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As you enter the dojo, you will find yourself in the ‘genkan’, a lower area where you will remove your footwear prior to entering the dojo – as like all traditional dojo, no shoes are allowed in the dojo. Shoe racks are supplied for the storage of member/visitor shoes.
Our main training area, 230 square metres of space, enough for a mini-seminar of up to 20 people practicing iai at once, or 15 pairs practicing kumitachi waza. The floor is sprung to avoid injury from prolonged practice, and the large ceiling height gives us plenty of space to practice without hitting anything!
We have male & female changing rooms available, with the usual kit (benches, coat hooks, mirror etc), and to save energy, all lighting is on motion sensors. Be warned, if you get changed while keeping fairly still, you’ll be in the dark!
We have a small guest area equipped with sofas, so any visitors have comfy seating to chill out in while we have all the fun on the dojo floor! It also serves as a social area where we can relax after keiko and spend time for debriefing (when we do well in practice) and laughs (when we don’t). Above the sofa is a collection of pics (mostly ridiculous) of the dojo and its members – usually doing something stupid, embarrassing or both. We enjoy the cameraderie that the dojo has, and we try and capture it whenever possible.
Our kamiza – literally, the ‘seat of the gods’. This area of a traditional dojo is very important, and the location of various artifacts important to the dojo, or ryu itself. Quite often, pictures of teachers are kept here, along with items of reverence. It is an area where we can pay homage to our predecessors, and despite it’s name, has no religious connotations.
The kakejiku (hanging scroll) on the left reads ‘Seishin Chokudo’ – literally ‘a straight path through life’, and the right-hand kakejiku is a print of Musashi’s famous self-portrait, done in his late years around the same time that Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu was being formalised as an art.
Above the kamiza is our dojo name, Heijoshin. Hand-written by a local artist, it is done in the typical high-contrast style of Japanese calligraphy, shodo.
For more information about our name, please click here.
All members keep a set of training weapons at the dojo. We have storage for 80 weapons, with a mix of iai/jo bokuto, Niten Ichi-ryu bokuto, jo, bo and naginata.
The entrance to our utility area and changing rooms has a noren (traditional Japanese curtain) emblazoned with the word ‘Hyoho’ (strategy).
The first sign you will see that our building contains a dojo is this guy – Miyamoto Musashi. The original was a woodblock print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi done in the mid 19th century, but this lifesize version was done in acrylics by our very own art genius Keith.
Musashi is probably the best known of the swordsmen of Japan, having engaged in sixty duels without loss. In addition to being a swordsman, he was also an accomplished artist, philisopher and civil engineer. As our dojo practices Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu kenjutsu, the art that Musashi created, we thought it only apt that he welcomes us into the dojo.
For before/after keiko, we have a small kitchenette where we store cool refreshments and can make hot drinks in winter via our drinks machine. We also have a microwave for use during breaks in long practice sessions.