A Year in Review 2019-2020

What an eventful year it has been! As we prepare to open up a new semester, let’s do a quick recap on what McGill Naginata has been up to this past year.

Smiles bright with anticipation for new beginnings

Winding down from World’s, we continued to train hard, welcomed new beginners, and held our Fall 2019 Shinjin Taikai. It’s as always, a lovely way for our kouhais (junior members) to demonstrate the fruits of their training.

Shinjin Taikai Scoresheet

In October, our members helped organize the second Martial Arts Day at McGill. It was amazing to see so many students come out to give everything a try. Additionally, we were joined by McGill Aikido, McGill Kendo Club, and the McGill Jukendo and Tankendo club. Each club was able to showcase their art at the end and what an amazing demo it was. Overall, it was a very successful day and we hope that this event further bolstered their interest and awareness of the martial arts.

Coming up was the annual CNF seminar and taikai. It was held in Toronto so we had the pleasure of taking a road trip there. What’s a better way for everyone to bond than a four hour car ride with good snacks, good music, and most importantly, great company?

It’s so exciting to see the development of the Canadian Naginata community. From all the memorable fights we witnessed, CNF’s high caliber is clear for all to see. We observed over 60 competitors this year, each and every one displaying amazing talent and potential. CNF will always be something to look forward to every year.

Denny’s – another end to CNF

We opened up 2020 with yet another Shinjin Taikai. As it’s stipulated that kouhai can only compete if they have been in bogu for three semesters or less, we’ll need to start prepping our new kouhai for bogu otherwise we won’t have enough competitors for the next Shinjin Taikai!

In February, Rachel Hahn-Morris, President of the British Naginata Association and chief instructor of the London Naginata Dojo came to visit us. Although it was only one practice, our members surely learned a lot from her in bogu practice and jigeiko.

Please come visit again, Rachel (front, center)!

Soon after came the notorious gasshuku (training camp). What’s notable is that it was our first ever gasshuku away from Montreal and the McGill gym. This has been a long term goal of our’s to make this happen and we have the efforts of our dedicated exec team to thank for making an away gasshuku come to fruition. Eating, sleeping, and training hard together was truly an experience that we’ll never forget. To top that off, the Red Barn had no showers, truly an unprecedented ordeal for McGill Naginata. That being said, the smell of our sweat (and tears) is essential to a true gasshuku experience.

A group photo before it begins, when we’re all still as fresh as daisies
She said, “show your personalities guys!” – Mei (far left) foreshadows our near futures

Thankfully, there’s exactly one week between gasshuku and the 2nd annual Winter Classic Taikai – the optimal recovery time for the optimal level of success, n’est ce pas? The thing that makes these taikais something to anticipate is seeing our friends from Toronto and Edmonton. It was a full day of shiai which was incredibly rewarding to see and be a part of.

Winter Classic participants. We missed you Edmonton!

Lastly, we would like to bid farewell to William Choi, our beloved first captain of the McGill Naginata Club. He was also one of the first ever members to join the club and has since, dedicated his utmost efforts in making invaluable contributions to not only the McGill club, but to Team Canada as well at World’s. We wish him the best of luck on his future endeavours and hope to see him again!

As everyone knows, the year was abruptly cut short when the pandemic hit Canada and all facilities closed down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, we remain optimistic that we can continue our practice in a safe way as we prepare for the opening of a new semester. McGill Naginata will be back in action soon, so until then!

McGill at the 2019 World Naginata Championship

The tournament

On the 5th & 6th of July, in Wiesbaden, Germany, members of the McGill Naginata Club had the opportunity to represent Canada and compete in the World Naginata Championship and the World Goodwill tournament.

Team Canada after the World’s tournament

Team Canada got the following results:

Zen Nihon KataMarija Landekic & Antoine fromentinTop 10
Men EngiAndrew Boyd & Jordan Macklem4th Place
Women Team ShiaiMarija Landekic, Lutan Liu, Mary Phan2nd Place
Women Individual ShiaiMarija LandekicTop 8
Men Individual Shiai (Goodwill)William ChoiTop 8
Men Individual Shiai (Goodwill)Kevin HalléTop 8
Women Individual Shiai
(Goodwill)
Julia Luo4th place

Simon Bruins also competed in the goodwill tournament for the Dutch team

The Seminar

After the tournaments was a 3-days Naginata seminar followed by a grading where all the attendants could practice with people from various countries.

Congratulation to Marija Landekic who successfully graded for yondan.

The Germany trip

Beyond the tournament and the seminar this was a fun and exciting trip for everyone who attended.

Jeremy and Simon having fun at the Sayonara Party

2019 JSS Seminar & Taikai

A belated results update – McGill had an amazing showing at the JSS Yamauchi Memorial Taikai this past March!!!!

Thanks to the ECNF for hosting a great tournament, to Frank’s family for making our stay so comfortable. Congratulations to all and keep up the hard work!

Results

Dangai Engi
Second: Karina Aksakal/Célia Slama

Dangai Shiai Women’s Division
First: Joanna Nguyen
Second: Akiko Nakagawa
Third: Henintsoa Rakatomalala

Dangai Shiai Men’s Division
First: Keisuke Nakajima
Second: Sam Zhou

Yudansha Shiai Men’s Division
Second: Simon Bruins

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CNF Seminar 2018

Where can you get beat up by people from across Canada and learn from real Japanese renshi? — That’s right, at the 2018 CNF Seminar and Tournament here in Montreal.

On the Saturday we split into groups and worked closely with sensei from Canada, the U.S., and Japan. Everyone who came learned something new!

On Sunday, we showed off our skills in Shiai and Engi matches. Special thanks to new members who showed up on Sunday to run the tournament (we couldn’t have made it work without you).

