6th dan grading in Tokyo

Hi everyone

Well I’m at my hotel after a big day and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t pass my grading. 🙁 Only one of the three Aussies passed, and he lives in Tokyo and trains everyday with the Tokyo Police.  There’s no shame because the number of people has to be seen to be believed! (And most of them failed).

But a post is nothing without some pics so here they are:


The grading gets underway. There were 6 different match areas running simultaneously. Each group of four would line up in succession. I was in area 5, in the 15th group, and was the second person to fight, so my number was 515B. Each of my two matches took just 1 min 15 secs!


A rough video still of my first match. I am on the right. My first opponent was a woman which makes absolutely no difference to how intensely you must fight.


It’s all over. Phew!


This is the front of the Tokyo Budokan in Ayase, in the north east part of Tokyo.  b

Kendo Assignment – 剣は心なり


Your research assignment for this semester is very simple. You are to create a desktop wallpaper or A4 poster that shows something you have learnt about kendo.

The theme is “The sword is the mind.” (The Japanese text is above, in the post header).

High marks will be given to those who create something original, either by their own artwork, or customising images they find on the internet using Photoshop, Paint or some other other digital software. 

High marks will also be given to those who show some original thought regarding the assignment theme: what is your idea of what it means?

If you use someone else’s image you must say where you found it, and this acknowledgment must appear in the artwork.

You can use text and image, or just image, or just text. 

Remember, a good desktop image has some space so that desktop icons can be seen.

Due date is Tuesday 27 October. You may submit it on paper (in class) or email it to me at:

sheppard DOT benjamin DOT s @ edumail DOT vic DOT gov DOT au

Post research feedback – question 3

What was the least successful part?

For me, the worst part was when I started laughing out of embarassment.

When Jasper tried to kill me by making me move into the ongoing match.

The biggest problem was that we didn’t practice our teaching enough.

It just felt weird. Too small webcam.

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Post research feedback – question 2

What was the best part of the part or the best aspect of the web conference?

When I said “men!” (面) and everyone did it.

I believe the best part of the web conference was the mokuso (meditation) and reibowing) because everyone was peaceful giving a good demonstration of kendo. (

The best part was watching the year 10s copy us.

Being able to teach kids who weren’t in front of you.

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Post research feedback – Question 1

Did the web conference with Footscray City College go how you expected? Was it better or worse that you expected? Why?

No, the web conference did not go how I expected. I expected it (the internet connection) to lag and the students would not participate, but it was quite the opposite. They listened really well and it was easy to teach them.

No, because I expected to have a really horrible connection, and (for it) to be really slow. I also expected them (the Footscray students) to be really noisy but in fact we were the noisy ones.

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The first foreigner to do kendo

This gentleman is, or was, F.J.Norman. He was an Englishman born in India in the late 1850s and he ended up in Japan in the 1890s, during the period now known as the Meiji Restoration. It was then that he learned kendo. He wrote a book which was recently re-published called “The Fighting Man of Japan“. In it describes his experiences learning kendo and jujutsu at a time when very few foreigners had ever visited Japan let alone learned Japanese martial arts. At this time, Japan had only just re-opened its doors to foreigners after 250 years of being a closed country under the Tokugawa Shogunate. And although the samurai had been ‘disbanded’, it was only a few years earlier they had been wearing the daito or two swords that were a symbol of their status.

The picture shows Norman on the left and his teacher, Umesawa sensei on the right.

You can also read Kendo World editor Alex Bennett’s account of tracing FJ Norman’s living descendents here.

Dear Mr Sheppard and everybody else…

The capital city of Indonesia at night

Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia

I’m in Jakarta right now, in a place called Rasuna, between Kuningan and Senayan. I’m doing fine, I found an international school (BINUS simprug) that has an Australian standard and curriculum (Im year 9 now so, I learned a few new and old stuff, surprinsingly I’m the top of my class in Maths), it has 9 floors (9 lifts and 6 pair of stairs, getting between classes has been hard), it is expensive but, the best of all it has a lot of electives (Tommorow is the audition and I’m going to pick tech gaming or culture through animation which will gain me access to Japan in 2010!)

Yesterday, there was an earthquake, 7.3 in the richter scale, the whole class were panicking but, no damage or casualties were done.

My classmates have been very friendly to me (except for most of the girls, they always disregard the boys) and most of the time talk among themselves and sometimes asked what Australia was like. Once, some guy asked me if I was studying kendo, I replied “yes”, but I don’t have a grade yet”. Since then, I was searching for a kendo club nearby, but could only find Gunpla making lessons (see my facebook album for my own made Gunpla 🙂 ). As I was interested, I asked my cousin that likes to make Gunplas to teach me. He taught me over 1 night and i was happy about it. My first one was “HAZEL II”, then I made “105 Slaughter Dagger” now I already bought “Blue destiny II” (Search it up on http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/) which I will make this weekend.

I have been more active in doing these things to fill up my free time, before I had found a school it was boring days with nothing to do because, about 2 months ago I lost my usb with the latest Michael’s death* on it :(((((

Enough about me, how’s everybody, their achievements, their works. Any changes since I left? I felt like Khoi somehow forgot me and thought I was a “spam-mailer”. Anyway I would like to hear from you guys.


[*  I’m pretty sure this is the title of one of Aga’s animations… at least I hope so! :/ –Mr Sheppard ]

Half-way: how do you think our first web-conference with another school will go?


It should be great.

Hopefully eventful and a fun-filled experience.

It will be very good for schools across the globe.

I think that the web conference will be an enjoyable experience and will be successful because I am confident in everyone’s ability.

To tell you the truth, I reckon the web conference won’t be half as good as what we hope it will be. I assume it will lag a bit, which will make it harder to teach and listen.

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