After the usual weekend family nonsense of getting kids and the wife on the train to Manchester we arrived at the Midland Hotel shortly before the 'opening act' which just so happened to be the KNMS kendo demonstration. there was already quite a large crowd gathering and although the Midland was extremely luxurious I think it was considerably less space both to perform and explore than last year in Liverpool.
As we moved to the front to watch KNMS I was surprised to spot both Joe and Geunsu had volunteered to help out Sensei Swindells and the three other members of KNMS present. Joe and Pete Pugh [hope I got the name correct] began by performing the first 7 kata. Being first on and under the scrutiny of the visiting Japanese dignitaries they performed really well under such pressure, although the small space certainly didn't help matters.
Geunsu and another member of KNMS then demonstarted kiri-kaeshi followed by a variety of kihon waza and then a brief free-practice. Then, having kitted themselves out Joe and Pete returned to demonstrate a simple shiai. Given the space it was quite surprising to see some good quality kendo and decent ippon scored. I'm not entirely sure of the outcome as I was concentrating on holding a wriggly 5 year old AND take photos but I think Joe held his end up considerably better in this Liverpool v's Manchester showdown than the home derby taking place back at Goodison [sorry, did I just say that out loud?].
Proceedings were then wrapped up and Sensei Swindells thanked the people taking part, particularly Joe considering he'd travelled back from London from the British Kendo Open Championships to take part in the demonstration! Hopefully he'll post a report on that later.
Unfortunately we left before their second performance, but given the size of the queue outside hopefully it allowed more to get in and see what was going on. With hindsight JSNW should secure a bigger venue for their next Japan Day because it was considerably busier than the venue could cope with. On the positive side kendo was ably presented to the public and we once again showed our members eagerness to train all over the North West and support our neighbours for the good of kendo in Britain. Many thanks to Joe and Geunsu for representing Liverpool and volunteering their time and effort.
I'll put some pictures up on Facebook soon.