Lessons from 2018 Iaido Seminar

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Shuji Matsushita Sensei led the 2018 Fall Meishin Muso Ryu Iaido Seminar from Sept. 15-16 at Shudokan Dojo in Stroudsburg, PA. Here are some of our lessons …

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Kihon, Kihon and More Kihon

During the two-day seminar, we reviewed iaido basics such as kamae, uchikomi, zanshin, chiburi and noto.

We also practiced kata. Sensei explained many fine details of our iaido school’s kata. He noted what we were doing wrong and how to fix our mistakes.

Sensei described various kamae and their purposes. He noted their strengths and limitations as well.

Our body posture expresses what we are thinking and feeling. It can project our confidence and readiness … or reveal our weakness and hesitation.

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30 Uchikomi Each Day

One of the seminar’s themes was “excuses.” People make excuses for why they don’t try to do their best.

Many people say they don’t have time to train everyday because of family, work or other obligations. To prove us wrong, Sensei did 30 uchikomi and several other techniques under a minute. Indeed, you can do 30 uchikomi in less than a minute!

As Sensei told us repeatedly, training is practicing what you cannot do until you can do it.

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Michael Breaks His Bokken

As practice for a certain kata, we had to strike a dummy wearing a kendo bogu. We were working on cutting with the correct angle at the correct position.

My sempai Michael Luckenbill made a couple cuts … and broke his wooden sword in half! Everyone was impressed at this feat.

Later, Michael told us how some years back, he and other students did a drill where they had to break a bokken in one shot. It may have hurt the wallet in the short run, but it helped their iaido in the long run!

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Four people passed their iaido rank exams at Meishin Muso Ryu's summer seminar from Sept. 15-16. Among the examinees, Matt Fried obtained the highest rank, shodan. From left: Marcus Hawkins, sankyu; Gary Pang, nikyu; Katsunori Matsushita, examiner; Tom Hill, examiner; Shuji Matsushita sensei, examiner; Matt Fried, shodan; and Keith Bowers, sankyu. Congratulations! (Photo credit: Ronin Kai dojo, Columbia, Pa.) #iaido #meishinmusoryu #居合道 #明神無想流

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Promotion Examination

At the end of the seminar, four students took promotion examinations with Matsushita Sensei’s approval. All passed. Below are the examinees and their new ranks:

Matt and Keith train at Ronin Kai in Columbia, Pa.

The examiners were Matsushita sensei, Katsunori Matsushita and Tom Hill.

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Katsunori Matsushita draws his sword and cuts from a sitting position. (2018 Meishin Muso Ryu fall iaido seminar. Video credit: Michael Luckenbill @theluckymike_ ) #meishinmusoryu #明神無想流 #iaido #居合道 #sword

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Note: Any mistake or omission in this post is mine alone. — Gary Pang