Winter 2023: January Shenanigans

Welcome back everyone to McGill Naginata in Winter 2023!

This new year starting off strong with a naginata club gift exchange: every participating member is assigned to an anonymous secret santa and must guess who their gifter is. But beware, they only have three tries, so choose wisely.

Soon after school starts, the W23 Activities Night! What a great opportunity it is to meet all of McGill in-person and introduce our club.

And after Activities Night comes our open practice. It’s always exciting to see our new members wield a Naginata for the very first time. A warm welcome to all our new and returning members!

Thanks for attending and see you at practice!


Fall 2022 Shinjin Taikai

Saturday, October 8th: The beginner-intermediate McGill naginatakas compete against each other at our first Fall 2022 Taikai!
Check out our highlights from the event.

Congratulations to our winners in both shiai (sparring) and engi (performance) categories:

  • 1rst place winner for shiai: Audrey Sassi
  • 1rst place winners for engi: Joy Meng and Audrey Sassi

Thank you to all our competitors, judges, and spectators for attending and helping out!

Welcome back! First Fall 2022 practice

A hearty welcome to everyone who joined practice this Wednesday the 7th!

As the new Fall 2022 semester begins, the McGill Student’s Naginata Club opens its doors to all McGillians interested in naginata, beginners and experienced practitioners alike. We will keep holding practices every:

  • Wednesday: 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

**Exception on Saturday September 24, 2022. See our schedule for more info.

Come check us out!

McGill Naginata at Toronto Gasshuku 2022

What a weekend! On May 26th, McGill Naginata departs Montreal to join the 2022 Student’s Gasshuku at Toronto hosted by Tomas Paolo Almonte. And what follows is three days and two nights of fun, intense grueling training, and more fun!

Car crew and bus crew, on the day before:

On May 27th, McGill naginatakas meet Toronto naginatakas! Some meeting for the first time, others meeting again after a long time. Henceforth begins the Gasshuku…

Warmup and stretching

Training together

Cooking together

Eating and living together

Balloon mock shiai. Chaos ensues. (fun chaos!)

Hasso train challenge: ToGillDia vs SamTram vs GFP

Night challenge! Don’t underestimate a newspaper

Training together, cooking together, eating together, living together, and helping each other: this is an experience that has cemented the bonds between the members of the Toronto and Montreal naginata community. From this has sprouted improvement from everyone, as well as friendships, laughter, and undoubtedly many calluses.
A big thank you to the UofT Naginata Club for having us! And lots of appreciation for everyone at McGill, Toronto, and Concordia who participated in the event!

Until next time~

2021-2022 Season Highlights

Hey everyone!

We’ve come to the end of the 2021-2022 season! We’d like to say a big thanks to the exec team for leading the club this season and to all our new and returning members for their effort and dedication that continues to make McGill Naginata Club great! Let’s take a moment to look back on the highlights of this season.

First of all, we’d like to give a shout-out to all our new members. Welcome to McGill Naginata Club! Many of you transitioned from learning how to hold a naginata in September to competing in the Quebec Regional Taikai and the Canadian Winter Classic a few months later! Keep up the great work!

We’ve been training hard at weekly practices:    

Group photos after practice in the Activities Room – October 2021
McGill Naginata Alumni dropped by for a visit – November 2021
New members who joined in September take part in teaching the new cohort of beginners at the Winter Activities Night – December 2021
McGill Naginata Club gets festive for the holidays! – December 2021
Group photos after practice – March 2022
Final practice of the season – April 2022

In addition to practice, we had a few competitions and seminars throughout the year!

McGill Naginata Club made an excellent showing at the annual Canadian Naginata Federation seminar hosted in Montreal in October! Kudos to everyone who attended! In addition to advancing their naginata skills, they had the chance to network with sensei and fellow naginata athletes from across Canada!

Group photos at the Canada Naginata Federation seminar – October 2021

In November, McGill Naginata Club participated in the 2021 Quebec Regional Taikai. We were joined by members from the Rosemont Naginata Club as well as the Saint-Eustache Naginata Club. Congratulations to Akiko for winning the Fighting Spirit Award!

Quebec Regional Taikai Group photos – November 2021
Quebec Regional Taikai – Shiai photos

In March, McGill participated in the 2022 Canadian Winter Classic and was joined by the Rosemont dojo from Montreal and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre dojo from Toronto.

Canadian Winter Classic Engi-Kyogi competition
Canadian Winter Classic Shiai competition

McGill had a great showing at the tournament. Grace and Akiko won the Best Match Award for their Engi performance! Grace won first place in team shiai! Audrey and Grace both won the Fighting Spirit award! Congratulations on their achievements!

Canadian Winter Classic – Grace and Akiko in their award winning engi-kyogi match!
Canadian Winter Classic – Grace (white tasuki) in team shiai competition
Canadian Winter Classic – Audrey and Khoa in Engi-Kyogi

In addition to tournaments and practices, we had many fun socials throughout the year including Karaoke night, Jackbox parties, Bubble tea, and watching movies.

Having a social at the cinema!

Moreover, McGill Naginata Club got awesome new jackets with the logo designed by one of our club alumna, Sage!

Group photo with the new McGill Naginata Jackets!

We would also like to make a farewell announcement to our senpai who are graduating this year and to Simon sensei who is moving to Vancouver (and perhaps starting up a club there too)! Congratulations to Mei, Grace, Akiko and Marco for finishing undergrad at McGill and congratulations to Simon on his new job! We thank them for being our friends and mentors and for their leadership in McGill Naginata Club! We wish them the best in their future endeavours and we hope to see them at future seminars and taikais!

Thanks to everyone for making this season a success and we hope to see you next season!

Welcome back! Outdoor practices Fall 2021

Welcome back to our returning members and a warm welcome to all our new members! Thank you to everyone who made it to our first practice of the year! The school year is ramping up and so is McGill Naginata. While the weather is still suitable, we will be holding practice outdoors at Jeanne-Mance park on the field across the street from the statue on:

Wednesdays: 5-7pm

Saturdays: 3-5pm

Please note that Covid-19 precautions are in effect; masks and vaccine passports are required at practice. Stay tuned for more information on the announcement of indoor practices and upcoming events!

Fall 2020 – McGill Naginata Online Sessions

Most unfortunately, we will not be holding open practices, official practices, and fun events like Shinjin Taikai and the much anticipated CNF seminar and taikai this Fall 2020 semester.

Fear not though, for we are all still here! For advanced naginata enthusiasts, for beginners who are hoping to join the club, and even for those who are still unsure of what this all is still, we are running online sessions every Wednesday evening from 6-8pm EST.

These are virtual events we organized for you to see what practicing naginata is like and to learn about the culture behind this wonderful martial art. Not only that, it’s a great opportunity to meet and chat with the wonderful people that make up our club.

September 23 Session – ft. Frank & Julia

Come on out, take a break from your video lectures (or jobs), and hang out with us. We look forward to seeing you all!

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
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