The 2014 European Jodo Championships were held in Turin, Italy over the weekend of the 12th – 14th September. The ZNKR delegation consisted of Arai Sensei (hanshi 8th dan), Kurogo Sensei (hanshi 8th dan) and Yasumaru Sensei (kyoshi 8th dan). A trio of warm hearted, highly demanding, relentless teachers! To quote Arai Sensei (translated by Andy Watson) “Let’s train until we laugh our heads off!”. Of course, it felt more like until our arms fell off…

Friday afternoon was a free training session where the European high-grades were lined up and the remaining jodoka were able to queue up and take turns training with them. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to train with some of the highest ranking teachers around, and some other Sensei I hadn’t had the pleasure of training with before. I hope this style of training becomes a regular feature.

The Saturday seminar was also really great training, divided into grade groups. Many more people than the Friday, it was a great opportunity to meet and train with jodoka friends from across Europe. We focussed on basics, and boy was it hard work! Looking over to the other groups, it looked like everyone was working very hard indeed.

Sunday was competition day. The 3-person team event was first but unfortunately, despite our best efforts, Stojanka Vidinic, Kristina Poslusna and I were unable to get through the pools stages. We were drawn against the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden (who went on to take gold) so a tough fight indeed!

The individuals provided better results, with Al Colebourn and Stojanka Vidinic winning bronze in the 5th dan division and Carlos Xilotl being awarded ‘Fighting Spirit’ in the 3rd dan division. Mohammad Kadiwal, EJC first-timer, won bronze in the 0-dan division, with me as his tachi partner. Well done team GB!

The standard righ across Europe is very high indeed and it was a privilege to be able to meet, compete against, socialise, eat, drink and laugh with such talented and dedicated individuals.

The catering and accommodation were really first-class, sincere thanks to the Confederazione Italiana Kendo, and all their helpers, for their bar-raising hosting efforts.

Also many thanks to Andy Watson for his tireless translation throughout the seminar and to the others who stepped in to help out when Andy was otherwise engaged.

Will Heal, September 2014, London.


(C) Mohammad Kadiwal

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