Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Camp Kangeiko 2011!

    Camp Kangeiko is developing a long and storied history - and the stories keep getting better. There was the year of the flooded tents. There was the year of Sensei Morgan and the bear. There was the year of the exploding soda cans. This year, 2011, provided its share of stories, but will be remembered best as the year of the peacocks.
     Kangeiko has been held for nine years so far, the first several were in the fall, and the later ones in the winter (it is after all 'severe WINTER training'...) We have camped in several state parks and Sensei Hanson's back yard, but seem to have settled on Riverside Retreat Center in Alva as our permanent winter home. In gratitude, Meishinkan dojo does various service projects that the camp staff request, such as brush clearing or building benches. A request this year was a bit more unusual.
    The infamous Iron Chef contest (aka Iron Gut contest) has become a highlight of Kangeiko, and was added the year after Sensei Morgan first joined us for the event. In this contest, students cook and blackbelts eat - a fine incentive for attaining that coveted black belt! The contest challenges have ranged from making dessert with beef jerky to four course meals with unknown meat, pig ears or various beef organs. The results have been memorable (and many better forgotten.) For the record, no black belts have perished yet, although many have felt that would have been a more preferrable outcome. Waiting to find out what the secret ingredient is each year keeps the anticipation high!
      As for training, each year at Kangeiko, Morgan Sensei and Reach Sensei provide instruction in multiple arts, including outdoor skills and wilderness survival. This year it was how not to catch peacocks. Yes, peacocks. As in large pesky birds that escaped from somewhere and were creating havoc for the campground. It was quickly determined that sneaking up and/or chasing them is not the most efficient method of capture. They do fly after all. After a demonstration of really good shooting by Sensei Morgan and birddogging through the brush by Sensei Chadbourn, Mike and Jason, the catching part was accomplished, and instruction proceeded to preparing and cooking wild birds, ie, pesky peacocks. Feathers flew, the birds were dressed and wrapped in foil, and slow-cooked in the newly-built, brick-lined Dakota firepit (another service project). Roasted peacock provided an interesting addition to the evening Iron Chef contest, although not the main ingredient (that was reserved for beef organs.)  Taste results on the birds were mixed, from "tasty but chewy", to "I'd rather have the cow kidneys". 
     Yes, Kangeiko 2011 was definitely a year to remember!


  1. As a first-time participant at Camp Kangeiko this year, I enjoyed the camp grounds and the company. There were several times when I was busy preparing a meal outside my tent and I could hear the camaraderie and laughter of the group around the camp fire. Hearing that laughter was as wonderful a sound as the still quiet in the middle of the night.

    Although I didn't get to taste the peacocks, I watched with interest the skinning and cleaning process. Even my son who doesn't like living things to be killed, watched it too. Thanks to the patience of Sensei Reach and some others, my son found a new level of maturity in accepting the circle of life by having his questions answered and listening to them share their experience with him.

    I'm looking forward to next year's camp. And I'll keep hoping for an appetizing secret ingredient instead of a disgusting one.

  2. I had a blast and enjoyed the peacock [peahen?]. I even tried the cow tongue and cow kidney!

    I cannot wait until next year!