Italy is Present

By Emanuele Giberna

These pandemic years have been hard for everyone. Also the Italian Naginata, like others, has suffered.

In February 2020 we had to organise an international seminar in our country, but from one day to the next, we found ourselves unable to leave our houses, take a walk with our friends or share our passions with them.

Despite this, we continued to train at home in the most extravagant and amusing ways, thanks also to the international network that was created around all the Naginataka who made sure that we supported each other.

It’s been two years from the beginning of the pandemic and after these years of continuous practice and a couple of meetings with all the participants from Italy, I realised that the pandemic has only strengthened the connection between us and this fantastic martial art.

Thanks to all this, new people have approached the world of Naginata, such as Laura and Lorenzo who have joined the Italian national team and whom I have decided to interview for you today.

  1. What’s your name?

Laura: “Laura”

Lorenzo: “Lorenzo”

2. How old are you?

Laura: “33”

Lorenzo: “23”

3. How did you discover Naginata?

Laura: “I was already practising Aikido and in my dojo the next class was Naginata. I was already familiar with Kendo, but I saw Naginata as a very technical discipline, so I wanted to try it and I got hooked”

Lorenzo: “I discovered this discipline thanks to my aikido sensei Alessandro Aguzzi who practices Naginata. So, I started studying this discipline because I find it very stimulating”

4. How long have you been practising Naginata?

Laura: “About three years, except Covid and a baby girl!”

Lorenzo: “I have been practising Naginata for four or five years”

5. What level you have?

Laura: “4th Kyu”

Lorenzo: “I’m 4th Kyu, but this weekend I will try the exam to move up to the next level and to become 3rd Kyu”

6. Is this your first time participating in a European competition?

Laura: “Yes”

Lorenzo: “Yes, it’s the first time”

7. What are your feelings ahead of the Naginata European Championship?

Laura: “I’m thrilled. For me, who has been practising Naginata for such a short time, it is an honour and at the same time a wonderful opportunity to grow and learn”

Lorenzo: “At the moment, I don’t really know what to expect. Anyway, I’m sure this European competition is an opportunity to learn more about the different aspects of this discipline”

8. How did you prepare yourself during these months?

Laura: “I’m trying to do some exercises on my own to strengthen my core”

Lorenzo: “I’ve trained as usual and I’ve continued even in the sultry heat. I’ve focused a lot on the competitive aspect”

9. What do you think of the Italian Naiginata and about your teammates?

Laura: “Naginata is a movement that can and must grow. It would definitely be important to host international masters and bring Naginata into more dojos.

These two years of Covid did not allow me to get to know the whole team, except for the members of my dojo.

My first official meeting with the whole team was just last June and I immediately felt welcomed into a united and prepared team!”

Lorenzo: “I honestly couldn’t say. I don’t know most of the people practising Naginata in Italy because of the Covid, but I’m sure all they put a lot of will and passion to carry out this almost unknown discipline in this country”

10. How do you plan to position yourself in the different competitions?

Laura: “Honestly, I haven’t thought about positioning yet. My goal is to do my best in every competition, ‘take a bit of a beating’ and learn from my mistakes!”

Lorenzo: “I have no idea. At the moment my thoughts are not on the various positions to be achieved. This is the first time I am participating in this kind of competition and my thought is to learn as much as possible from this experience”

Thank you to Laura and Lorenzo to share their emotions with us!

We are all very excited because in a month we will be able to see and hug many of our old friends again, and certainly make some new ones.

At last, you know, in these competitions you go not to win, but to learn new things, “getting a beating” as Laura says, to have fun, to make new friends and for the Sayonara party!

Italy is present, see you there!