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Another Year, Another Decade

What a whirlwind year 2019 was for me.  It seemed to come and go quicker than I've ever seen in prior years.  One minute I was ringing in the new year, and now I stand on the edge of this year, not to mention this decade. 

2019 brought a lot of changes for me, both big and small.  I started a new job, which I'm thoroughly enjoying.  I was able to start traveling again, which I've always loved to do (even if it is for work).  We have not one but two new venues for training here in Spokane and were able to finish out the last few months strong, even though we had a bit of a lull in training due to no dojo.  Despite that, though, I was still able to clock 92 days of training this year.  Not bad for not having our own dojo for six months, I think.  I'll be shooting to break that number next year!

One of my biggest wins this year, personally, was the fact that I consistently did suburi every single day.  I'm part of a group on Facebook called the Hundred Suburi Club …
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Kendo in the Lone Star State

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Dallas, TX for a week for work.  Being me, I brought my bogu and shinai, of course, and planned on using my free evenings to check out the local kendo.  I was not disappointed.  I was able to get in four trainings total, amongst two different dojos.

My first night of training was with the fine folks at Dallas Fort Worth.  Ichimura Sensei and company were very friendly and accepted me in for training.  I made some fast friends and enjoyed keiko with many students and teachers.  Cooper Sensei struck me as very jovial, both inside and outside of practice, and I had a wonderful time exchanging attacks and conversation with him.  I put forth my best efforts, and appreciated getting to see and experience kendo way outside of my comfort zone in the PNKF region.  The two hour class went quick, but I had a couple more practices lined up there so I looked forward to visiting again.

My next training was at Plano Dojo, home of Chris Yang Sensei.…

PNKF Taikai 2019

Last weekend my buddy and I competed in the 45th annual PNKF Taikai.  Unfortunately we were the only ones that could attend, but we still meant to show our pride and skills on the floor for all of our dojo mates and others we've trained with.

The weekend was full of not only great kendo and competition at the tournament itself, but also the night before as we were able to join Cascade Dojo's practice and train with the locals there as well as the Hawaiian team that had flown in for the tournament.  It's always a pleasure to train with them as they have such nice, strong kendo, and I was able to get in lots of keiko with almost all of the visitors, as well as make some new friendships along the way.  The practice was relatively light so it gave us plenty of time to train, catch up, chat a bit and still be ready for the next day.

Saturday was upon us and we arrived early to the venue and warmed up with our friends from Kent and Federal Way.  My division, 4th Dan & Up, …

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…

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…