ENF seminar in Brussels 2021

Text: Marie-Luise Göbel

The first and long-awaited ENF seminar since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic was connected to great expectations. There were seven participants from Germany and Naginataka from many countries in europe such as Portugal, Sweden and France joining this event. Even two participants from Estonia travelled far to join the seminar – it was the first time for estonian Naginataka.

Training in the Brussel’s dojo for warming upOn friday we could already “warm up” for the upcoming seminar: the belgian Naginata dojo invited everybody to join their regular training, which many participants gladly did.

Happy training, everyone
On saturday the first day of the long-awaited seminar took place. All participants until Shodan graduation were practicing lots of Kihon with and without bogu under supervision of Mark Berghaan sensei. They also worked on basic procedures and match regulations concerning Engi and Shiai. For many participants it was the first time joining a naginata seminar and therefore a precious experience for them. But also the more experienced group members were given the opportunity to correct common mistakes and repeat their repertoir of already known techniques.

In the second group under supervision of David D’hose Renshi some of the Shimpan regulations were recapped. Criteria for valid striking points in Shiai as well as many special cases possibly ocurring in Shiai were discussed. Also the criteria for refereeing an Engi match were explained. Finally, there was enough time to practise the Zen Nihon Naginata Renmei Kata.
Both groups were finally reunited: during short practise matches the Shiaisha as well as the Shimpan were given the possibility to apply what they learned before.

Successful grading exams at the end of the weekend
After the second day of the seminar, Kyu and Dan grading exams took place on sunday afternon. From Germany, Jonas Stock and Lukas Schuth passed the 5th Kyu grading exam. Congratulations!

Teambuilding at the friendship tournamentOn monday a friendship tournament took place in both disciplines Engi and Shiai. In Engi, for each team a Yudansha and a Mudansha were matched to compete together as a team. It was a good opportunity for everybody to adapt to a new Engi partner and take this challenge together. During free practise the newly formed Engi teams had time to practise the requiered Shikake Oji forms in order to compete later in the tournament.
In both Engi and Shiai an overall good performance was shown. One could see the effect of the seminar’s practise: everybody was eager to show clean techniques, matches were exciting to watch until the end.

Tired but happyAfter four entire days of this outstanding seminar everybody was exhausted. After the covid 19 caused Naginata lean period we got important input. Also the personal exchange with european Naginataka was a valuable experience and was practised a lot during the practice breaks and the joined dinner aka “welcome party” on saturday evening. We thank our Sensei, the organizers and helpers of this year’s ENF seminar.