■February 22, 2015
UK University Branch Gasshuku – Edinburgh 2014
From 28 February to 2 March the annual UK Federation University Branch Gasshuku was held in Edinburgh, Scotland.
It was wonderful to see so many kenshi coming to the event from the University Branches: Durham, Edinburgh, Oxford, Southampton and St Georges. This Gasshuku
is always a happy and exciting event but this year it was even more special as there were special guests from Japan: WSKO President, Ms Yuuki So, WSKO Deputy
Secretary General Mr Kazusumi Ohara, and WSKO staff Mr Akira Kato. Ms So, Mr Ohara and Mr Kato flew straight on up to Edinburgh from London Heathrow to support the event. All participants were very grateful for them adding this event to their very busy schedule.
Alongside UBG Instructors Mr Steve Williams (UK Federation President) and Mr James Woodward (UK Federation Secretary General), Mr Paul Barnes (UK Federation Treasurer) and Mr Chris Lloyd (Oxford University Branch Master) travelled to assist with teaching kenshi. Mr Lloyd also provided excellent photographs of the event (shown below)!
On Saturday morning, Ms Yuuki So spoke to kenshi about the importance of the philosophy of Shorinji Kempo. It was clear that both kenshi and sensei appreciated seeing WSKO President an hearing her informative and engaging talk. Technical training was enjoyed by kenshi who were very happy to have the opportunity to practice together and learn embu techniques. Mr Steve Williams asked kenshi why they had started Shorinji Kempo and why they still do. Mr Williams emphasised the importance of making friends and helping each other and that he now has close friends that he would not have had other than for Shorinji Kempo.
In the evening there was a party and all the kenshi enjoyed singing to karaoke. Ms Yuuki So, Mr Ohara and Mr Kato came along and were very happy to be at the party.
Mr Kato showed his karaoke skill and sang with Mr Woodward and Mr Williams. Many kenshi joined in and it was most enjoyable.
On Sunday the gasskuku continued with emphasis on randori and an embu competition with all kenshi participating. Mr Steve Williams taught students that randori was a very enjoyable part of Shorinji Kempo and there were many smiles as kenshi trained together.
Event organiser, Dr David Lewis (Edinburgh Branch Instructor) added:
“Edinburgh branch were honoured to host the 2014 UKSKF University Branch Gasshuku, and to welcome instructors and kenshi from across the United Kingdom. We were also honoured to receive a visit from Shike (WSKO President), Ms. So. We had two excellent days of instruction, and forged new bonds of friendship between UK university kenshi. We would like to thank the UK instructors and kenshi, as well as our distinguished guests from Japan, for coming together to make the event a success.”
It was a memorable weekend and as the kenshi went to have a drink together to say goodbye to those traveling southwards, I heard a kenshi say to her new friend, “I am looking forward to the University Branch Gasshuku next year!”