2021 Winter Classic (Virtual) Taikai

Last March, COVID-19 profoundly impacted the ways in which we interact and practice together. Through the enduring commitment of our club members, the club has made strides towards adapting and scaling down our social events, practices, and even tournaments to a virtual setting. As the saying goes… the show must go on! With that being said, I present to you the 2021 Winter Classic Taikai!

This one year anniversary marks a particularly meaningful time to get together again as we couldn’t let a pandemic get in the way of the third annual Winter Classic. Reflecting back, this year has no doubt presented its challenges, but also gives us the time to reimagine how we want our naginata to look and feel once we return to regular practice. What’s a better way to let that manifest than through creative kata and rhythm naginata?

Donning their uniforms. Oh the commitment!


Division I Creative Kata
1st Place: Daiki Siegert-Iriyama & Birgit Siegert-Iriyama
2nd Place: Joanna Nguyen & Akiko Nakagawa
3rd Place: Jordan Macklem & Richard Yang

Division II Rhythm Naginata
1st Place: Daiki Siegert-Iriyama & Birgit Siegert-Iriyama
2nd Place: Lutan Liu & Tomas Almonte

Division III Teach Naginata
1st Place: Lutan Liu
2nd Place: Tomas Almonte
3rd Place: Simon Bruins

People’s Choice Awards:

Division I Creative Kata
Spin to Win Award – Best Use of Circular Motion: Daiki Siegert-Iriyama & Birgit Siegert-Iriyama
“You spin me right ’round baby, right ’round.”
That Aggro Spirit – Most Deadly: Daiki Siegert-Iriyama & Birgit Siegert-Iriyama tied with Tomas Almonte & Lutan Liu
Most Realistic – Actually Useful in Shiai: Tomas Almonte & Lutan Liu
The Kendo Award – y’all came on so strong I thought it was Kendo:
(three-way tie)
Jeremy Frandon & Jaime Little
Lutan Liu & Jason Lujan
Simon Bruins & Michael Luo

Division II Rhythm Naginata
Showmanship ‘Shomen-ship’ Award (Individual award): Daiki Siegert-Iriyama
“No better showman.”
Best Overall Group Appearance: Daiki Siegert-Iriyama & Birgit Siegert-Iriyama
The Oscar Award – Most Cinematic: Lutan Liu & Tomas Almonte
“Artistic fades and masks on trees… wonderful stuff.”
The Banger Award – Best Musical Selection: Machigai Sagashi (Masuki Suda) – Lutan Liu & Tomas Almonte
“The kinda song where you’re crying, but also slow head banging.”

The Greatest Showman, The coldest breath.

Division III Teach Naginata
Future Sensei Award – Most Knowledgeable: Simon Bruins (current?) Sensei
“A knowledgeable man.”
Super Sunday Sunshine Award – Most Inspiring: Lutan Liu
“Rainbows and sparkles and tenouchi – oh my!”
Most Creative: Tomas Almonte
“I didn’t know I needed this kind of laundry tutorial in my life.”

Congratulations to all those who participated! It was truly inspiring to witness the innovation and creativity behind each and every single entry. I would also like to extend a sincere thank you to all organizers and shinpans for their assistance in seamlessly running the event and also to the attendees, without which none of this would have been possible. Seeing everybody, even through a screen after such a long while, was incredibly nostalgic. After all, it’s being able to meet our friends from the CNF across Canada, both new and old, that’s the highlight of all tournaments!

The great news is that the temperate temperatures are beginning to creep its way back in. With the optimism of a warm spring ahead of us, let’s keep our fingers crossed for the time when we can come out of hibernation and safely practice once again.

Until then!

Disclaimer: All entries were entered via video submission format this year in compliance with social distancing regulations.


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