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Quality Over Quantity

Over the last few weeks we've had a few fun events at our dojo.  We hosted a shinpan seminar a few weeks ago, headed by Yotsuuye Sensei of Bellevue, and shared our dojo with a lot of visitors and kendo friends from the Seattle area.  It was a wonderful event and we all learned a lot, plus it's always good to cross swords with my friends that I don't get to see that often.  We've also welcome a couple of new members that came to us from Hawaii and Pennsylvania/Maryland/California, and each of them bring their own unique spirit and take on kendo, which is always appreciated.  This week we are hosting a visitor from Northern Virginia Kendokai and had a great practice with him last night, and are looking forward to another practice on Wednesday before he heads home.  That's one of the joys of kendo for me: making new friends and seeing new connections being made between our dojo and the rest of the kendo world.  Even while watching the world kendo championships this w…
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Childish Spirit

This might be just a little different entry, but I believe there's a lot to be extracted from it. I know that I've found a lot of inspiration in it, already, and hope that anyone reading it extracts their own thoughts and feelings.  Here we go!

This is a story about one of my dojo mates, and a fairly new one, at that, and also one of the only kids we have at the dojo right now.  This particular kid, though, has a situation which might keep anyone else from practicing, or doing a lot of other activities, because he only has one leg.  I don't think anyone has ever mentioned this to him, though, because the way he practices you wouldn't be able to tell, at all.  He has been regularly attending practice since he started, and never once lets something like a missing limb stop him or even slow him down, no sir.  He pushes himself to keep up with everyone, and even surpass some of them.

This on its own is amazing, if he were doing it as part of a kids class.  But he's not…

Kendo Heroes

I look up to a lot of people in kendo.  Some of them I've met and know personally.  Some of them I've only seen in videos or read about in magazines or online.  But there are some that I've dubbed my "Kendo Heroes" (working on coining that term!).  These are people whose skills on the floor are things of beauty to me, and I would love to attain someday in my own training.  People that stand out from the rest, in my opinion, and offer not only entertainment to watch but also goals to achieve for myself.

One of the first heroes I happened upon was none other than Masahiro Miyazaki.  I'm sure everyone has at least heard his name before, but if not, go find him.  You won't be disappointed.  He won the All Japan Kendo Championships seven times, if I remember correctly, and is continuing to show strong finishes in the All Japan 8-dan Championships these days.  He is, in my opinion, a living kendo legend, and his technique is amazing.  I would love to have a m…

Training Through Adversity

We are officially out of the old dojo and into our new (temporary) location in the valley.  Fortunately we were able to keep the same schedule in the same location, instead of having to change the training days and/or locations throughout the week.  We were also able to continue training from the old dojo to the new location without missing a beat, as we only took a day off for Independence Day last week before we were back at it that weekend. 

All is not fun and games, though, depending on how you look at it.  The new location comes with its own challenges and we're all going to go through some growing pains as we adjust and learn to use the space effectively.  This change has made me think about the way I train and how to put a positive spin on it and use it to continue to improve, hence the reason for this post!  Hopefully this will shed some light on my thought process when it comes to training in conditions that aren't ideal or optimal. 

Two of the biggest issues that I&…

Silence

This past Monday was our last practice at our dojo.  The owners are tearing down the entire building soon.  Fortunately, we have a new spot already lined up, and we start practices up again on our normal schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, but it will take a little time to adjust to the new location.  Not just because it's a farther drive for me, but the whole feeling of the dojo will be different for a while.  We'll have to get used to an entirely new floor, new space, where to park, where to change, etc.  Anyone that has gone through a change in locations knows this.

This will be the fourth location we've trained in since I started in 2009.  We started out at a small church gym just down the road from the location we were at recently.  I remember the floor wasn't the greatest for kendo, and we ended up having to patch it up several times because the boards would break.  It got so bad that the church had to come in and re-do the floor , and even after that we en…

The Ups and Downs of Kendo

Anyone that knows me knows that I love kendo.  I don't think I could do as much as I do with it if I didn't.  But loving kendo doesn't mean that it's easy.  Far from it, in fact!  If anyone says otherwise I would honestly question if they're doing it right.  From the first day where everything is brand new, to years down the road where you're trying to figure out the mental side of things, it's a challenge.

I've often had times when I just wasn't getting something.  Whether it was a new waza, or a new timing for an existing waza, or any other number of things that came up during training, sometimes things didn't click with me, and I would have many, many practices that felt fruitless.  It seems that every time that happened, though, If I kept at it and practiced, it would eventually click with me.  I'd wake up one day and "get it".  Not to say I'd be perfect at it, but the overall shape or timing would suddenly be there.  It r…

Harai Waza

Another month down, another new focus for training.  This month we'll be focusing on harai waza.  Here are some of my personal thoughts on it, from my own training and experience.

I really had trouble figuring out how to start this entry.  Normally I just open the page and go to work, letting whatever ideas and thoughts I have flow out onto the screen, but this one really had me stumped for a while, mainly because everything I started to write sounded really negative and I didn't mean it to, so I think I'll just go with it and try to get to the point that I was trying to make in the first place.

When I first started learning harai waza it was part of kihon kata three.  If you want to be fancy, that would be the Bokuto ni yoru kendo kihon waza keiko ho, kihon san - harai waza.  The idea was simple: strike the motodachi's shinai out of center and deliver a men strike, all in one smooth movement.  It was one of the physically minimal  kata that we did, as it just require…