Learn a Unique Japanese Martial Art in Canada


PO Box 116 La Ronge SK S0J 1L0

Session April 6, 2015

Participants: Darren, Kelvin, Chris.

Today, we had a guest participant joining us, to see if he would like to become a member. The session was planned around Fundo Kusari jutsu, and we worked on Ippon-me to Yonhon-me. Metsubushi and kosei uchi were practices against shomenuchi with bokuto, to learn the understand the concept of distance while using the fundo kusari.

In addition, we did quite some exercises on footwork: Balance, placement of the feet as well as proper timing.

Next session has been scheduled for April 14.

Session March 31, 2015

Participants: Darren, Chris.

This session was about 1.5 hours long. We started with reflection on the seminar, and shared tips, adaptations, and exercises that Otsuka-Sensei had shared with each of us. We then briefly discussed a way to setup a “semi-permanent” target stand for use outside. Techniques we trained focused mainly on shuriken-jutsu: shomenuchi from various distances, as well as gyaku-uchi from 1 ken.

We also did a trial run with the online collaboration system, to allow other participants to “virtually” attend our training sessions when they are not available for in-person training in La Ronge. Chris discussed this with Otsuka-Sensei beforehand as an opportunity for connecting our more distant Saskatchewan Keikokai members. The virtual system turns out to only have a delay of about 1/2 of a second, with crystal clear (almost) live video. An excellent way of training together over longer distances, especially when each of us are on the road so often. It does not replace in-person training though, and each member understands the requirement for frequent group training sessions.

Chris also created a training log for each member, consisting of a Moleskine Cahier. In this journal, participants reflect on their training sessions (group training and individual training), document which techniques were trained on, and keep track of their training hours. This was done to allow the minimum training period of 3 months per Kyu level become  meaningful, since there is a difference between a participant training 3 times per week during a 3-month stretch, and a participant who trains once per 2 weeks in the same stretch. We believe the focus is on quality, quantity, and effort combined.


Session March 20, 2015

Participants: Otsuka-Sensei, Chris.

Thank you sensei for a fantastic private session. We worked on 5th and 4th kyu level waza, with Bou-Shuriken, and 3 kata for fundo kusari. Many great teachable moments, lots of great insight.

Looking forward to Saturday and Sunday.

Session March 12, 2015

Present: Darren, Lance, Chris.

Welcome to our latest MSR member, Lance. This 2-hour session was mainly an introduction session for Lance, where many aspects from MSR were explained, demonstrated and reflected on. Closer towards half way of the session, after explaining balance, footwork and the hand grip position, Lance threw a few sets of 5 Bou Shuriken using Shomen-uchi. He did very well, and was really relaxed in his throw, posture, and mindset.

We decided to leave the real introduction for during the seminar. Nevertheless, Lance decided to become a member of MSR Saskatchewan Keikokai.

Session March 6, 2015

This session focused on exploring the first three Fundo Kusari kata: Ippon-me: (一本目), Nihon-me (二本目), and Sanbon-me (三本目). Each of these kata was pulled apart to look at the underlying skills. A soft Fundo Kusari was used for the training to ensure safety.

In addition, Bou Shuriken practice focused on shomen-uchi and gyaku-uchi, following a training pattern that included taking time for each step. For instance, after shifting from chudan no kamae to yodan no kamae, a pauze of 3 seconds was taken to process the kamae and nigiri as well as to allow for self-correction and to promote metacognition for executing the throw without thought.

Next week’s session has been moved from Tuesday to Thursday.

Session February 26, 2015

Present: Darren, Chris (2.5 hour session)

Today, we focused on the gokyu and yonkyu waza.  We spent quite some time on hand grip using different objects, from live blades to ohashi and bamboo skewers. Then we transitioned to Shomen-uchi, keeping proper hand grip and proper kamae. Following direction from Otsuka-sensei, we adjusted footwork for Gyaku-uchi, keeping the right foot forward. Closer to the end of the session, we practiced some za-uchi as well.

Darren adjusted the grip of the Bou-shuriken in his hand, so that they were better balanced. This was the first time he threw his new MSR Shuriken, for which he had to make a few adjustments.

Great session overall.

