Five members of Newark’s Bujinkan Brian Dojo Ninjutsu training group flew to Dublin for the organisation’s annual Matsuri summer festival on the weekend of June 14-17. Kiyth Fotitt, Andrew Osborn, Matt Clark, Alex Espin and Andrew Mallyon-Price joined fellow-instructors and students from Hungary, Malta, Holland, Switzland and Eire and other parts of the UK.
On the Friday only Black Belt gradings took place. This session is by invitation only and those who grade do so in front of their peers. Alex Espin of Newark successfully graded to his Shodan, first black belt grade. He had to demonstrate kata, empty hand and weapons skills and engage in 9 bouts of kumite and ground work and submit to Chief Instructor, Shihan Brian McCarthy, his portfolio of 5 pieces of written work.
Saturday morning began with registration at 10:30 followed by ceremonial lines and an introduction to the weekend by 8th dan Brian McCarthy. This was followed by a 30 minute warm-up that stretched all students’ limits.
The first session of training was Nito Ryu (two swords school) beginning with some movement and open hand exercises to warm the students in to the core of the session on movement and strategy. Then using bokkens (wooden training swords) students went on to develop their sword skills. This was followed by sword kata skills and a demonstration by Shidoshi (senior black belts) of their Sanshin sword kata and an interpretation of one of the five elements.
After a short light lunch the next session was about strategy and angles of tanto justu or knife fighting which included information on pre set street defences. Knife techniques require many hours of training and this session was just one small piece of the work. It was explained that far more damage is done to an opponent by cutting than stabbing.
Finishing at around 4pm students left to rest and clean-up before returning to the dojo for the Matsuri party. It was there that Alex Espin was informed that he had in fact been successful at his previous day’s grading and had now become a Black Belt.
On Sunday morning the introduction of Alex as a Shodan took place and he was officially presented with his Black Belt and Diploma certificate by Chief Instructor Brian McCarthy to all in attendance. One other student from Dublin gained his Nidan, 2nd dan Black Belt.
With no time to savour the moment it was another gruelling warm-up and then into a session of kicking techniques from the Shindenfudo Ryu school. “Kicking for Power” requires students to energise in their kicking skills to maximise the effect it has on their opponent.
After lunch there were workshops run by the Shidoshi in Jitte, sword breaker, Tessen, iron war fan, Kumi Uchi, groundwork and Nage waza, throwing techniques. There were some punishing sand bag exercises and demonstrations of sword work by the chief instructor and Shidoshi.
Kiyth Fotitt who is the BBD’s first aid practitioner has to deal with any incidents or injuries only had a small case load of minor strain injuries and bruising to deal with over the weekend. It’s always good when I don’t have much to do. It means the students are in good shape and don’t have to miss out on their training.
On this occasion to Dublin, Newark instructors where hampered at East Midlands Airport by Ryanair’s refusal to carrying their training weapons. They where checked in on-line and given a ticket at check-in and were disclosed. Again they were declared at x ray and outsize baggage. But after being referred back to the Ryanair desk and contact being made to Dublin hey were refused and returned to the car. This is the first time Ryanair has refused to carry the weapons and they have done so twice in the last year. Students flying from Edinburgh were allowed to carry such items. Kiyth has already written to Ryanair’s office in Dublin to ask for their £50 refund and to clarify future transits.
On Wednesday 29th June, 23 members of BBD Newark Ninjutsu undertook a 4 hour first aid course as part of their training. The course, held at their dojo HQ at Farndon was organised by dojo instructor Kiyth Fotitt. The skills are not just for potential training injuries but so students can use them at home, in the workplace, in the playground or in the street. We get very few injuries during training but with all the person hours, indoors and outdoors, with and without weapons, there is always a potential for injuries. As part of training we are always pointing our first aid potential, talking different elements of it and getting students to practice Recovery Positions and CPR. You can never practice it often enough.
All students will receive a certificate when they arrive from the training organisation.
In 22 yeas we have on had 4 students attend hospital and non with any bleeding injuries and none resulting from any weapons training. I think that’s a mighty good record.
BBD sandan Shidosh-Ho