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Saturday, 8th July 2000....

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Remember “take the timing from the music”.   GO!…..

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These were the words going through my mind , just before we started the first part of the Millennium Dome demo, July 8th 2000.

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The team were all prepared, briefed, willing and capable. We had been for the last few weeks, but now it’s  “ShowTime, break a leg. oooppps maybe not!”. Our mission should we decide to accept it, was to give a demonstration of  Sensei’s budo at the annual Natsu Matsuri Summer Festival, this year held at the dome. The team all arrived at the venue on the day from all over the country, this was the first opportunity we had to see what everyone else’s demo routine looked like, and of course amend any last minute bugs.

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We chose music to accompany the budo, quite up-beat , fast stuff. We opened with “a taste of things to come” from mortal kombat the movie, with four of us doing taijutsu/taihenjutsu, this included kicks, punches, leaps, rolls, cartwheels, flips and the like. Each person taking turn and ending in different kamae at different corners of the stage.

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The dome itself was impressive, and our “spot” was in the large central area to one side.  A nice rubber floored platform raised a few feet off the ground and a skeletal lighting rig , providing the hot lighting “hey thanks guys, I like to sweat”. The floor if anything gave a little too much grip and we had to adjust the level of posture accordingly.

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My next part of the demo was the finale, here Graham and myself duelled with swords, his style being the Togakure ryu and mine the Kukishinden ryu. The musical accompaniment was “duel of the fates” from the darth maul/Jedi end sequence of star wars phantom menace.

We opened with Graham doing a draw and series of cuts from kneeling and then challenging me, I then did much the same and after we both resheathed our blades, we sat down and waited briefly.... then sprang into life. We ended with Graham being disarmed, then “finished me off” with stuff from Gyokko ryu taihenjutsu mutodori no kata.

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It felt odd having to change the techniques as they needed  to be more open and dynamic than you would usually do for real.  But hey this is for Joe Public, so who cares!

I haven’t gone into any detail about the other bits of the demo, gives someone else a chance to write as well doesn’t it.

The team were:

Graham Ramsden - Butoku Dojo

Nick Farrar - Butoku Dojo and Tonbo Dojo

Ryo Onoshi - Butoku Dojo and Tonbo Dojo

Paul Richardson - Lincoln Dojo

Neil Richardson - Lincoln Dojo

Suneal Sreedharan - King's College, London Dojo

Alex Khoo - King's College, London Dojo

Paul Genge - Oxford Dojo

Mike Chapman - Oxford Dojo

myself, Alan Leech - Butoku Dojo and Tonbo Dojo

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Well done guy’s.

Anyway, a good day was had by us all,   and I’m just sat here waiting for Mr Lucas to call.

Ha ha ha….

Alan Leech (5th Dan Shidoshi, Bujinkan Butoku and Tonbo Dojo)

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