Posts Tagged ‘Terry Holt sensei’

Mumeishi 3s43Next weekend we will host the 43rd Mumeishi 3s competition, the first without its founder Terry Holt sensei. Terry always put an enormous amount of effort into organising this taikai, so this year the members of Mumeishi kendo club have had to step up to the mark and make an even greater effort than in the past to gets things ready for the event. We start on Friday evening to set out the stands, put out the banners and mark the courts and the work of running the taikai continues until the last visitors return home on Sunday afternoon.

I am sure that those of you who have been involved in organising kendo competitions will know the hard work starts a long time before the event. This year one individual in particular, Mark Krull took on the massive tasks of publicising the event, registering the competitors, organising the draw and producing the programme. Other members have recruited sponsors, organised food and refreshments, arranged the after event party and taken on the numerous other tasks that go to making an enjoyable competition.

This year we are expecting 64 teams , forty entrants for the ladies competition and forty five juniors for The Terry Holt Junior Championship, which has been renamed in Terry’s memory. We are anticipating some great shiai and some excellent keiko on Sunday when we open up the hall at 9.30 for an all morning keiko session, Those who have to leave early, can start early, and anyone that might have celebrated a little too hard at Saturday’s sayonara party  can join us later.

I am looking forward to the weekend with slightly mixed feelings. The “3s” is always a one of the highlights of my kendo year, but it will be strange not to have Holt sensei there . I only hope that all our visitors enjoy themselves and that this and future Mumeishi 3’s live up to Terry’s high standards. We will certainly do our best and when it’s over raise a glass to Holt sensei.

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Terry Holt sensei

TerryWe are taking a break from our usual blog post this week to reflect on the loss of a long-time kendo friend and mentor who passed away last Monday. Terry Holt sensei’s cremation will take place on:

Saturday 31st January 2015 at 11:30 am

South West Middlesex Crematorium, Hounslow Road, Hanworth, Feltham, Middlesex. TW13 5JH

This will be followed by a Celebration of Terry’s life which will be held from 1.00 pm onwards at:

The Concert Hall, Cranford Community College, High Street, Cranford, Middlesex. TW5 9PD

Details can be found at:


The family have asked that instead of flowers, a donation be made to Hammersmith Hospital/Imperial College for continued research using the link below:


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Mumeishi 3s, 2014

Mumeishi 3s, 2014

We just finished another Mumeishi 3s Taikai. This year’s event was held with slightly mixed emotions its  founder and driving force, Terry Holt sensei was unable to attend as he is undergoing tests in hospital.

It was never in doubt that the taikai would go-on with or without Holt sensei attending, as so many people look forward to this annual event. Thanks to the efforts of the Mumeishi members guided by Emiko Yoshikawa and Paul Budden sensei’s organising skills as Tournament Director, the competition ran like clockwork. My own contribution as shinpan-cho was greatly assisted by the two shinpan shunin Michel Guentleur from France and Chris Maes from Belgium.

Although a friendly family event, it is not easy to manage as in effect, there are three competitions run on the same day. In addition to a mixed grade, 3 person team competition, there are ladies’ individual matches and 4 separate age categories for children; the youngest being judged on hantei and the older groups performing sanbon shobu.

With competitors from a wide range of ages and technical abilities, and a register-on-the day policy for the kids, there are always a few surprises, but we always seems to glide swanlike to a successful conclusion in line with the planned finishing time.  It is interesting that a loosely connected group of amateur enthusiasts who rarely work together can instantly turn into a high performing team. The obvious conclusion is that we all love what we are doing.

The second part of the event is much simpler- we have a monster 2 hour godo-geiko on Sunday morning which people are free to join or leave as and when they wish, to fit in with hangovers or travel schedules. As a motodachi without a plane to catch, my own keiko invariably runs for the whole two hours. I am sure that I will feel the effects tomorrow, but it will be well worth it. It’s always good to have a chance to practice with new people or those that you rarely meet, and with competitors from Belgium, Denmark, France, Russia, Israel, Ireland plus friends from other parts of the UK; it was an interesting session.

Of course there is a lot to look forward to next year, both with domestic and international kendo and I am hoping to take part in a number of events, however I am already looking forward to next year’s Mumeishi 3s, hopefully with Holt sensei back in charge.

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Mumeishi-History13I enjoy my Sunday Morning keiko at Mumeishi dojo, particularly when Holt sensei takes the Kihon practice. It means that with the exception of deciding what to eat for breakfast and whether to buy my wife a copy of the Sunday newspaper before or after keiko, I do not have to think.

Even when I am leading the training, it does not take a great deal of conscious consideration, because we have done most of the routines so many times they have become second nature, but it is even more comforting to position myself in the usual corner of the dojo and be taken through a familiar routine without any thought for what comes next.

This combination of Sunday morning lethargy and someone else calling the shots is my ideal antidote to the hectic work week and the preliminary session of repetitive kihon training sets me up for the following jigeiko by taking me to a state where I rely on ingrained technique rather than planning how to deal with each opponent.

I have jokingly suggested that the ideal kendoka should have the stamina of an endurance athlete, exceptional leg and core body strength, lightning fast reactions and an IQ of not more than 80. In reality I believe that it is more a question of temperament than intelligence, but it is true that some of my obviously brainy friends do occasionally tie themselves in knots by too much analysis.

Today one of our Japanese members mentioned that he was having trouble hitting my men. It was difficult to see why, as he has great kihon and posture, very strong kihaku and good timing, but then he confessed to thinking too hard about each attack. For some reason the harder you think about a technique the more difficult it becomes use it. The best thing is to do any analysis outside the dojo in the comfort of your home, favourite bar, or coffee shop and to spend your dojo time practicing with minimal consciousness.

As we have discussed before on numerous occasions, the only way of combatting the Four Sicknesses (Shikai) of surprise, fear, doubt and hesitation is to make or take your opportunity and then to attack with total commitment. The only way to gain the ability to do this is from regular, hard, intense kihon geiko.

We strive in kendo to achieve rin-ki-o-hen , the state in which we are instantly able to react to opportunities and changes in our opponent. For most of us this remains an ongoing quest. Nevertheless the ability to put the conscious brain on hold however occasionally is both good for our kendo and our lives outside the dojo.

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