Kendo Bu Statement – June
In our last communication we asked that dojos continue to cooperate fully with government guidelines and not train together. We also cancelled all national events up to the end of June and recommended that dojos do the same with local activities. Last weekend we met again to discuss our way forward into July and beyond. We remain optimistic that some form of training can restart during the latter half of the year and are keeping the situation under review. Further updates will be provided as and when the situation changes or in early July.
The Kendo BU feels that it is too late for sufficient changes to restrictions to be in place in time for us to go ahead with the Midlands seminar in July and we must therefore cancel it.
We may be able to use the Guildford venue (August) for an alternative national event to restart our calendar but again this will depend on any changes to government guidance during June and July.
We will decide at the end of June based on the situation at that time (Gov advice, Venue and accommodation etc.) about using the Guildford venue. We may also issue guidance at this point on re-starting training in BOGU but will only do this if government guidelines have changed and restrictions have eased sufficiently to make this viable.
The EKF is supportive of our hosting the BKA International seminar in August 2021 with visiting Japanese sensei and an EKF grading to Nanadan.
Latest Government Guidelines for Coaches…
“If you are a personal trainer/coach you can now work with clients outdoors, providing you are meeting no more than 5 other people from outside of your household, outdoors, and you are staying a minimum of 2 metres apart.
You can meet with different clients in a single day as long as it is in gatherings of no more than 6 and you are maintaining social distancing. You should not spend time with anyone not from your household indoors.
You should also enforce strong hygiene measures. This might be cleaning any equipment rigorously in line with wider guidance on hygiene, for example by using antiviral spray and washing hands thoroughly before and after use
Guidance Notes for Coaches/Members:
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the current lockdown we now find ourselves in a situation where some of our members are engaging in remote teaching/coaching. Others may wish to take up communal training outside and we want to encourage this.
We provide the following ‘Strong Recommendations’ as best practice guidelines and the BU and DRC recommends that these are adhered to in order to protect our community.
- In respect of any coaching or instruction that is undertaken remotely or otherwise it is strongly recommended that participants are advised at the commencement of the session:
- that by participating they are doing so at their own risk and must take all suitable/required precautions to ensure a safe environment and safe equipment for all;
- that appropriate footwear is worn, or a suitable floor space is prepared with any potential obstructions/hazards in the vicinity removed before the activity can begin;
- to avoid activities if they have, or suspect they may have any current health concerns or injuries;
- to avoid physical contact with others and comply fully with the most up to date social distancing guidelines;
- In addition, coaches should:
- Take precautions to ensure that sessions are conducted only for the benefit of existing members or contacts who have the competence necessary to participate safely;
- only give instruction on “standard” kendo related activities such as basic warming up and cooling down exercises, suburi/Kukan Datotsu, Kata/Kihon keiko Ho or other elements of Hitori Geiko in which they have some recognised expertise
- make it clear that each individual must take full personal responsibility for carrying out risk assessment for both their surroundings and equipment (including PPE), monitor their own health and wellbeing during the session and take all actions and precautions necessary to comply with the requirements of the coach/leader to keep themselves safe.
Training Approaches Endorsed By the Kendo BU and Kendo DRC at This Time
As we come out of strict lockdown in the UK, we can start to consider how we can resume our Kendo training together…
Kendo Suburi and Kendo Kata can, of course, be conducted in any spacious open area both within and outside of a conventional dojo setting. For example, many of you will have attended outdoor practices with the BKA on the Western seminars (Watchett) where the private lawned areas outside the school were used for Kata training. On a cautionary note some thought must be given to how the public might perceive such training with weapons in a public place and It is important to be sensitive to any concerns raised and not cause nuisance.
Whatever and however we practice we must strive at all times to conform to the prevalent social distancing rules imposed by the government. This restricts group sizes training together to 6 people who must maintain the current 2m distancing rule. To this end you may wish to consider any of the following forms of practice, paying particular attention to the space available, the physical distance between participants and the number of participants present at sessions. Further we recommend that participants when training together wear a tenugui mask (see Zenken Website model) or face mask over their mouth and nose.
Suburi or Kukan Datotsu
Suburi is simple, safe and easy to organise with an experienced Dojo Leader or coach running a session. The layout of the participants and class sizes must be arranged in line with government social distancing rules and the physical space available.
This is more problematic than Suburi since the floor surface or footwear will dictate what is physically possible. Again, social distancing rules will apply. However, there is considerable scope for practising effective, basic or even advanced kendo footwork drills.
Restrictions will, of course, apply to paired kata whether in Kendo no Kata or the Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho formats. The key issue is that normally we have Uchitachi and Shitachi both playing their respective roles inside the current 2m distancing rule.
However, if we take a leaf out of the Iaido discipline whereby the practitioner uses an imaginary opponent, one can see that, with limitations, we can to some extent practice all of the kata forms. This may seem strange to many kendoka, but Kata is often taught one side at a time. It is also very useful to practice kata alone in preparation for a dan grading.
There are two basic methods that can be used as described below: –
Practice all the kata with an imaginary opponent using both Uchitachi and Shitachi forms as required.
Set out kata practice as per normal with Uchitachi and Shitachi facing each other. HOWEVER, instead of nine paces distance add another 2m so that contact is never made between the parties’ bokuto.
This method is an improvement on method 1 since Uchitachi controls the timing and all forms are executed mutually as normal except the bokuto never meet.
This is the most problematic activity and should be avoided at this time as any form of this will contravene the 2m social distancing rule exposing participants to the danger of shouting into each other’s Mens – a sure-fire means of propagating viral transmission. The kendo Bu will consider the best way for us to protect ourselves during paired kihon and keiko and give detailed guidance on this when the guidelines have eased sufficiently to make keiko viable.