A little seminar in Obernai

by Marie-Luise Göbel

On 4th-5th of June a Naginata/Kendo seminar took place in Obernai, France under the guidance of David D’hose Renshi and Tyl Dermine, organised by the Kendo Club D’Obernai and joined by  participants from Belgium, France and Germany.

On the first day of the seminar, basic skills of Naginata were practiced together. For the Kendoka, of whom many never or only few times practiced with a Naginata before, it was important to learn how to handle the long weapon with its characteristic features and movements. Soon we began to extend our practice from Kihon to more advanced techniques. In the end of the day, Shikake-Oji was introduced to the Kendoka and being practised altogether.

On Sunday the Kendoka got back to using their Shinai. We elaborated the advantages and disadvantages that a Naginataka and a Kendoka have during isshu-geiko due to the characteristics of their weapon and the style of techniques and movement of their martial art. Theory was put into practice in many different exercises. For both sides it was very interesting to see how the other party delt with common attacks and counterattacks from the other martial art, what works well and what rather doesn’t. In the following practice fights, it was amazing to see how quickly – despite stepping out of their comfort zone – everybody already adapted to this new challenge, fighting an opponent that uses a diffent ma-ai, stance and basic attacks.  Many Kendoka also tried out using the Naginata during practise fights and vice versa. It was shown how much progress has already been made in only two days of intense practice.

Between the exercises, a presentation of Naginata Zen Nihon no Kata as well as Tendo Ryu no Kata has been performed.

Fitting the Alsace environment, we were invited to have an enjoyable get together on Saturday evening with the original Tarte flambé experience.

Thank you very much for organizing this great event and inviting us to Alsace Denis Fumagalli, Christophe Picard and Kendo Club D’Obernai, as well as our sensei David D’hose Renshi and Tyl Dermine for instructing this very interesting seminar.