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2019 PNKF Summer Camp

Well it's been a while!  This is not from lack of motivation to write, though.  No, it's more because our club is in a transition period and has been looking for a new location to train at for a few months now.  Unfortunately the market around our area is hectic at the moment, but we've been doing our best to train when we can and I've personally been doing my best to get out to Seattle and train when I can, as well.  Speaking of, I was just there last weekend for a 3-day summer camp hosted by none other than Brandon Harada Sensei, of US national team fame.  Many, many thanks to him for flying to our corner of the US and helping create such a successful experience.

Friday I drove out to Bellevue training, where we were gathering for a mock kodansha shinsa.  We broke into groups of new 4 dans (1 year or less), more experience 4 dan that may have already attempted 5 dan, and then current 5 dan and 6 dan ranks.  My group. the new yondan (baby yondans, as we called oursel…
Recent posts

Ten Years Later

This month marks my 10-year anniversary in kendo.  It seems like a long time, but it also seems to have gone in the blink of an eye.  I've had so many wonderful experiences through this art, and yet I feel like I've only scratched the surface.

I actually "started" kendo WAY back in 2004, I believe.  That's how committed I was at the time; I wasn't.  I can't even remember the exact year, but I do know that I made it through our 8-week beginning class and....that was about it.  I was a flaky student, at best, and even though I started with high hopes and motivation it quickly deteriorated into making, and taking, any excuse I had to not go to practice.  I wasn't even a registered member of the AUSKF at the time because I wasn't around long enough, that's how sad it was.  The nail in the coffin was when I moved away due to a new job, and dropped it completely.  The one thing I never dropped, though, was the spark that had ignited inside, and it …

UW Taikai 2019 - Mixed Team Madness!

Last weekend a couple of us headed over to Seattle for the 43rd Annual University of Washington Invitational Taikai (UW Taikai).  We followed the normal routine of leaving Friday afternoon and training with our friends at Bellevue the night before.  The dojo was packed for that practice, even though a handful of members were gone for the Jr. Nationals going on in Georgia that same weekend.  I was able to do some practice, shiai practice and jigeiko with many, many people and ended the night tired and satisfied.

Saturday morning we headed out to the tournament.  Since there were only a couple of us we decided to forego the morning warm-ups, instead opting to warm up after lunch when our divisions were ready to go.  After opening ceremonies we both reported to our respective courts.  I was able to judge a LOT of matches that day, spanning the women's and 1-2 Dan division before being let go for lunch.  I even got to be shushin for the women's final match between Robillard and D…

Seattle Bound

The last few weeks I've been able to attend a special practices in Seattle, courtesy of JM Sensei. The focus has been on shiai, mostly, but a lot of the tidbits of information are practical for all aspects of kendo and improvement, and I'm slowly working them into my regular routine here at home.

The drives over haven't been bad.  Seattle is about four hours from my house and I've had to wait until after work to jump on the road so it's been a lot of late nights driving over.  Fortunately, the pass has been good to me going over and back and I haven't been stuck or delayed at all.  It's always a gamble this time of year how the weather and conditions will be going over, but I only ever saw snow on my last drive home, and it was barely snowing at that.  Of course, the evidence of the week prior were all over the side of the road, as I heard it dumped about fifty inches in a couple days up there a few days before I came through.  In fact, the pass and freewa…

2018 In Review

It's a new year!  A time to reflect on what came before and how to improve for the future.  Last year wasn't full of a lot of significant moments for me but there were a few standouts, including trying to get back to regularly writing new posts here.  I have to say, I did a lot better job at it than I did in 2017, where I wrote one (1!) article.  Looking back through my timeline, I actually wrote more posts in 2018 than I have since 2012, coming in at twenty-two articles.  Not bad.  I'd like to think that even if I don't write anything educational here, it is at least entertaining.  I'm not a high-ranking teacher or have a ton of experience, but I like writing and sharing what I know and what I've done, along with some of the very real struggles that I have in my pursuit of kendo.

One of the biggest moments of last year had to be passing my test for 4 dan in February.  I can't believe it's been almost a year already!  It seems like it just happened, a…

Kent Taikai 2018: How to Deal with Disappointment

A sobering entry today, but hopefully a valuable lesson for me and anyone reading.

Last weekend my dojo mates and I participated in the Kent Taikai in Kent, WA.  I look forward to this tournament as it's a little smaller and more intimate than the PNKF Taikai we attended last month, and it's a chance to catch up with my kendo friends in the area as well as participate in some good matches.  This year delivered in that regard.

We had six competitors this year, ranging from 1-3 kyu up to the 3-4 dan divisions.  One of our new-to-us members participated, as well, so that was fun to welcome him to our crazy taikai weekend trips.  The trip itself went well, and the pass was clear for us so we had a smooth ride to the Seattle area and to training at the Bellevue Kendo Club on Friday night.  It was a good night, and I was able to have a lot of quality keiko with the kodansha over there, as well as received some helpful feedback and advice that I'll be putting into practice soon.

PNKF Taikai 2018

Last weekend a few of my dojo mates and I loaded up and headed to Seattle for the 44th Annual PNKF Taikai.  This is the biggest tournament in our region and sees many, many people from not only around our federation but also from Canada, Hawaii and beyond.  This year I heard we had around 300 participants and welcomed a couple of new participating dojos, including a new dojo from Canada and from as far away as New Jersey.

Our trip to the tournament began the day before.  Friday three of us headed over for training at Bellevue Kendo Club.  J Marsten Sensei welcomed us with greetings and a good, hard practice.  I picked up some new things to try for my own improvement, and after warm-ups and some basic drills we broke into open floor.  I was able to practice with some of my long time friends before I was grabbed by one of the members and pulled over to own line.  I relished the chance to practice with her, since I haven't had a chance throughout all of these years, and she did not …