, Kote or Do is really remarkable.
I also want to thank Mrs. Yokomichi for telling me that I look like her daughter who is already a San-dan. I wish I could be like her also.
A GIRL SPEAKING NIHONGO
At the end of the training, I was given the chance to give thanks to our guests, by delivering a speech. Just imagine a girl speaking Nihongo in a very nervous tone.
So here it is:
Watashi tachi no kurabu maneejaa, Kristopher “Kutch” Inting-san, wa minasan ga waza-waza Firipin ni kite, watashi tachi no club, Iga-ken to renshuuoshite itadaki to iu koto ni fukai kansha no kimochi o tsutaetaidesu.
Kristopher-san to kare no okusan, watashi tachi no Loida-sempai wa ima choudo nihon ni ryokoushiteimasu. Kristopher-san wa minasan to omukae dekinakute soshite issho ni renshuu dekinakatta koto o hijou ni zannen to omotteimasu.
Soshite Kristopher-san wa watashi tachi no club ni kizoushita bogu ni kansha shiteimasu. Sono bogu no okage de Iga-ken no membaa tachi wa kendo o motto gakushuushi, taisetsu ni shite, aishiteimasu.
Kristopher-san wa mata minasan ni aitaku soshite minasan ga Iga-ken to jikan wo tanoshinda koto o nozondeimasu.
Hontou ni, doumo arigatou gozaimashita.
And the English translation:
Our club manager, Kristopher” Kutch” Inting wants to express his sincerest gratitude for taking your time here in the Philippines to train with us here in Iga-Ken. Kutch is on vacation in Japan right now together with his wife and our sempai here in Kendo, Loida-san.
He’s very sorry for not being able to accommodate and train with you.
He’s very thankful for all the bogu that you donated to our club. Those bogu helped all of the members of this club to learn, appreciate, and love Kendo more.
He wishes to see you again and hoped that you enjoyed Iga-Ken’s kendo.
Thank you very much!
THANKS, THANKS, & MORE THANKS
I almost cried after delivering the speech. The pressure of the training that day doubled because of the speech that I delivered. I want to thank all those who listened and tried to understand my message. I really appreciated the effort. Thanks also to Aisu and her friend for helping me translate this speech and to our Japanese kendo-mates Teru, Yui and Yuta for helping me. Thanks especially to Junko-san who helped me correct some stuff. To momsy Loida and popsy Kutch, I just want to let you know that I was able to express how grateful we are for their donations and for visiting IGA-Ken. Kutch, I appreciate the opportunity to give that speech on your behalf. To Sensei, I will thank you forever for letting us do Kendo. I will treasure Kendo for the rest of my life.
Soshite to our guests, Mr. and Mrs. Yokomichi and Mr. Endo, I hope you understood me trying to speak in Nihongo. Thank you very much for giving us a chance to train with you. Thank you for the gifts and I hope that we will see each other again.
Today’s training was amazing. It gave me a lot of hopes for my own kendo practice. I hope that there will be a day that
- there will be no pain whenever I strike.
- I will be able to give my opponents a good match.
- I can do everything that Sensei taught us.
- I can go to Japan and experience Kendo there.
- I will have that shining shimmering Sho-dan.
- I can train regularly and that my academics, student council work, other org activities, my doctor and my mom would not stop me from doing kendo.
- Iga-Ken family will be bigger and kendo will spread in the Philippines.
SO MUCH HOPES FOR ME, BUT STILL THOSE HOPES WILL GIVE LIGHT TO MY KENDO.
I will place the gift (“Kibou” or Hope) that I got in a place in our home where I can see it every day. This is to remind me of what I continue to hope for: a better Kendo practice.
It was a really tiring and awesome day for everyone but we learned a lot and made a step towards our dreams of having a good Kendo practice.
(Credits to Ronin for the awesome pictures)