20th Anniversary

On Saturday, August 25th the Saskatoon Kendo Club celebrated its 20th anniversary. About 60 people enjoyed the beautiful summer day. The master of ceremonies was Doug Agnew. Speeches were given by Hiroaki Izumi, (one of the two original members), myself (along with Doug, the oldest member after Izumi) and Miyaoka-sensei. Sumiko Asai formally served tea. Ohmi-sensei then demonstrated tameshigiri and iaido, followed by a kendo kata demonstration from Lance Wall and I. Next hono-jiai (matches to honour the occasion) were held between Koichi Izumi and Kevin Mack, and Michi Miyamoto and Treena Zdunich. Lance and I gave a jigeiko demonstration. After the matches and demonstrations, prizes were presented to the hono-jiai participants and gifts to the demonstrators. Ohmi-sensei presented a certificate on behalf of the CKF. Eleanor Shia presented a plaque on behalf of the Heritage Chinese Language School. The Saskatoon, Manitoba and Regina kendo clubs presented Miyaoka-sensei with a sword in honour of his 20 years of service. The saki barrel was formally wacked open, and Juhachi Asai led us all in a toast. Finally Mr. Mitamura of Hitachi Canadian Industries said a few words and led us all in sanbon-jime (traditional three claps). We all enjoyed a marvelous meal courtesy of the Japanese Cultural Association, as well as a few beverages. In the evening a slide show was presented showing the 20 years of club history.

The next day, about 30 people participated in a 3-hour practice that included kendo kata, an introduction to seitei iai and jigeiko. Ohmi-sensei showed us all what having good centre means, as his kensen was on our mune or nodo constantly.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. Thanks to the Canadian Kendo Federation, Hitachi Canadian Industries and the Saskatoon Japanese Cultural Association for their sponsorship of this event. Thanks also to Ohmi-sensei for taking the time to come out and celebrate with us. Thanks to members of the Manitoba Kendo Club and Regina Kendo Club who travelled considerable distances to celebrate with us. And thanks most of all to Miyaoka-sensei, who single-handedly is responsible for kendo in Saskatchewan. He has donated his time and effort for 20 years, and we are all grateful for it.

- Neil Gendzwill