School’s back this week ...

It always feels like an official end to holidays when primary and secondary schools go back for the new year. I wanted to take this opportunity to send best wishes to everyone who is undertaking new beginnings and new jobs as of today (particularly Brady and Matt G), to those like Tracy and Kristin who are back to the regular schedule of VET study,  those like Travis whose children are back at school,  to those like Sara who are back to work after a well earned and well utilised break, and of course to those who have already been back to the regular grind of work for some time now. 

With Holy Name Catholic Primary School back today, we are likewise back to setting up and packing away the training surface each night, and not being able to enter the MEAC until after the last child attending the Extend After School program has left. However, could I ask that you still try to get to the dojo before 6 pm so that we can start classes promptly at 6.15 pm.  

We will also need to revisit the roster for regular cleaning of the MEAC toilets, and maintenance of our portion of the storage area. I will be making a post next week regarding that once we have a little more clarity about its scheduling. 

So have a productive and engaging week ahead, and as always, I’ll look forward to seeing you at training! 

Reminder: Get Going this Tuesday

Go officially kicks off for the year tomorrow lunchtime at the USQ Toowoomba Refectory (R-block) at 12.30pm. 

Look for the Club’s Go banner, bring (or purchase) some lunch and come and place some stones! We are expecting Horatio Davis, President of the Queensland Go Society, to be in attendence to deliver some generously donated equipment and give us some tips on play. 

Now is a great time to slake your curiosity if you have never played, or to improve your skills. I am wanting to encourage Club members to be a little more active in Go events here in Southeast Queensland this year, and to all work together to improve our understanding of the intricacies of play. Hope to see you there!

Kicking off the Go year in the right kind of way

Just wanted to let everyone know that as we return to the regular school year next week, I will also start to set up the Go boards every Tuesday in the refectory, starting from from Tuesday 23 January.  

This Tuesday coming we shall be kicking things off well, as we shall be receiving a visit from Queensland Go Society President, Horatio Davis. Horatio will be delivering a number of boards and sets of stones to the Club kindly donated by QGA, of which BBRD is a Chapter Club. 

The session will run from 12.30 till 2 pm, and include some tutorials on game play provided by Horatio.  

It would be great to see some of the old players come along for the session, and if you ever thought of placing some stones, it would be a great opportunity to start!

“Give it a go” for Kendo, Saturday 24 February

I’m excited to announce that the Club will be progressing with plans to tie in a community muster and regional kyu grade for Kendo to be held on Saturday 24 February.  

The event is designed to give the University and broader Toowoomba community a better idea of what good kendo looks like, and provide and opportunity for adults and kids to try it out. This is in conjunction with the QKR’s desire to see more children participate in kendo, including the Queensland Governement’s Get Started Voucher system, which the Club will be registering for. 

We have received enthusiastic support from senior kendo practitioners who will be making their way up the Hill to provide a demonstration of kendo and sit on the grading panel. We will be locking in arrangements this week to secure a venue for the event so that we can start to advertise it more widely. 

Keep an eye out on the Club Facebook page, and the website for more information this week, and I will provide an update in next week’s bulletin! 

Great start to the year!

I wanted to express my thanks to everyone who has participated this week past to kick off what has been a great start to the year. 

I believe that Tuesday night’s Keiko Hajime, the seventh that we have held at the MEAC, has set a wonderful tone, with ten of us sharing both our passion for the Arts and a light supper afterwards. I look forward to help putting into action some of the training resolutions expressed at that event. 

The Yaguchi sensei seminar on Saturday was just as valuable as last year’s session, with many new insights to commit to practice. Tracy and I will certainly be reviewing what we learned over the coming Thursdays. As always, it was great to have the opportunity to train Kendo at the Kenshinkai that morning, and also for me to have a long overdue Arnis training opportunity and catch up with Don Ouellete sensei the night before. Certainly things to work on leading up to the grading opportunity towards the end of the year. Well done to Sean T for his first training session under John Isaacs sensei, and to Kateena for driving everyone down in the morning. 

A couple of thing going forward this week. First, we have been given in-principal support for our proposed community Kendo “give it a go” day and regional kyu grading, which we have pencilled in for the 24th of February. It will require some coordinated work for Club members to make the most of that opportunity, but I relish the challenge to have things ready for Orientation Week.   

Second, HNCPS ought to have arranged for a cleaning of the MEAC floor by today (Monday). If folk training jujutsu on Tuesday night could come as close to 5.45pm as they can, we can reset to training space quickly and keep the mats down for the next fortnight until school goes back for the new year on the 22nd of January.  

