Répáshuta 2013 spring

When I was asked to write a small piece about my first Kendo Seminar – I didn’t know where to begin. If I chose to focus on any single aspect: the training, the village or the camaraderie

I would leave out a huge portion of what it meant to attend.


So instead I focused on the amalgamation of all these things and I decided to tell the story of how it all began…

Nestled in the fog-shrouded mountains of northern Hungary there is an idyllic village where life moves at a slower pace. The early morning air is brisk and the single neighborhood pub serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Scenic hiking trails and age-old pines form the backdrop from which picturesque habitations spring; this is truly a land for fairytales.

The cold evening air is crisp in my lungs as we arrive on Friday evening - coming down a winding mountain path through the mist. Tamas (My Sensei and friend) had been driving for hours but still maintained his joviality and sense of excitement; Our conversation flicking between my very poor Hungarian and his rusty but eminently understandable English: “We’re here!” he exclaimed “Come – we go make the Keiko!” We parked the car around the corner off the main and almost only street in town, grabbed our uniforms and Shinai and headed down the dusky road toward the Gymnasium as we approached we could hear the still mountain air split by the repeated cries of the Bugeisha, their strikes ringing out in perfect time with their feet hitting the wooden dojo floor.


As we approached the threshold my palms became sweaty and I was suddenly unconvinced of my worthiness to be here – all the players I saw were in full Bogu and clearly far more advanced than I. I don’t know if Tamas saw or sensed my nerves, but he told me not to worry, and that I would find a training partner soon enough. I watched as he buckled on his Men – turning from gentle giant to imposing Kendoka and disappeared toward the Instructor side of the room.


I turned toward the other side and looked, only to notice that in my first instance I had overlooked a number of other students just like me – in various states of armor and both with and without Hakama. I walked down and within moments found myself surrendering to the flow of the Keiko (training) Starting with Kirikaeshi (Choreographed Practice) followed by Kakarigeiko (Attack Practice) followed by Jigeiko (Free Practice) and I learned to relax and enjoy myself – the movement of my sword becoming part of me.

Before I know it the training ends and I am approached by one of the fully armored warriors who were kind enough to practice with me. “Jó volt” (good job) they said  “Nagyon Köszönöm” (Thank you very much) I replied I could see their eyes gleaming with good humor behind the protective slats of the facemask. “Ah – where are you from?” they replied - my Hungarian clearly strangely accented – “Never mind” they interjected “We can go over that at the pub…”


by Kellen Bonnafoux

2013. június 01., szombat
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A Szegedi Kendó Egyesület honlapja - 2007.
Az oldal fenntartója a Szabad Szoftver Egyesület