Session February 24, 2015

Participants: Jay, Chris.

We had a 1 hour session today. We started off with a few rounds of throwing Ohashi. After that, we switched to The focus was foot work, as well as making sure the hip does not extend beyond its rotation point while performing Shomen-uchi. This correction assisted Jay in throwing Bou shuriken straight rather than with a half sideways twist. The adjusted foot work and hip placement was a large step forward for Jay to improving his skills.

Chris worked on Gyaky uchi and Shomen uchi, both from a short distance, making sure each Bou shuriken entered the target properly, without slamming onto the target. The last 50 throws went very well.

The next session is on February 26, already looking forward to it.

Session February 21, 2015

Today’s session was more of a research training, as none of the metal or soft Bou-shuriken were used. After watching the Meifu Shinkage-ryû dvd, training commenced on proper kamae, Gedan no Kamae, Chudan no Kamae, and Jodan no Kamae, as well as practicing foot work.

After that, we did some practicing with Shomen-uchi, using Ohashi and a polystyrene target. That was a lot of fun, and something we will be doing during the sessions coming Monday and Tuesday.

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Session Feb 14, 2015: Fundo Kusari

Fundo Kusari exploration

Training today: – Chris

Another solo session during the weekend, which lasted about 2 hours. The last package we received from Otsuka-Sensei included two plastic training Fundo Kusari, as well as six soft Bou-Shuriken. In addition, the Fundo kusari jutsu Shodan waza dvd  was included. Here is a link on Youtube showing some of the content of the ni-dan dvd. I decided to explore the practice tools for about one hour, in addition to throwing “the daily 10 sets of 5”.

With the soft shuriken, I wanted to understand the flight pattern. I recorded several throws using my iPad to determine the angles of the soft Bou-shuriken while it was in the air. I cannot wait to try the soft shuriken with some of the Keikokai members.

From the Fundo Kusari dvd, I decided to practice the first kata, called Ippon-me. I noticed the importance of the left hand to be in the correct position so that it will not be hit by the weight. It seems and looks easy, but after a few tries, I realized it is more difficult than it looks. Although swinging the fundo kusari without power is not that difficult, returning it to the hand is an interesting challenge. With about one month left before the seminar, I decided to keep further training simple, as I want to let Otsuka-Sensei do most of the correction before it becomes too difficult to unlearn mistakes.

Today I also trained using full MSR dogi: the blue Keikogi I had ordered through Yamato budogu and my Hakama. My old regular hakama from Aikijutsu was too small, but my other more formal Hakama fits really well. I think I will be wearing both from now on for each MSR training session.

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Session Feb 10, 2015

Training today: – Darren, Jay, Chris.

This session lasted close to three hours again, it seems that time accelerates when focusing on shuriken-jutsu. Happily, we had received the package that Otsuka Sensei had sent us (thank you Sensei!), and it included two safety fundo kusari, three sets of bou-shuriken, as well as 6 soft shuriken. We also ordered two dvds covering the fundo kusari waza up to ni-dan level, but we have not had time to look at those dvds.

We started by exploring the soft shuriken and safety fundo kusari, but decided to start practicing those during our Monday evening sessions when we have more space. We then looked at the new bou-shuriken (cut from steel), and compared them to a forged set purchased through Yamato budogu as well as a set that was hand forged by a friend. The new sets are a bit different in style with a different tip, and we think slightly different weight.

We focused again on Shomenuchi, trying out the different bou-shuriken to get to experience the differences in feel, throwing, as well as grip. Each set feels different, and each of us had a preference for one kind.

Continuing from Saturday’s session, the focus was on accuracy. We used the grid pattern on a puzzle mat to focus aim and accuracy of the entry of the bou-shuriken, trying to accomplish an “A” entry, as explained in Shirakami Ikku-Ken Sensei book Shuriken-Do. After a while, we decided to use a traditional MSR target to switch training up a bit.

We also received the German translation of Otsuka-sensei’s book. It is very similar to the Spanish edition, with a few additions here and there (as it is a newer version than the Spanish version). It is  great book and will provide us with lots of content to philosophize about.

This was another great session, thank you everyone for showing so much effort. And… we may have another person interested in joining as well.


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