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Showing posts from June, 2010

No Dojo? We'll Train in The Park!

Lack of organized training is getting to me. I miss the camaraderie and feeling of teamwork and friendship and accomplishment I get when I'm with my fellow kenshi. I also miss putting on my bogu and hitting other people =)

We had a few people show up last night at the park for some suburi and training. There were 4 of us in all (myself, Marek, Jeronimo, and Nathan), and it felt good to train with some others while we're waiting for our dojo floor to be repaired. We went through the team training suburi, which I outlined in this post. We did sets of fifty, and I was surprised and pleased to see that everyone else was able to keep up. A couple of the people that we had there last night don't do the team training, so I know it had to be a bit of a workout for them to do the extra drills. Heck, it's a bit of a workout for me!!

After a short break we all decided to continue on with training, and did some Kirikaeshi, Men, Kote, Do, and Kote-Men drills. Moving through t…

The Bowling Ball Analogy

What a semi-relaxing weekend I had. It was rather busy, but honestly it didn't feel like it. Hung out with family and friends, caught a movie, was taken out to lunch, had some brews and, of course, did some Kendo training!

I've read and heard a quote around the dojo a few times, and I really like it and relate to it, "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late." I believe that this is a major factor in the reason that I started showing up to class as early as I can. I feel that, as a kenshi, I have a responsibility to others, both higher and lower rank, to be available to help in whatever way I can. Right now it's just in small ways (being a Motodachi, sweeping the floor, helping someone with bags, etc), but as time goes on I'll have more and more to do and help with, so I want to be sure to get that mindset going and make it part of my "routine" now so that later on I'll have it etched into me.

I didn…

Straight Lines, Beautiful Kendo

I usually don't like the rain. Especially back when I used to skate a lot. moisture in skate bearings is NOT a good thing, and I've had to change many bearings due to the fact that I was more stubborn than the rain and would go anyway, but the rain always won in the end (and in my wallet!). I have recently discovered a new silver lining to rainy days. It makes for a nice cool environment for Kendo practice!

Last night we not only had a lot of visitors, but we had a very special guest. Nishimori Sensei from the Osaka area of Japan is a Nanadan (7 Dan; right now the highest Kendo rank one can acquire is 8 Dan), and wanted to watch our practice. We were very, very honored to have such a guest at our dojo, and even though he didn't practice with us, he did have a lot of good advice for us afterward (which I'll get to later on). Also he will be in the area fairly regularly, and we were told that he would be leading class every once in a while when he visits. I'm…

What's the best way to relax? Ask McNally Sensei!

I feel good today! I was up a bit late last night, but I dragged myself out of bed regardless to go jogging this morning. I'm able to jog! A little bit, but still it's a LOT better than before when I couldn't jog or hardly even walk long distances without any pain. Yes, go me!!

As the title implies, Sean (McNally Sensei) led class last night, and he wanted to make sure that we were all very relaxed during class. So what did he do? After warm-up exercises he had us do suburi. A LOT of suburi. 50 sets of Jogeburi (swings using full range of motion behind our back and forward), Men, Kote, Sayu-Men (Tai-a sabaki), Katate Men (Only 20 for each hand). We then partnered up to do a hitting drill down and back across the dojo floor. One person would hold Kote height, and the other would fumikomi with each step and hit Kote with each step, as fast as we could. Finally we did 5x5's, down and back. If you don't know what 5x5's are...well, you're lucky!


It's not "Goodbye", it's "See you later!"

What a busy weekend I had! Happiness and sorrow and good times and farewells and training and bowing and even a few tears here and there.

Saturday was Takado Sensei's last practice with us, for now. I say for now, because we are all hoping very much that she is able to at least come back and visit us when time and circumstances allow her to. I, for one, am very grateful I was able to meet and train under such a great sensei, and great person, and I know the rest of our dojo feels the same way. It's going to be hard to imagine training without her from now on, as she's been a big part of our dojo for the past few years (even before I came back), and she's been a big inspiration to myself and everyone else. I hope to keep her teaching and advice close and use it to flourish in my Kendo training.

I arrived early at the dojo on Saturday, not wanting to miss a thing that happened that day, and was honored to be part of another kenshi's testing that day. He is in t…

Basics - Not just for Beginners

Last night was a bittersweet night. It was great to be at practice, and there were some kenshi there that haven't been there in a little while, and it's always, always fun to practice with them! But bad because one of our Sensei is leaving us soon, and she only has one more practice to go before we say goodbye (for now)...

