SKC3 – Sydney Kendo Club Friendship Cup
It was an awesome day!
The last Saturday of February saw the inaugural SKC3 Friendship Cup finally arrive! Hosted by Sydney Kendo Club, “the threes” was a team event. How it ran was simple. Each team had three players. One of those players had to be a kyu grade. That kyu grade would be in position 1 in the team. The way most teams were structured (not all, as one or two I think had two kyu grades and one dan grade) was kyu, dan, dan. This meant that one match would be kyu vs kyu.
So, the day started with registration and shinai inspection. It was extraordinary as to how many people were there.
As mentioned in an earlier post, there were over 100 people registered for this event. A variety of clubs were represented; they hailed from Sydney and Canberra in the main. Sydney Kendo Club, ANU Kendo Club, University of Sydney Kendo Club and UNSW Kendo Club are three examples of those who attended.
Once registration was complete and the opening ceremony was complete, the day moved to what proved to be a highlight. Balloon keiko. The following picture probably explains it all.
In short, each kendoka had to “pop” their opponent’s balloon.
Once balloon keiko had finished, the day progressed to the U-16s individuals and then onto the Open team events. As mentioned earlier, the teams were three in number, with at least one kyu grade player. This player had to fill the first position in the team. As a kyu grade, this was an excellent opportunity to expand my shiai experience.
I had a great team. Cross Sensei and his wife and me. Someone described it as a “dream team” – well, for me definitely. I hope I was not a third wheel for the others! Our first match was against a team from ANU. It was great. I drew. I was happy with that but annoyed that the number of men and kote cuts were not awarded. That came down to two things: my own zanshin and the fact that I was slightly slower than my opponent. The way it was described to me was that I needed to be slightly quicker in making contact with my target before my opponent could start to deflect. Not to worry. I finished my first match of the day with a sense of “job well done”.
Our team went through to round two. Here we played a team from the University of Sydney. I was warned that my opponent was quick. My advice was not ill-conceived. Very quickly I learnt that my opponent, who was as big as I am, could move extremely fast. It was going to be a long three minutes. The bout wore on and eventually I provided an opening. My opponent took it and… whack! A men cut found its mark. During the course of this match, I tripped and fell onto my back. I am not sure how it happened. I think we were both going for a men cut and collided with each other – I ended up second best. I was fine but a little embarressed. As I got up, I felt my foot. It was sore. Something was up. I walked gingerly back to the starting lines and recommenced play. The bout finished shortly after that. I went down 1-0. I was going to enter the next match with an injured foot. (I have been told by a physiotherapist friend that it was a mid-foot sprain).
On the strength of my team mates performance (a draw and a tie-break win), the team went through to the next round. Round 3 saw us up against a team from ANU. Now, these guys went through to the final round which explained the strength of their performance. I lost 2-0. This did not bode well. Certainly the following two matches indicated that we were not destined for anything further than Round 3. Both Crosses went down in their respective rounds. All the matches were excellent, I thought. I wonder if I had not sprained my foot whether I would have done better. Not to worry. Our team went out in the third round and it was a good feeling to get that far.
On top of that, I had a number of different compliments. I was really pleased with that. People told me that my kendo was good, that I moved well on the court and that I had great seme and kiai. The common (constructive) criticism was the issue with zanshin. Absolutely! I couldn’t agree more. It will be something I look at this year.