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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Laverick

30 years with an English Kenshi (part 5 - after Sunday's practice) - by Ozawa Hiroshi sensei

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

(From right to left, Masaru Minowa sensei and Mandy in the center)

Mandy was a doctor of pharmacy working in a pharmaceutical company's laboratory.

In June 1990, a friend from Japan came to the UK and practised kata with her. My friend took uchidachi and Mandy took shidachi. At the zanshin of the Kodachi second form, my friend's cheeks turned red and he looked down. I asked him why later and he said he was embarrassed to be stared at. He practised kata with Trevor as well. Normally Trevor had kind eyes, but he said he was afraid of the way he would gaze at him without taking his eyes off him.

I was 19 years old when I joined Kodansha Noma Dojo. My friend that I refer to here

was my senior at Noma Dojo, Masaru Minowa Sensei. This year it has been 51

years since we first met. It is a nostalgic memory that still makes us both laugh

when we talk about this episode.

June in England is the best month of the year. In April, we practiced three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) in Nottingham, and in May, Trevor and everyone else wanted to train on Saturdays as well, so we practiced four times a week. But in June they wanted to practise on Sunday as well, so it was five times a week. We practiced from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm for two hours.

Since I lived on campus, it was convenient for me to walk to the gym in one minute. But

the people who came through were mostly from far away, though some were close.

Dennis had a house on the other side of the River Trent, which was 10-15 minutes away,

Trevor was 30 minutes away, and Mr. Barlow came from Derbyshire, so it must have

taken him quite a while to get there. Mr. Cannington didn't have a car so he had to take

the bus every time.

In those days, Trevor was in charge of a dojo called Kashi-no-Ki Kenyu kai, where he

had a leadership role. I remember that we trained on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On

Thursday nights, Dennis picked me up in his car and we practiced at the sports centre in

Ollerton, where I have been conducting Kendo seminars since 2005. I have a lot of

memories at this venue. While writing this, I just realised for the first time that Trevor practised seven days a week in June.

It was customary to go to a nearby pub after the session at noon. Everyone would drink beer in the afternoon. Even Mandy, who had driven, had a beer! I remember being relieved to see that she was drinking the same colour soft drink as the beer. Trevor was drinking the same drink as Mandy, too, because he was driving. I had a little sip and it wasn't very tasty. I always had two pints.

We spent time together in the pub, enjoyed talking, and then broke up after about an hour. I returned to my quarters, tipsy, and it became a routine to take a short nap. This is how I spent my Sunday in bliss.

When I was in Japan, I had made it a rule not to drink alcohol as long as the sun was

shining, but only in those days when I was 40 years old in England, I drank beer every

Sunday lunch. But I stopped doing this when I got back to Japan.

This is the fifth in a series of eight articles written by Ozawa Hiroshi sensei (Kyoshi 8 Dan). Kindly translated by Matsuda Kazuyo sensei (Renshi 7 Dan).

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