First weekend of August was very important for our dojo. It was a time for an annual Japanese culture festival called Advik, where our dojo traditionally performs.
This year our sensei Jakub Zeman had a considerable influence on the programme of the “traditional culture” part of the festival – so-called Matsuri, which offered us an opportunity for a visitors to experience the arts of the Japanese swords that we – as a dojo – practice.
On Friday sensei has shown his skill for Seznam TV alongside friends from a samurai group Gorin under the lead of Mr. Silvestr Prajer. The audience could watch not only an armored samurai combat or cutting techniques against six targets but also a tea ritual prepared by Mr. Jan Hála, who brought sorely needed zen peace among the rush and chaos of the festival.
On the main day of the festival – Saturday – sensei held in-depth workshops and exhibitions on various disciplines of a Japanese sword under name of the Happo Ryu (八方流).
Hakuzan dojo presented techniques of battojutsu – the art of delivering highly effective cuts straight from drawing the sword – and kenjutsu – the combat with already drawn swords. Visitors then had the opportunity to practice the basics of kenjutsu as practiced in our dojo. They were led to realize that the whole body has to work for the combat style to be effective.
Practical applications of both battojutsu and kenjutsu then sensei and his students showed during tameshigiri – the cutting practice – that verifies the correctness of a technique execution. For apparent reasons, human body was replaced with a rolled tatami omotes which were proven to be a best possible substitution, as they resist the blade in a similar way a human body would.
At the top of the day, we presented a rarely happening discipline of a free-form armed combat. This discipline is called Gekiken and real swords are replaced by a softened plastic practice swords. Unlike kendo, during gekiken, no armor (bogu) is used and the whole body is a valid target. Our dojo then performed an exhibition tournament that was opened for people with prior knowledge of a swordfight. Ultimately, we were joined by our friends from Gorin and a pair of visitors, who brought different fencing techniques into the pool of competitors.
As a complementary programme, sensei conducted a workshop and taikai (open competition) on the topic of shuriken throws. The prize for the winner was a pair of Japanese swords (daisho), which attracted a lot of competitors.
We hope that visitors enjoyed our performance at the festival. We would be honored to present some of the techniques of a Japanese sword again next year.
You can watch the aforementioned TV clip on the following address: http://bit.ly/Advik2018. The link leads to a website of Seznam TV who produced the clip but is available in Czech only.