My last post was to remind people like me – the fifth, sixth and seventh dans around the globe who are charged with encouraging others to improve their kendo, that we need to lead by example. I would not even presume to address my thoughts to the daisensensei , hachidan and hachidan hanshi. They have worked it out for themselves a long time ago.
Herge Sandsleth sent me a great comment saying that I am on my way to becoming the Rob Redmond of kendo. I take that as a compliment, but certainly do not want to be known as the “grumpy old man” of kendo.
Yesterday I attended the official farewell practice for the BKA National Coach, Matsumoto Jumpei, Kyoshi Nanadan and as the Chairman of the BKA, for most of the period that he was with us, was asked to make a speech in his honour. My speeches, like my blog tend to be spontaneous, so I cannot remember my exact words, but I tried to convey the following points.
Matsumoto sensei, has been the ideal role model, not just by invariable showing correct kendo technique but by constantly demonstrating the meaning of kendo through his attitude. He shows humility by always referring to others as sensei, whether or not they deserve the title, if there is any doubt as to seniority – by grade, age or position in the Association, he sits to their left.
His kendo is correct and honest and his attitude in keiko is always 100% committed. “Shinken kendo” best describes the way he approaches keiko with everyone whatever their grade. His fighting spirit is obvious, but he never compromises his posture to avoid being hit and never begrudges a point to his opponent.
I will miss practising with him in the UK, but am sure I will catch up with him the next time I visit his hometown, Kyoto.
Matsumoto sensei okini.