Student Impression of Noble House Kenjutsu Dojo
I first heard of Noble House Kenjutsu in the summer of 1999. Prior to that I had been doing some research online reading various martial arts forums and dojo websites around North America. At the time there were very few sword dojo in Canada, or North American in general, and thought I would have to move to perhaps Vancouver (at the very least) to join a dojo. Imagine my surprise when I happened across a website for a dojo that looked interesting, and happened to be in my backyard!
I arranged to come and watch a class and I remember my jaw hitting the floor as I observed the students working through the kata. The high-energy movement and intense physical stamina that this art so clearly required was unlike anything that I had seen or heard about elsewhere. Based on what I had seen, there was no question of me asking to join the dojo, and I have never looked back. Since then I have missed classes only for vacations, late-night work duties, or illness. I have never willingly chosen to miss a class, as there is always some new information to be gleaned, or new connections to be made within the school's vast curriculum.
In the many years that I have been training I have still been curious as to how other schools do things, and have attended a handful of sword seminars in Calgary with high-level practitioners of their respective arts. I have also, as of 2012, begun teaching periodically at another dojo in Calgary as a sort of knowledge exchange. I learn some of their art and they learn some of mine. Each of these arts have their merits and something can be learned from all of them, but thus far I haven't seen anything that has the level of depth and complexity as what I get to practice at Noble House Kenjutsu Dojo.
In August of 2012 I met with a sensei from Japan who had come to visit his student and see how his new dojo was coming along. We spent most of the time working in his art, but whenever a similar motion or concept would appear I would mention it and show our interpretation. I remember him being briefly shocked when I showed a simple motion that his art had apparently not thought of, and he said (translated from Japanese) that "You have a good art". This is a sentiment that has been echoed to many of our students who have had opportunities to meet or even train with other respected high-level sensei in or from Japan.
This same sensei asked me over dinner how martial arts had affected my life. I suspect he was expecting an answer like how I saved myself from getting hurt or something to that effect, but my answer was "I now know I can do anything." He seemed confused, and so I elaborated:
Budo, or martial arts in general, is hard. Very hard. This particular art is even more demanding, both physically and mentally, and yet here I still am after more than a decade. Not only that but I am constantly learning more and have even started to teach others. With all this behind me, other problems that crop up seem small in comparison. I know I can handle it and get through to the other side, no matter what the issue may be.
James Noble House Kenjutsu Dojo student