Tournament Photos

Results

Congratulations to the following members of McGill Naginata:

Marija Landekic

  • 1st place yudansha shiai
  • 3rd place yudansha engi
  • 2nd place team shiai

Simon Bruins

  • Kanto-sho award (fighting spirit)

William Choi

  • 1st place dangai shiai
  • 1st place engi dangai
  • 2nd place team shiai

Helen Liu

  • 2nd place team shiai

Julia Luo 

  • 3rd place dangai shiai

Sam Zhou

  • 2nd place team shiai

Henintsoa Rakotomalala

  • 3rd place engi dangai

Mei Yang

  • 3rd place engai dangai

… and all the members of McGill naginata who graded. Everyone passed!

Toronto Taikai and Summer Fun

Hey everyone,

A lot has happened since our last update: execs have changed, spring practice has ended… oh and we went to drove to Toronto to participate in the annual Toronto Taikai.

Our team was represented in Toronto by the following members of McGill Naginata:

Will, Kevin, Julia, Sam, Chris, Karina, Simon and Marija

Engi Matches:
1st Place – Kevin and Will
2nd place – Sam and Julia

Individual Shiai Matches:
3rd Place – Marija

Team Shiai Matches:
1st Place – (Julia, Marija)
2nd Place – (Chris, Simon)

Huge thanks to the U of T Naginata Club for organizing the taikai, and to the Luo family for hosting the team over the weekend!!

Summer Practices

Note that we will be practicing at slightly different hours over the summer:

  • Wednesdays: 6:30-8:00pm
  • Saturdays: 1:00-3:00pm

You can find us in the Aerobics Room of the McGill Sports Complex.

See the Schedule page for more details.

Have an exciting summer, and we look forward to seeing you all next September!

2018 JSS Seminar & Taikai

A full day’s worth of seminar info overload, an amazing tournament, and who could forget the dogs at Frank’s place 😆

We had the amazing opportunity to practice with people from all over the US and Canada. McGill Naginata played in all Dangai divisions of the tournament (some of us for the first time!!), and played in the Yudansha tournament as well.

Many thanks to the JSS for hosting the NY Seminar and Taikai, to the sensei for all the feedback and learning.

Results:

McGill Naginata was represented by –
Henintsoa, Joanna, Mei, Sage, Chris, Frank, Julia, Sam, Chloe, Helen, Will, Kevin, Simon

Dangai Engi
2nd Place – Kevin and Will

Dangai Men’s Individual Matches
2nd Place – Kevin
3rd Place – Will

Dangai Women’s Individual Matches
2nd Place – Helen
3rd Place – Julia

Special shoutout to Frank’s parents for accommodating us and providing food. The trip was that much more comfortable and enjoyable thanks to them.

We look forward to attending the seminar & tournament again next year!

Gasshuku from The Kohai’s POV

Sage joined the Naginata Club in Fall 2017 and has since started spending more and more time with the club. This is Gasshuku from her perspective:

The McGill Naginata club’s Spring Gasshuku is not just a training camp. While we had three practices a day, between two to three hours each, for the duration of the event, the focus wasn’t solely on improving technique or endurance or strength, as a training camp would imply.

Rather, Gasshuku focused on both Naginata as a martial art, and Naginata as a social activity. 

Each day of Gasshuku, you would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with everyone else, helping to cook and clean. You would walk to the gym with everyone, and head back  together afterwards. It was a great experience; the people critiquing your attacks in the dojo would also be the person you saw fall asleep at 7.10 AM on the sofa, or someone who helped you wash a million dishes, or the person you ran across an intersection with as the traffic light changed to green.

Gasshuku didn’t just aim to be an extended practice session; it emphasized also cooperation and club bonding. How else could about 16 people in one air bnb work?

Gasshuku also touched upon the philosophy of Naginata. One of the exercises was to come up with a kata which demonstrated the core components of Naginata. The movements didn’t need to be real Naginata moves, as long as they captured the unique aspects of Naginata as a martial art. This required me to think about the movements I was making, rather than simply trying to actually do them without tripping. More broadly, Gasshuku also focused on perseverance, especially in its morning “warmup” sets; pushing yourself as far as you could go and then continuing to do so through the repeated sets.

Gasshuku improved my technique and helped me feel more comfortable around my fellow club members. It wasn’t a training camp that allowed people to distance themselves and sink themselves in their own work and emotions; it forced you to interact and cooperate and coordinate, and in doing so, become closer with those around you. It was an amazing experience, and one that I look forwards to next year.

Written by Sage Minard
Pictures from Marija Landekic

2018 Spring Gasshuku

We’ll be holding our spring gasshuku again this weekend on March 2-4! An extensive training menu, great food, fun social event, and accommodation if you need have been prepared. Training will be held in the Aerobics Room at the McGill Athletics Centre.

On March 2 training will run from 19:00 – 21:00; on March 3 and 4 it will run from 9:00 – 20:30.

Please check the event page or Facebook group for more information!

Hello, Winter 2018

Thank you to everyone who came out to our open practice! Congrats to everyone who graded, you all levelled up! 🙂

For this Winter semester, our practices will be in the Aerobics room on the basement level of the McGill Athletics Centre:

  • Wednesdays: 9 – 10:30 PM
  • Saturdays: 1 – 3 PM

Check the Events tab to see this season’s events!

 

Fall 2017 Semester Wrap-Up

It’s that time of year again: holidays are coming up, meaning finals seasons for students, and more importantly, we’re approaching the last couple of practices before we break for the New Year. This semester saw many new members join the club and a growing group of us representing McGill at the CNF tournament. Here’s to more people learning about Naginata and growing the club!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the end of semester party at Simon’s place this Saturday Dec 2 after practice!