Naginata spring seminar in Italy

by Daniela Moroncelli

On the 21 of April we had a special event in Italy for our Naginata practice, it was the
very first time that our national federation (CIK – Confederazione italiana kendo) that
is mostly composed and focused on Kendo people, organized a big seminar and
examination session with just italian examinators.
It was a great success for us because finally Naginata practice bacame more
important at a national level and not just an invisible part of the federation.
During these last years the interest in Atarashii Naginata has grown a lot among
italian people expecially in the center and south (Rimini, Rome and Naples).
The highest grades of our team also started to travel around Italy trying to promote
the practice thanks to the contacts with teachers and friends practicing other martial
arts (like kendo, iaido and jodo that are more common in our country) to let them
discover the beauty of this particular practice.
In the meanwhile some italian students travelled a lot in Europe to participate to great
seminars to improve their practice and got a higher grade during examinations so our
national level has grown as well.

Considering the good path that we are following we wanted to organize a whole day
of practice focused on basics and kyu grades preparation for examination and most of
all we really really wanted to see and know each other! Since our dojos are so far one
from another (form Turin to Naples is more than 950 km!) we have a few possibilities
to meet us in our country… actually, it’s easier to meet us when we travel around
Europe for big events like ENF seminar, ENC or this was the perfect
It’s very important for beginners to start the practice properly, expecially if they
already have a grade by practicing another martial art, sometimes it seems that things
are similar but they actually are not, Atarashii Naginata is very technical so just
starting from the lateral position it’s necessary for them to fix good examples in their
The seminar was led by Alessia Cerchia, 4Dan, helped by Alessandro Aguzzi 3Dan
and Emanuele Giberna, 3Dan (they were also the examinators for grading).
There were 20 people attending the seminar in Rome coming from Turin, Rimini,
Fano, Rome and Naples and for most of them it was the first time to attend a seminar
with a lot of people coming from other parts of Italy because they just started the
practice less than one year.
The focus of the first part of the seminar was reigi and safety inside the dojo, so first
of all attitude, how to relate to sensei and pairs, how to bow, posture in shizentai and
seiza, how to hold the Naginata and how to take care of the uniform and the weapon,
then we started the practice with kamae, suburi, ashisabaki and strikes and Alessia
showed a lot of good exercises to improve coordination, breathing and ten no uchi
showing the movements step by step so it was easier to understand how to move feet,
hips and the whole body holding the Naginata.
The second part was focused on shikake – oji, striking and blocking properly using
good maai, team work and zanshin during the whole form, that was my favourite part
of the seminar because practicing together is the best way to understand yourself and
the other, feeling the spirit just looking in his eyes and moving like being one; it’s not
easy to maintain a good form with new students because they are still not able to
manage their movement, attention and spirit but that’s an important point for grades
people, trying to do their best even if there are a lot of disturbing things, mantaining a
free mind, mushin.

At the end of the seminar the group was splitted for bogu practice and preparation for
grading and at 17.00 everything finished; high grades enjoyed jigeiko and other
students had time for free practice and time to fix new concepts.
It was a complete success and everybody came back home with a big smile, now we
have more kyu grades in Italy and a crescent will to improve and understand
However in her final speech Alessia reminded to all people that it’s very important to
practice more and more and ask for advices to high grades all around because even if
you did a step forward there are many others to do and we are all lifelong learning

Now in Italy we have dojos where you can find a teacher and some students, Torino
with Alessia Cerchia, Emanuele Giberna and Sara Susca, Fano with Alessandro
Aguzzi, Ravenna with Stefano Carlini and Rimini (Santarcangelo) with Daniela
Moroncelli, at the moment Rome and Naples are under these dojos but they are
growing up quickly so we are sure in a few years we’ll have grades also in these
beautiful cities, so Italy is opening arms to other Naginata people from all over the
world and we are trying to organize new events for all of you, we are sure this is a
good beginning!