Holiday Party - December 18, 2005:

2005 Samurai Christmas PartyBob and his wife very graciously opened their new home to the club for celebrating the annual Samurai Christmas video extravaganza.



Kendo & ZNKR Iaido Celebration (Houston, TX) - November 4, 2005:

Joe and Rose were at the Budokan the first Friday of November for training in ZNKR iaido and kendo kata. At the end of class, Sensei Craig announced that it was time for our friend, supporter, and sempai, Mark Kerstein, to move from the position of hatamoto to the position of sensei. This was a surprise to us and to Mark, too, and it was a great joy to share the special moment especially with a toast after class.

 Sensei Mark KersteinThe position of hatamoto is a tradition still observed by the Chiba dojos. The title is reserved for the senior student or students who have a special place to sit or stand in a lineup and who are responsible for calling the class to order. There are other significant duties and responsibilities associated with this position of honor beyond simply keeping everyone organized.

Mark has been a student of Sensei Craig for 22 years and more than deserves the honor of being sensei (instructor). Mark currently holds the rank of yondan in kendo and sandan in ZNKR iaido from the AUSKF. He also holds the rank of godan from the Hokushin Kan Chiba Itto Ryu, the House of Chiba kendo. Mark has studied martial arts in Japan, including the Foreign Kendo Leaders Summer Camp in Kitamoto. Through the years, Mark has been instrumental in developing kendo in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

Congratulations, Mark!


Demonstration - October 22, 2005:

As a member of the Japan America Society of San Antonio, we were once again asked to provide demonstrations for the annual JASSA Japan Day festivities at the main San Antonio Public Library. But this was the first time we were given a demonstration time inside the auditorium for this event. While the auditorium's carpeted floor is a challenge, it allowed us to give a kendo demonstration complete with warm-ups, basics, matches, and kendo kata. We had two other demonstration times outside, which allowed separate demonstrations for  MJER iaido and ZNKR iaido.

 Start of MJER demo at the Main Library The library makes a dramatic setting Showing kendo basic drills Preparing to hold a kendo match Demonstrating kendo kata


Iaido Guest - October 11, 2005:

One of the shimpan (judges) who participated in the Austin taikai was Sensei Federico Baena, who accompanied the kendo team from Mexico (Queretaro Kendo State Association). Sensei Baena and his lovely wife extended their stay in Texas to celebrate their wedding anniversary, which made it an even greater honor to have Sensei and his wife join us for extended iaido practice. Sensei practiced iaido with the ZNKR class, but he also practices eishen-ryu at home. Sensei Federico Baena at RCIKK practice.

Thank you, Mrs. Baena, for sharing this photograph.




Kendo Takai (Austin, TX) - October 9, 2005:

For the first time in the history of the Austin Longhorn invitational teamRCIKK sends a team to the Austin taikai. kendo tournament (and its predecessor event), San Antonio sent its own team to compete. RCIKK's team at the Fourth Annual Longhorn Invitation Team Taikai included Marco Garcia (team captain), Joe Sheldon, Ian Penry, Michael Richard, and William Centrella. Although the team did not place, everyone competed well.

Chiba teams warmup.

The Houston Budokan also sent two teams (A and B). All the Chiba dojos warmed up together and supported each other.



Opening Ceremony.

Teams from Texas represented Austin (Austin Kendo Doshikai and U.T. Kendo Association), College Station (Texas A&M Kendo Kyokai), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW Kendo & Iaido Kyokai), Houston (Budokan), Laredo (Seidokan Kendo & Iaido Dojo), and San Antonio (RCIKK). Invited teams were sent from Mexico (Kendo del Estado De Nuevo Leon), Panama (Asociacion de Kendo de Panama), and New York (Kenshinkai).

Team members tie on the identifying ribbons. Sensei Morton gives last minute advice to the RCIKK team. Bill fights.  Ian fights. Marco fights. Michael fights. Houston A team receives its award. Closing event photo.


MJER Iaido Seminar (Denton, TX) - October 1-2, 2005:

Several club members traveled to Denton to participate in the annual embukai.


