It was good to participate in one of kendo camps or gasshuku. East Central U.S. Kendo Federation (ECUSKF) had many gasshuku for All U.S. Championships held in Las Vegas, NV on 3-5 July 2008.
One day was training for match or shiai. And the second day was training from kihon to jigeiko.
I was asked to participate the shiai training. Due to my knee condition, I thought I was not a good training partner.
However, N sensei asked me to take part because they did not get to practice with anyone different.
They had been training each other many times so they needed to train someone different so that they could really test themselves.
I decided to take part even though I thought I was not good enough for them.
I hope that I helped them a bit. But they helped me a lot. I had not been in "shiai" for a long time. It made me very nervous. That was feeling that I had not had for a long time.
I tore the left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) in October 2006.
I still cannot sit in seiza or sonkyo properly. I sit in agura (legs crossed) instead of and orishiki (one knee on the floor) instead of sonkyo.
Due to the injury, I do not want to twist my knee very much or lean on the left leg too much. These movements result in pain and a not-being-able-to-do-kendo situation for a while.
So I had to keep my body straight. No ducking or swaying too much. I think I could do an ideal kendo in shiai.
I am sure that my shiai partners did not really enjoy fighting against a person who could not move much. I felt bad about it for them.
The next day was a normal training with everyone. Kihon, techniques and jigiko. It was very nice to do keiko with more than 30 people at once.
I really enjoyed every part of the gasshuku including drinking keiko afterwards. I could get to know many people who love kendo and are passionate about it.
It did not matter what grade we held. The passion we shared about kendo connected us.
It was sad to hear that many leading instructors in ECUSKF leaving the US. Many of them came to the US for their jobs or academic purposes. The length of their stay in the US was limited.
This kind of incident makes me really think that we need people who are specialized in kendo and their job is to instruct kendo on full-time base.
But the teachings of those who had to leave the country will stay in their successors. I am sure that these people I met in this gasshuku will take a leading role in East Central kendo in US.
By the way, ECUSKF became the 3rd in the male team tournament. Great result from those kendo camps. Congratulations!