Mr. Jim DeBrecht MISSOURI USA
I first met Koki Abe sensei several years ago when he visited St. Louis while he was studying in the states. He would always give me and my friends pointers at taikai. I was surprised to see him at the Nabeshima Cup in April of 2009 since he had already moved back to Japan. It turned out that he was just in the states for a short visit but managed to fit in some kendo. So when I visited Tokyo at the end of the year I decided to look him up. He invited me to his dojo and warned me that his sensei was strong. I was not disapointed!
Iwanami-sensei impressed me right away. We started off with men suburi, he corrected my posture and told me my abs were too relaxed. He started talking about and striking each strike like I meant it. Making each and every strike as if it would be my last became the theme of the class for me.
Iwanami-sensei pushed me all through practice and at the end talked to me about the spirit of kendo, while Abe-sensei translated. Iwanami-sensei talked about how kendo isn’t a sport, but a martial art and that each strike should kill and not just be swung. He talked about the importance of working on kihon and basic ‘men. It really struck me when he said that these basics could get you all the way to go-dan.
I really like how Iwanami-sensei took the time to explain things at the end of the class. It stuck with me and I continued to think about the meaning of martial arts when I went back to the U.S.A. About a month later we had a sensei visit our dojo in St. Louis and I felt like I began to recognize the significance of the lessons Iwanami-sensei was teaching me in Japan.
Thank you Iwanami-sensei and Abe-sensei for inviting me to your dojo and showing me around. I’d really like to come back again and train with you longer next time.