This seminar used to be leaded by KURASAWA Teruhiko, 9-dan Kendo Hanshi and Shihan of the Nittaidai. He is still an active kendoka but due to his advanced age (past 90 years) he is now forbidden from long trips overseas. I had the pleasure of doing keiko with him on 2003 and 2004 and it was a very inspiring and unique experience. Unique as it is, I will probably never keiko a 9-dan sensei again. And most of the newbies in kendo will probably never even have that chance. Anyway, if you want to see some of his badass grandpa moves check out this video:
Since 2005 the seminar has been led by TAKIZAWA Kenji, 8-dan Kyoshi. It follows a similar pattern every year: Kihon-Suburi, Oikomi, Keiko, Kata, Bokuto ni Yoru, Shinpan-geiko, Shikake-Oji Waza and a special 1vs1vs1 kangeiko type of informal shiai. It is pretty varied and packed for just a weekend if you ask me, considering half of one of those days is taken up by the competition.
On saturday afternoon there's the shiai. It's a 3-member, gender mixed team competition. Nearly 40 teams from several countries joined the cup this year. My team (Kenwakai A) made it to the finals but we were unable to beat the newcomer champion in the end.
Oh well, learn from defeat as they say. I've studied my final match thoroughly and I think I know what I got wrong now, so hopefully it'll be fixed for the next match! This is the medal for this year. Last years looked more like a shuriken. True story.