ZNKR Iaido Seminar (Torrance, CA) - Sept. 29/Oct.2, 2005:

2005 ZNKR camp for cutting anglesThe AUSKF annual iaido camp was sponsored by the Southern California Iaido Association and the Northern California Iaido Association and hosted by the Torrance Kendo Dojo. The guest instructors from Japan were Ueno Sensei, head of the All Japan Kendo Federation's Iaido Committee, and Takeda Sensei, a member of the same committee.

Ueno Sensei brought his cutting chart to illustrate the angle of cuts in ZNKR iaido kata.


RCIKK MJER Iaido Seminar - September 27-29, 2003:



National Kendo Championships  (Ann Arbor, MI) - July 2-5, 2005:

RICKK was very proud to send two of its own to the AUSKF kendo national championships:SUSKIF 2005 team Joe and Marco, who competed on the Southern U.S. Kendo and Iaido Federation team.

The other team members included Alonso Guerra (Seidokan, Laredo), William Velasquez (Houston Budokan), and Jeffery Chen (Doshikai, Austin).

Sensei Craig judges a match


MJER Iaido Seminar (Victoria, Canada) - June 4-5, 2005:

RCIKK was represented by Diane Mirro and Victor Holguin  at the 2005 Summer Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido Seminar in Victoria, British Columbia, featuring H. Kato Sensei (10th dan, hanshi) assisted by Kaneda Sensei (kyoshi), Ted Davis (7th dan), Raju Thakrar (renshi), and Scott Irey (5th dan).

This was Kato Sensei's first visit to North America, and he seemed very impressed with the caliber of the students training in the Canadian Iaido Association (CIA). The feeling was certainly mutual - watching Sensei perform an embu at the end of the seminar, we were amazed at the fluidity, energy and martial efficacy exhibited by this 80-year-old. Sensei encouraged us to work on the basics - in fact, he scolded some of the upper rank candidates for choosing complicated waza for their tests, rather than the foundation waza from the seiza and Batto-ho sets.

61 people attended the seminar and 31 people passed their dan examinations. This was a record for the number of people testing at a CIA seminar, and included six successful candidates for the rank of Godan. Congratulations to everyone who passed! This was a very hard working seminar in the hottest days of the summer. This is the first year that the CIA has awarded Godan levels certificates and is the highest level it's authorized to give in ZNIR - subsequent ranking requires a trip to Japan.

Diane successfully passed her Nidan exam, while Victor made an excellent showing at his first international seminar event. Wonder if the Shinto blessing we received the previous Thursday from Barrish Guji at the Grand Tsubaki Shrine in Granite Falls, WA had anything to do with it ... Thank you to Anthony Pope for the pictures to memorialize the seminar.Diane receives her nidan certificate.

The BAD news is that we will be losing Victor as college beckons from out-of-state - the GOOD news is that it looks like he will be attending school in Seattle, and therefore transferring to Irey Sensei's dojo (the lucky rat!)

More news from Victor: After the seminar, he headed to Las Vegas, joking that if he hit a jackpot, he'd be able to buy an iaito to replace the bokken he currently uses. Well, he sent an email saying that he hit a $1500 jackpot, and the sword is now on order...that Shinto blessing certainly was potent!


Kendo Taikai (Dallas, TX) - April 23, 2005:

The Dallas Fort Worth Kendo & Iaido Kyokai hosted a special seminar, taikai (tournament), and shinsa (testing) the weekend of April 22-24, 2005, under the auspices of the Southwest Kendo and Iaido Federation. San Antonio was well represented, with the largest number of RCIKK students participating to date.

Thanks to the much-appreciated efforts of Michael's mother, RCIKK participants shared a distinctive new nafuda design that recognizes our ties to the Chiba family, as well as our roots in the River City (San Antonio).

The taikai included both the 10th Nabeshima Cup Invitational Kendo Taiko at Taikai
Tournament and the 4th Texas Open Kendo Tournament. The taikai
ceremonies opened with the inspiring taiko or drumming of Max Minato Sensei (also known as Mr. Sushi, after his restaurant of the same name).

This year's Nabeshima tournament included a division up to ikkyu and another division for shodan to sandan. The Texas Open was reserved for yondan and above.

For more pictures, we have Amy to thank, as well as John and Evan Penry.