Finally, FlexiFit will be held in K201, Toowoomba campus of USQ for the remainder of this year. The decision to shift location has been partially driven by the increase in rental costs for the MEAC, and in part by a desire to engage more with the University community. We will be starting a little earlier (5.45 pm), and please bring a towel/yoga mat if you have one. We will be getting a few spare together for those that need them, but numbers will be limited. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead, and, as always, I’ll look forward to seeing you at training! 

Kenjutsu workshop (23 Dec. 2017)

The first BBRD kenjutsu workshop occurred on the 23rd of December of last year.   It was attended by several members of kendo, iaido and jodo, and covered a selection of basic sword techniques from each discipline.

Everyone had a chance to don kendo armour and have a go at giving full strikes to opponents (kendo), work on their sword drawing techniques (iaido), and practice one-on-one sword striking and defence techniques (jodo).  Hopefully everybody came away from the workshop with an appreciation of the other sword arts and with ideas of how to improve their own skills.

If you missed the workshop, don't worry there will be others throughout the year...stay tuned for future announcements.


Happy New Year everyone!

Toowoomba is currently quiet and cloudy, and I hope everyone has a chance to feel rested after what has for many folk been a quite intense year just passed.  

The week between Christmas and New Year always feels a little dislocating, as we abandon the regular routines of work, study and training and dust off the well trod rituals of family and friends over this time. We notice the absence of people as keenly as revel in the fresh connections made with those dear to us, and try to imagine the opportunities and challenges of the year ahead.  

I want to wish everyone all the best with the year ahead, to recognise opportunities that present and rise to the challenges that come with that.  

We have a few thing already locked in for this coming year, and a few things still yet to plan. First up is the official start to our training year tomorrow evening. Keiko hajime will commence at 6 pm sharp. However, I would ask that everyone who can please come at 5 pm to help give the dojo a clean down and be ready to commence on time. We shall have some rice cakes and tea for supper afterwards. 

Second is the Iaido seminar this Saturday (6 January) at Kenshinkai with Yaguchi Sensei. We have an opportunity to train kendo before hand, so those wishing to participate, please keep an eye out of the Kendo & Iaido @BBRD Facebook group for details. We will talk about this tomorrow night as well.  

Among the other things we will be settling in the next few weeks are the proposed Kendo taikai and Kyu grading opportunity, USQ Orientation Week activities, regular trips to train with senior Sensei, and a few necessary changes to the timetable for classes. 

So onwards from here, and as always I’ll look forward to seeing you at the dojo! 

End of the training year

This Saturday will be the last formal training for 2017, and I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the year that was and to wish all of you a happy, safe and enjoyable break until we reconvene on January 2.  

First to procedural matters. This Saturday, we will be holding a joint sword-arts training session where we can explore the commonalities between kendo, iaido and jodo. We will be training from 10 am–12 pm and sharing a light lunch to formalise “keiko yame” afterwards. Everyone who is currently practicing or is interested in these disciplines is most welcome to attend, and everyone is cordially invited to share lunch to mark keiko yame. Please let me know directly if you are intending to be there or respond to the Facebook event so that we can cater appropriately. 

Keiko Hajime will be from 5 pm Tuesday 2 January. We will start as we always do with a cleaning of the dojo and, most importantly, our training surfaces. We will then share a vignette from each of the disciplines participating to kick off the training year. The MEAC is scheduled for an industrial floor clean on Monday 8 January, so we will need to pack away our training surface on Thursday 4 January. I will be sending out reminders to everyone closer to that time. 

Second, I wanted to provide some closing comments for the year.  

As 2017 draws to a close, we have clocked up nine years as a formal organisation. When we founded the Club at the end of 2008, we primarily saw it as a vehicle to promote and practice Kendo with the intention of supporting the development of a University Games presence, and for me to teach some Jujutsu. It rapidly expanded to include many other disciplines as right from the start we generated significant member interest in exploring all types of martial arts, and at that time there were no University/Guild based Clubs to cater for that. While we have retreated from a high water mark of actively supporting 16 disciplines and activities, we continue to pursue our charter to support the teaching and practice of quality martial arts delivered by experienced and appropriately qualified instructors. 

This year has seen a consolidation of what we teach and some significant changes to those who are currently part of our community. We have seen familiar faces leaving Toowoomba for fresh adventures, some who have had to take breaks from the dojo due to a variety of personal reasons, and the late return of some old faces after extended absences. We have also been gifted with new members, particularly in Kendo, who have rapidly become indispensable in a very short period of time. To all of you, I hope that 2018 brings challenge and success in whichever fields you are pursuing. And to those that might find the tyranny of geography a tough ask to overcome with respect to regular training— remember that you will never be strangers; that you will always be welcome here when in town; and that I will look forward to opportunities in the new year to catch up either at seminars or training trips. 

