The 2017 IKKU Iaido and Bokken Clinic occurred on April 22, 2017, hosted by Shihan Dai Amy Howell at the Legion of AllStars Gymnastics in Griffin, GA. There was a good turnout with 26 participants for this special clinic. Participants gathered from across various IKKU – International Karate Kobudo Union Dojos for the 1-day event. Dojo participation included Tora Shin Karate Kai, Keishin Karate Kai, Suansu Karate Kai, Kita Kaze Karate Kai, Robinson Karate Dojo & Yoga Center, Carolina Karate Kai, and KYOSHINKAN.
The Katana and Bokken are true weapons of the Japanese Arts. Soke Joseph Ruiz learned these weapons and art while training with his sensei in Hawaii and Japan. He furthered his knowledge while training in the U.S. with Soke Shogo Kuniba, 10th Dan, of the Seishin Kai Karate Union. Training with Soke Ruiz is always something special, but when the opportunity for the Katana arises it certainly is a rare combination and opportunity to train in a true Japanese Martial Art unlike any other. The Katana is considered to be the most dangerous and coveted weapon of Koga-Ryu Kobudo, which is one of the reasons this IKKU Annual Koga-Ryu Iaido and Bokken Clinic is so special.
During the early hours, all participants with live blades and wooden bokken worked on Tachi Kaze Kata. The Tachi Kaze Kata is a basic level Iaido Kata that focuses on cuts, footwork and general handling of the weapon. Participants worked this kata for a duration and then broke apart into smaller groups in the late morning hours. In all, our Iaido art contains 5 full-length Kata, Shodan – Godan. During the afternoon sessions, the participants were split into two groups. The primary group focused on live blades while the second group focused on the bokken. Soke Ruiz took time to move between the two groups to share his expertise where needed.
Shihan Dai Matt Downton and Shihan Dai Mike Downton lead the live blade group on the main floor for the most part of the day with Soke Ruiz overseeing instruction. The Koga-Ryu Iaido system contains 20 cuts or Seitei Gata, as the whole of this art. The live blade group worked all 20 cuts/Seitei Gata during the course of the day. Expertise levels of participants varied throughout the group from very proficient to novice, but as usual, the IKKU did a great job of teaching to all levels of practitioners.
Kyoshi-Sei Larry Griffin of the Keishin Karate Kai instructed the participants that needed Tachi Kaze Kata or were new to the bokken. Kyoshi Kim Blue also helped assist this group during the afternoon sessions. After a practitioner reaches a certain level of proficiency they generally will move up into the Cuts and finally at some point in the future to the live blade. The katana, being a live blade demands much respect since it is such a dangerous weapon. One slip could literally cost someone a life.
The 2017 IKKU Koga-Ryu Iaido and Bokken Clinic was a successful clinic with no injuries occurring. Not too bad of a record for the 100+ man-hours performed on the floor for the duration of the event. For those that missed this special clinic, I’d recommend you plan to attend the next such event when it’s scheduled. The Live Blade Class is something special that a practitioner of Japanese and Okinawan Arts should attend when the opportunity arises. Hopefully, we’ll see another class in 2017 on our schedule, or possibly it may make an appearance at the upcoming IKKU 31st Anniversary Summer Camp entitled “Camp Katsu”.
Additional IKKU Information
Don’t forget our next upcoming event which is the 2017 IKKU Camp Katsu. The event is scheduled on from June 7 through June 11, 2017, at Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, GA.
For information about joining the IKKU – International Karate Kobudo Union then please visit our IKKU Registration Page. We welcome new members to our organization and have 6-8 scheduled events each year. This will allow you direct access to Soke Joseph Ruiz, founder of the IKKU and other High Dan Instructors from the IKKU.
For a full listing of upcoming scheduled sessions please visit our Events Page. Here we showcase our upcoming Clinics, Camps and other opportunities for engagement with the IKKU.
To locate a participating IKKU Dojo near you Click Here –> IKKU Dojos