The First official Gekiken

As some people know, in the September of this year was set up All Czech Gekiken Federation, the first and only cross-school organization in the Czech Republic which promotes free fencing with a Japanese sword, the Gekiken. To celebrate our establishment, we hosted the First Gekiken Taikai Open on Friday, 19th September.

Even though the truly first tournament of Gekiken under Hakuzan dojo happened about three years ago, in this case, the event signalized a new approach and a new stage of development of the discipline. Thus, we invested much energy to be successful.

The potential nervousness of the hosts and participant was lifted by delicious tea (Da Hong Pao), which surely helped to build a nice and friendly atmosphere of the event. Old friends with prior experience with Gekiken have gathered, along with some new faces, all heart-warmingly welcomed.

Ample participation indicated, that the Gekiken has much to offer to people and that it is an attractive discipline. The participants of the tournament who came from across the republic were behaving utmost respectfully and reasonably. The official opening of the event took place on time. The opening was supported with the masterful play of doc. Vlastislav Matoušek on the shakuhachi flute (maybe the only brass-percussion instrument, for it was used by the priests of the zen sect of Komuso as a musical instrument as well as self-defense tool).

It was our pleasure to hear few pieces of the honkyoku (traditional repertoire), which the master played even for her majesty Japanese empress and his holiness Dalai Lama.

Next performance was the enbu of tameshigiri by Hakuzan dojo and our friends (to-be-winner Jan Neškodný, Silvestr Prayer from Gorin, Miroslav Klofát from Kasumi dojo). Japanese mats tatami omotte were cut and our sensei Jakub Zeman fulfilled his lifelong dream of test cutting on futomaki, made from five regular tatami omotte. He performed techniques migi and hidari kesa, a form of nuki uchi as teaches Nakagawa Kinji sensei – cutting right after unsheathing.

After remains of the unfortunate mats were cleaned up, there came a moment to which everyone so patiently waited: The beginning of the tournament. Opponents were chosen by a lot and because participants were even, nobody remained aside. Elegant Michael Kňažko along with Jakub Zeman as a second were acting as referees.

As an eyewitness, I must say, that all who fought at the tournament, were fair, enthusiastic, brave, concentrated, determined, with one world just phenomenal and two women participating in the competition were also charming.

The ultimate winner of a tournament was deservedly great fencer Jan Neškodný (to the great merriment of the spectators, neškodný means harmless in Czech), who clashed in a breath-taking finale with Jaroslav Víšek of Hakuzan dojo. Third place was achieved by Miroslav Klofát of Kasumi Dojo

Technical breaks were filled with nice child Gekiken of two talented boys from Kasumi Dojo.

A great many thanks belong to our dear guests, doc. Matoušek for an outstanding performance on shakuhachi, Michael Kňažko (Ars Dimicatoria) for great judging, participating dojos (Kasumi dojo, Gorin, Micu Izumi dojo) and individual participants, who traveled from across the republic – Frýdek Místek, Brno, Kadaň, and other locations.

Personally, I believe we very much enjoyed the Friday evening and the All Czech Gekiken Federation will soon host another event. Should you like events like this, we sincerely welcome you take part as either participants or spectators.

The participants of Gekiken. The winner, Jan Neškodný, is standing first on left.

Gekiken on the festival Advik 2018

Hakuzan dojo organized gekiken Taikai on the festival Advik. Main competitors were from our dojo and of the samurai group Gorin. Taikai was free for those who had experience with sword combat and so there were few attendees from other fencing schools as well.

The ultimate victory was achieved by Silvester Prajer (Gorin) after phenomenal victory over Petr Janda (Hakuzan dojo)

The victor was awarded a painting which was kindly provided by Jakub Zeman sensei from his personal collection.

Dojo visits 10th year of Cajomir fest

Hakuzan dojo participates in the annual tea culture festival Čajomír regularly since its first year. Apart from martial arts performances, we traditionally run a small tea spot, where we along with visitors of the festival enjoy a good cup of tea and a culture which the tea represents in the Far East.

Our dojo has become very successful in the art of tea preparation and over the course of ten years won three times the first place price.

Hakuzan dojo could not miss the jubilee tenth year of the festival. Performances of Jakub Zeman, Jaroslav Visek and Pavel Stumpa over both days of the festival introduced disciplines of tameshigiri, kata and shuriken jutsu to a large auditorium of interested visitors.

The tea ceremony was performed by Jana Lehovcova of Hakuzan dojo.

Advik 2018

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.