With regard to more personal stories, I would Iike to make a few specific mentions:  Matt G gloriously embodied the notion of “burn out, not fade out” this year. As a last act of honour/madness this year, he successfully challenged for 5KYU in Jujutsu, on top of his successful challenges at 1KYU for both Kendo and Iaido 10 days before. After a particularly punishing year for him both physically and professionally, it was immensely satisfying to see him rise to the task on Thursday evening. I hope he can be as proud of his achievements as I am, satisfied in the knowledge of job well done and spurred on to keep improving over the coming years. 

Tracy Campbell has been an absolute bedrock for the Club this year. Tracy has shown amazing tenacity in just simply showing up and training, and for coordinating the regular cleaning of the MEAC. She had easily logged up the greatest number of training sessions throughout the year, and has been at the MEAC week in and week out to help provide as best an environment as we can manage in a shared facility. While the cleaning may often seem as a thankless task, I wanted to publicly say how appreciated her constancy has been. This has been in the face of some significant personal challenges she has had to deal with this year, and again, I cannot undersell how proud I have been to see her successes this year, including grading to 2KYU in Iaido. 

Eric Tavenner requires mention for his dogged determination to improve the processed of the Club. As a volunteer organisation, BBRD at times can feel like it is help together by good wishes and bluetac. We do well given the specialised interest that traditional, adult-focused, martial arts represents, but of course, we can always improve our processes. I look forward to building on the progress that we have made this year, especially as we are faced with some exciting potential opportunities for growth and change in the new year. 

Sian Carlyon has likewise has a challenging year personally, with unwellness, surgery and the passing of her mother unfortunately punctuating this year. In spite of this, she successfully graded to 1KYU in Iaido this year, and has an opportunity to potentially reach shodan in both Iaido and Kendo in the year ahead. Sian has always been a backstop for me personally, and I will look forward to her continued input and effort in the New Year. 

Kateena Martin requires mention for the enthusiasm with which she has thrown herself into the Club. She initially started in Kendo, but after leaping at the opportunity to come and participate at this year’s IBF Brisbane training day, she has again rapidly become in integral part of the Club. Kateena has seemingly developed a habit to launch into the unknown often without the support of other “newbies” to share the experience with, so as to at least soften the challenge. In doing so, she has certainly embodied the “give it a go” spirit that the Club was founded on, culminating in her double grading this year in Kendo to 5KYU. Along with Minty Ma— whose presence in Kendo I have truly appreciated; and Tracy, Kateena represents all I would hope for members of the Club, positivity, curiosity, tenacity and reliability. Quite well deserving of the “A-team” moniker that Sara has coined for the trio. 

And to all others in the Club, I would like to wish you a wonderful year ahead. For many of you, this year has met out both significant challenge along with the successes you have experienced. Please know that as a community, we are all here to provide what support we can to lessen the former, and make the latter more possible. I have found great inspiration in all of your journeys this year, and hope to continue my own pursuit of challenge knowing that everyone’s individual success is indeed of collective benefit in a Club such as ours. 

2018 does hold some uncertainty for the Club. With the rise in rental cost at the MEAC there will inevitably have to be changes to the way we train compared with how we have done so over the past five years. Whether this is a change to times we train or venue, we will continue to work towards providing the best opportunity for instruction in high quality traditional martial arts and related activities. But as always, we shall forge ahead and be true to the core values we state in our dojo kun: Integrity • Perseverance • Compassion. 

So finally, whatever you are doing over the next twelve months, I sincerely wish you a rousing cry of “ganbatte!” and I will certainly look forward to training opportunities with you in the New Year, either in our regular classes or when we get to catch up at State and National events!

Farewell Dave and Lauren!

As this will be the last Budo Bulletin till the new year, I just wanted to wish Dave Johnson and Lauren Ole all the best with their impending relocation to Hobart. Both have been long time friends and supporters of the Club and we will certainly miss them both within the Club context and as part of the broader Toowoomba community. 

As part of the move, Dave is selling some of his exercise equipment, particularly his kettlebells. If you are interested in seeing what is on offer, please contact Dave directly at

Kenjutsu Workshop

Just a reminder that the kenjutsu workshop is this Saturday (23 December) starting at 9 am at the MEAC.  It is open to all BBRD members involved with the sword arts, including practitioners of iaido, jodo and kendo. The workshop is immediately followed by the keiko yamae.

Hope to see everyone there.