Goshindo - Sports Chanbara

Anyone had any experience with the Goshindo (Sports Chanbara group) ? There is a guy at my wifes work who heard I did Kali in the Philippines, and he was keen to get me started in Chanbara.

I have done some net surfing on various websites and BBSs, and come up with the following (for those interested).

Goshindo consists of 3 parts -

Sport Chanabra (whacking each other with air weapons)

Toyama Ryu Iaido

Tameshigiri (test cutting)

Most Kendo guys seem to be offended by Sports Chanbara, although one did have a good point, that the rigidity of Kendo and limited scoring zones caused him many problems when trying out Chanbara. He was not used to protecting his legs for example. Kendo is very back and forth, whereas Chanbara was more of a chaotic scramble. Closer to real life ?

The fact that the weapons are so flexible leads to being unable to maintain control of the center, as you could with a shinai/sword. And obviously the weapons are very light, so impossible techniques can be performed with your "sword", "staff", etc

So does Sports Chanbara have any value in "real-life" ?

That depends on whether you value "fun" as part of real life. It's way super fun.

The flexibility of the weapons is staged (the bottom half is mostly inflexible), so the straight swords behave something like curved blades when you get blade contact. It feels really weird, 'cause you have no real control over the direction of the bend. You can't control the center as well using the tip of your blade, but it can't be done to you, either. You end up having to use a lot of sensitivity in blade-on-blade play to maintain control at that depth.

The weapons can be used absolutely full-on balls out as hard and as fast as you can, with almost no possibility of injury, and no equipment save a foam helmet. I've gotten whacked in the nuts with one of these and while painful, was in no way injurious.