The 2018 IKKU Iaido and Bokken Clinic occurred on April 28, 2018, hosted by Kyoshi-Sei Larry Griffin at the American Legion Hall in Duluth, GA. The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans. We would like to thank this local chapter for allowing us to utilize their facilities for IKKU events.
There was a good turnout with 26 participants for this special Iaido 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, and Ronin Bujutsu Kai. For over 30 years, we are proud to have Soke Joseph Ruiz, Hanshi-Sei and Founder of Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu and the International Karate Kobudo Union lends us his knowledge and expertise for such events.
Iaido Morning Session
During the early hours, participants with wooden bokken worked on Tachi Kaze Kata. This session was led by Kyoshi-Sei Larry Griffin, Chief Instructor of Keishin Karate Kai based out of Duluth, GA. Assisting Kyoshi-Sei Griffin was Shihan Dai Mike Hoffman, Chief Instructor of Kita Kaze Karate Kai out of Sugar Hill, GA.
Only after a practitioner reaches a certain level of proficiency and they have achieved a Brown Belt rank in Karate are they allowed to begin handling a live blade. The katana, being a live blade weapon demands much respect since it is such a dangerous weapon. One slip could literally cost someone a life or limb.
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 the duration of the morning to ensure proper technique and memorization had occurred. In all, our Iaido art contains 5 full-length Kata following the Tachi Kaze Kata, Shodan – Godan.
Hanshi Ron Downton, Chief Instructor of Tora Shin Karate Kai 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 approximately half of the Seitei Gata during the morning session. Participants were allowed to ask questions while Soke Ruiz answered and gave instruction during this session. 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.
Iaido Afternoon Session
During the afternoon sessions, the participants of the Bokken group started working partner bunkai drills. In this session, Bokken users begin to learn and simulate Iaido cuts on a live uke. This serves as the basis for these new level users while they begin to understand the application of cuts and just how much respect the katana demands.
The Live Blade Group jumped back in during the afternoon session and as the cuts progressed into more complicated combinations smaller groups began forming to drill earlier series of cuts. The main group with Hanshi Downton continued through the end of all 20 Seita Gata Cuts. During the later cuts both Katana and the shorter Wakizashi were utilized to finish out the day.
The 2018 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 would recommend you plan to attend the next such event. The Katana is said to be the Soul of the Samurai, so by learning this art you truly are walking in the footsteps of those that came before. The Live Blade Class is something special that a practitioner of Japanese and Okinawan Arts should attend every time the opportunity arises.
Additional IKKU Information
The IKKU – International Karate Kobudo Union provides a very balanced approach towards Martial Arts as a whole. We provide empty hand Karate, Okinawan Kobudo, Japanese Iaido, and Katsu-Ryu Kempo with roots back to China. Becoming a well rounded martial artist is much more than learning just one art. Why limit yourself when the sky is the limit.
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 6-10 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