Halloween this year fell on a Tuesday, and since that is the day we train it seemed only right that we use the excuse to have some fun.

The experience began with a message from Sensei: please bring a pumpkin and an old white t-shirt to training.

Needless to say, we were curious what he had in store!

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One important principle in Shorinji Kempo is to know what you are aiming at.  In this case, should we have been aiming at Mr Evil Pumpkin, or the kenshi holding it?

The pumpkins had a lot of use – as weights during warm-up, as targets during basics, and even as our “beautiful companion, hanging off one arm” as we learned how to do defences with only the one remaining arm we had.

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Later in the session we put on our plain white t-shirts and learned defence against knives.  The knives in question were red pens, so you could tell how we were doing with the “not being stabbed” aim.

Word of advice: if you find yourself in a fight against someone with a knife, and they look even vaguely competent, give them what they want. Or run away.

We did ok when they were doing single attacks, but as soon as our training partners started to be more creative and awkward we found that our limited practice against weapons was not cutting it.

Pun intended.

Shorinji Kempo has a vast range of defences, against many things, but for the most part we practice without weapons.  Our philosophy is one of minimal harm to everyone, and weapons tend to escalate fights quickly.  We would rather calm the situation down.

After all, Miyamoto Musashi says that the ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them.

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