I arrived at the dojo last night early, as I usually do, and was able to help out with the intermediate class a bit before joining in with our normal advanced class. I'm always happy to help out when and where I can, and it's great to see everyone's Kendo coming along nicely. We went over Kihon Kata 1 and 2, and then I donned my bogu and acted as Motodachi for the intermediate kenshi. They went over some new and interesting Do drills, as we did later on in our class.

We bowed in and things started off normal, with our warm-up exercises and stretches, but then Sinclair Sensei had us do something new; something we've never done before. We p…

Going the Distance

Hello All! I am a tired person right now. Friday night practice in Portland, taikai on Saturday, hiking up and down a mountain on Sunday, and then practice at home last night. I'm looking forward to resting a bit today, that's for sure!

We didn't have too many people last night, but it was a great practice nonetheless. Takado Sensei is leaving us very soon, so I want to get the most out of her teaching that I can before she's gone! She will surely be missed.

We started with warm-ups, suburi, and Kirikaeshi. First slow Kirikaeshi, and then faster with three breaths. I'm still working on this part. We moved onto a few rounds of Do Kirikaeshi. Instead of hitting Sayu-Men (Men strikes to the left/right of the head), we strike to the left and right sides of the Do (abdomen area). I'm still very unsure about my Do strikes, so I was going pretty slow on this part, and trying to focus on my opponent instead of looking down at where I was hitting. We finished…

Obukan - The Trip Home and Afterthoughts

Sunday morning rolled around and after a lazy morning and conversations with everyone we packed up and started making our way out of town. We decided to make a few stops along the way, besides stopping for lunch.

Our first stop was at Multnomah Falls. If you haven't been here, I highly suggest is if you are driving through the area, even if just for a few minutes. We made our way to see the falls, and get some pictures, and then we proceeded to hike to the top. There were signs along the way stating "Switchback: 1 of 11" and so on, all the way to the top of the falls. It rained on us the entire time, and not just a little sprinkle but full-on drops of water, so we were all pretty soaked, but still we made our way up the mountain, stopping to take pictures here and there. The entire climb was a little over a mile of winding trail to a small overlook. A group of us, at about switchback 7, decided to run the rest of the way up. The home stretch, as I called it, and we chante…

Obukan - Rose City Taikai

Saturday. Taikai Day. Go Time!

We arrived at the taikai around 9am, and after getting checked in and dressed and ready we did some team warmup and practice. Then it was time for opening ceremonies. From here on out I'll document my own accounts of the day and my own matches and feelings and what not. A lot happened that day, and everyone has their own spin and own exciting stories to tell!

I was placed into the 0-3 Kyu division, and had the first match on our court. My opponent was a fellow from the University of Oregon by the name of Nagamatsu. I stepped onto the floor after hearing our names called out, and found that I was surprisingly calm. Ever since I put in my name for the taikai, I had these overwhelming feelings that I would freeze up from being so nervous in my first match, but I quickly realized that this wasn't the case. My biggest worry for the past few months had disappeared in an instant, and when the shimpan called "Hajime!" I stepped up out o…

Obukan - Friday Night Practice

There aren't many words that can fully describe what transpired this past weekend at the Obukan Taikai, and the trip as a whole, but "awesome" and "amazing" come pretty close.

We had a 3-day trip to Portland, OR for the Rose City Taikai (hosted by Obukan Kendo Club). We left Friday morning, and after a fun trip down there (I'm being totally serious, the trip down was a blast!), we arrived at the dojo around 6:30pm, just in time to get ready for Friday night practice with Obukan.

Being in a dojo that's not your own, you have to realize a few things, one of which is that they do things a bit differently. I did my best to follow along, and everything went fairly smoothly except for a couple of drills. there were about 25 people there that night, most of the group actually being made up of those of us that came from Spokane. We started off with some warmup exercises and then jumped into kirikaeshi. The only difference I noticed here was that most peopl…

Lights, Camera, Action!

It felt like a lifetime since I had been to practice. I was sick last Wednesday, and Saturday and Monday there were no classes due to the Memorial Day holiday. I think, for being out of normal practice, that it went pretty well. I have been doing suburi on my own a lot in the past week, but it's definitely not the same as getting together with my fellow kenshi and having real practice together.

I arrived a bit early, as I usually do, to get dressed and ready for the evening. Sensei called me in to be a target and help with the intermediate class a bit, so I got to do some Kirikaeshi and other hitting drills before advanced class. I was also used for some of the beginners. I'm pretty sure they haven't hit people in armor yet, so it was interesting to see how they all reacted to a real person and a real target after a few weeks of bokken training.

Our class started off with the Hollywood treatment! One of our members, Harvey, is a photographer by trade, and he brought i…