Europe has a new Renshi!

As I am always asking everyone a little word for our Newsletter I guess it was logical that I write one over my little experience.

Let’s start from the begining: in November 2016 at the last European Championship and the following seminar, I was wondering if European Naginata was not going to some kind of dead end with so many Yon dan and Go dan coming up but not so much under and not a lot of movement in the teaching area of our Federation. I thought that maybe it was time for me to do a step forward, to help our group in his progression. In 2015 during the INF seminar in Montréal, I already asked to Tanner sensei how she took her decision to go for the Renshi examination, she answered that I should try and that she would be ready to help me through the web.

But this time, in November 2016, I took the decision, for me certainly, but more for the ENF members, as I believe that this step is different. When you choose to be Renshi you choose to be teacher and invest your practice in the development of your student. I asked Yasui sensei, Narita sensei and Kimura sensei who were there, and they motivate me and gave me as much advices as possible to prepare this examination.

From there I trained every day, even if it was a few minutes. The friends of my club enjoyed my decision and trained with me as regularly as they could. Yasui sensei send me advices through the web when I require some, and other friends in Japan who practice alot send me very precious corrections. These month of preparation were hard for me as I had a new job on which I had to focus on,  and beside of this, a personnal problem that had a very bad impact on me, and still didn’t really recover from it. Anyway, that’s life, and as I said to a friend recently we must enjoy what we have in the present, if we are keep expecting from the future or regreting the past, we will mist a lot of great moment in our life.

Travelling to Japan for a grade is not easy in the middle of May when you have a new job and a child to take care of. Luckily for the little one, my brother accept to take care of him for a few days, but because of the job, I couldn’t leave more than a week as my boss would’nt accept it. All of this is such an expensive experience, so in February I’ve  organized a birthday party at my home place and invite friends, naginata friends and invite them not to offer me presents but a little help for my trip, and everybody was very generous. You know, the registration for Renshi is 10 thousand Yen but when you get it you still have to pay 100 thousand Yen, and with this you haven’t paid your trip yet.

In March at the Imaura sensei seminar, so well organized by NNR, I correct some more details of my practice such as the kayoi at the end of the strike that I use to do all along my movement (we can talk about that in Mainz if you come). I send my registration and  I thanks alot Chloé Bellec for helping me with the translation of this and the INF to forward it to AJNF. And than the departure came pretty fast.

But before leaving, a good friend remind me to make a wish.

I arrived the 18th of May in Osaka and even if I was a wrecked after 18 hours of trip, I did a first training in the dojo of the Kansai University with Alex Bennett. From this moment this amazing guy receive me like a great sensei and I am really greatfull to him for all what he did.

The next day I trained with Yasui sensei which was really helpful as she could see all the things that had evolve (or not) since November and the ones I should focus for the examination. We did exercices that brings me in the situation of the examination.

Actually the Renshi exam is pretty short you just have to do shikake odji and Zen Nihon kata perfectly. As all her advice were linked to my mistake I will just give you one interesting concept she said and  you should keep in mind when you practice those kata; Natto, which is a kind of food you may only find in Japan. It’s a little slimy but it’s an image to express how your actions should be related to the ones of your partner.

After that, in the evening, with the jetlag, I fall litterally down, Hughes was trying to talk to me but he only receive my snoring back. Hopefully I was staying at his place that night, thank you Hughes and Chloé.

The next day we had a great morning training at their dojo. A wonderfull place that some of you have seen. There, Chikage sensei gave me advices for my last little training before the examination. I did some shopping to be nice for the examination; a new hakama, keikogi and habu and did a nice little dinner with all the team before THE day.

The examination was in Itami in the dojo of a school. It was a nice place but not so easy to find ( as all the address are in Japan). 24 participants enter the room after the kyoshi examination, to present the Renshi, it was so hot in there! I did my exam with someone I never saw before. After all the pairs did shikake odji and the Zen Nihon Kata we all went to another building for a written exam, we had to write a text on the subject of the Zen Nihon Kata. It wasn’t the whorst and I wrote 5 pages on a subject that I already prepared in advance.

After that Alex Bennett offered me a nice Corean dinner and I only had to wait 2 days to get the results. Durings my few day staying in Japan I had other chance to train with Kimura sensei and her dojo members where I meet Zaitsu sensei again. It is always a great moment to practice Tendo ryu in this place. And also had one day to visit a little one of the best place in the world ; Kyoto,  and make a wish on the rabbit or other divinitie’s shrine. I even had a chance to see an old friend that some of you have recognized 🙂

And Tuesday evening I receive the message from the General Secretary of the INF, mrs Tamaki that I succeed my Renshi:)

In conclusion if you want to be a Renshi you should ask yourself why, as you will become a teacher much more than a student.

Than you should train alot and ask people to help training and correct you (as always, but stronger) and see with sensei if it is the good time for you.

Finally you must save money as there is one exam per year in Japan.

I would like to thanks :

Yasui sensei, Narita sensei, Kimura sensei, Chikage Tanaka sensei for their advices

Fabienne Bauwens, Raoul D’hose, Ingrid Bullens, Jonathan D’hose, Colin Fildes, Florian D’hose, Michèle Hoeck, Yolanda Vanneste Laurence Dumonceau, Pascale DeCoster, Marianne Lauwers, Jean-Claude Ahn, Tyl Dermine, François Dermine, Xinxin Zhang, Kumi Mori, Laurent Turet, Katia Turet, Leslie Fildes, Nolwenn Péron, Hughes Jean-Gérard, Elin Sandqvist, Myra Thielmans, Hélène Spitaels, Manu Azzolin, Emilie Compère, Spohie Tchang, Baudouin Massart, Gaelle Hau, Dylan Vellut, Rudy Paulig, Colette Crowet and many many more…


for their help and their support in this great adventure

And a special thanks to Alex Bennett and Chloé Bellec who received and help me so much in Japan