It is always good to come back home from the annual QKR summer seminar and grading, as it forms a well punctuated stop to the formal “away” committments we have for the year. This of course gives us an opportunity to reflect on the year past, and the achievements attained in that time.
This seminar brought both success and opportunities to extend our knowledge in equal measure. The headline is that both Kateena and Sean successfully challenged for 2Kyu in Kendo and I was able to pass 2Dan in Iaido. Kateena in particular was impressive in managing to receive a double grade from a panel that was reluctant to award them.
There were many highlights this year, including seeing Kuramochi Sensei from Cairns for the first time in a number of years, Itakura Sensei showing the value of continually learning by successfully challenging for his first Iaido grading, and the first Jodo session held at a seminar in many years — and we can only hope for more on all those fronts! Many thanks to the tireless efforts of all those who were responsible for the organisation and execution of the weekend, especially Tom Sensei and Tamura Sensei, Dale for managing the reception desk, and Dave F for his efforts sorting the grading registrations table. Thanks too for all senior sensei who formed grading panels, and all sempai in motodachi and marshalling roles.
As always, we also enjoyed a marvellous weekend away, with Sian and Tracy coming with us from Toowoomba, and Tamara waving the Gin Gin flag. What I love about the QKR community is the genuine friendliness and heartfelt camaraderie expressed by everyone there. It is a joy to be part of such a welcoming and supportive group, and a space where we are all positively helping to improve our own practice and facilitate the improvements in others. And a special mention goes to the Air BnB accomodation, which managed to throw up a spectacular view, comfy beds, and a wonderfully appointed kitchen space to cook in.
We certainly missed our absent friends, in particular Minty, off getting married in Japan, Maaike, attending her sister’s wedding (seems to be the season), and Matt, having been told to cultivate pinapples, unable to make it to the other end of the State for the occasion. What brings their absence into focus is of course their presence twelve months ago, and the contributions made, particularly by Minty, to the success enjoyed by Kateena and Sean.
So onwards to next year! On this trajectory, I would fully hope for a crop of 1DANs across Kendo and Iaido by the time I write up the 2019 seminar report. And with luck we may see the numbers attending from the BBRD diaspora increase. It will be a year of solid work ahead of us, but something that everyone has more than amply demonstrated their capacity for.