Ian Bill Michael ...Back Again... Brothers? Marco & Will Joe

The guest of honor was Tandanori Ota Sensei (hachidan hanshi from Tokyo, Japan). Ota Sensei is well known for his kendo kata and generously gave an embu or demonstration with Uchida Sensei. Other special guests gave demonstrations. The shimpan cho or head judge was special guest Jeffrey Marsten Sensei (nanadan renshi from Highland Kendo Club, Seattle). The judges included Koga Sensei of the Houston Budokan.

Ota Sensei & Uchida Sensei Click Me What does Ian think?

We witnessed history in the making as Winners: Old Friends & New
Will Velasquez, from the Houston Budokan, returned the Nabeshima Cup on behalf of the last winner, Makoto Murayama, who now lives in Japan. At the end of the day, the Nabeshima Cup was returned to Will as the winner of the mudansha division.


Demonstration (Japan Festival, Houston) - April 2 & 3, 2005:

RCIKK members traveled to Houston to participate in the two-day 12th Annual Japan Festival, hosted by the Japan America Society of Houston. The weather was relatively cool and dry, but it still got very hot on the stage. The wind was an added challenge, especially on Sunday. Sword work demonstrations included ZNKR kata, Myugai Ryu kata, kendo kata, and kendo keiko. For more wonderful pictures, see Amy's website.

ZNKR iaido Swordwork in Front of the Momuments Putting on Tenegui What To Look For

Rose's office helped sponsor the Japan Festival. Festivities included a kid's parade or mikoshi. In a special moment, a kendoka saves a child's boat.

Sponsors Include Fulbright & Jaworski The Parade Gets Started The Parade Has Rough Spots Boat Capture Accomplished

Kendoka also cooked and pounded rice for mochi. Lots of pounding....

Sensei Sounds the Beat to Time the Pounding Grinding More Grinding More PoundingThe Final Stage


Kendo & ZNKR Iaido Testing - March 20, 2005:

Kendoka Everywhere

We were very proud and honored to sponsor the 2005 testing or shinsa for the Southern United States Kendo & Iaido Federation (SUSKIF). Although in the past we've sponsored a good-sized good will keiko for martial artists participating in Mike Quigley's sword show, this was our first event associated with the All United States Kendo Federation (AUSKF). Participants came from Brenham, Denton, Laredo, Houston, and San Antonio to test in kendo and ZNKR iaido. Several members from RCIKK tested and did well.

The SAC dance studio was crowded, but it was fun. Everything went smoothly, thanks to the help of the many volunteers, some of whom weren't even testing. After a break for lunch, we regrouped for jigeiko (free practice).

Last Minute Instructions


Demonstration - February 12, 2005:

To celebrate the lunar new year (Year of the Ram), the Institute of Texas Cultures again hosted the San Antonio Asian New Year's Festival. We were invited back for our fifth year. Thanks to Evan, Jimmy, and Victor, we have some great photographs to commemorate our best year at the event yet.

As in years past, we were challenged to demonstrate kata beneath a low tent with guide wires in interesting places. Then there's the aggregate concrete surface.... Thanks to these challenging conditions, we limited our demonstrations in this area to MJER iaido, ZNKR iaido, and kendo kata.

Kids Watch MJER Anthony Shows Off ZNKR iaidoKendo KataTower of Americas or Tipped Sword?

Luckily, there was a free practice area in the "Back 40" that provided an ideal place for kendo practice. This was the first year we were able to demonstrate kendo, and it was a huge hit. We also had some great views of the Alamo Dome, the Tower of Americas, and the recreated historic buildings.

In the Shadow of the Alamo Dome Controlled Chaos Grass Doesn't Hold Anyone Back  Men!!!


Budokan Matsuri (Houston, Texas) - January 23, 2005:

As usual, the Budokan celebrated the New Year with rice pounding, party, andSensei Craig helps the helper pound opening of the shinto shrine. When the shrine is opened and the freshly made mochi presented, we clap twice and bow once, then clap once and bow twice. There's another batch of mochi just for us. Thank you, Paul, for sharing the pictures.

Rice Pounding Group Picture


New Year's Practice - January 1, 2005:

Each year we hold a special New Year's Day practice to honor the new calendar year and to set the tone for a great year of practice. In addition to exercise and kata, we cut newspaper, either with our iaito, shinken, or bokken. Yes, it really can be done with the bokken, as new students prove each year. This is a very special, quiet event for the group to share.

Thank you, Jeff, for the article and thanks also to the Lulling newspaper!

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