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Showing posts from August, 2010

Spokane Kendo Camp 2010 pt. 2 - War!!

Some shots of the dojo we had for the weekend.

Well I covered a bit of the training that we had during camp, and the overall message of keeping a connection with our partner. Sensei also explained how this permeated everything that we did, and that we also practiced keeping connections with the group/team as a whole. We hung out together this weekend. We ate together. Slept as a group together. And played together.

Sunday morning, after breakfast, we all gathered up for a game of War...well, everyone with bogu, that is. If you don't know what War is, let me explain real quick. War is a game that we play in teams or as a free-for-all. We tie balloons to various valid strike points on our bogu, and the object is to pop everyone else's balloons. Doing so will make them "dead" and they are out of the game. The winner is the one left standing with balloons at the end. They then get beat up by everyone else that played the game until their balloons are gone, as…

Spokane Kendo Camp 2010 pt. 1 - Making and Keeping Connections

For the second year in a row I was able to participate in the Spokane Kendo camp, and it was a blast. We had about 10 or so people that camped the whole weekend with us (Friday through Sunday), and about 16 people that showed up for the training on Saturday. We had good food, good training, good fellowship, and it was definitely a weekend to remember.

Things kicked off on Friday when we all arrived that evening to set up and get everything in order. We started off the activities with a "fling sock" fight. They are basically bean bags that are attached to long tails, so you can whip them around and toss them. Being the group that we are, we decided to toss them straight at each other. There were some hits, some misses, and some very close calls, and we actually ended up getting a lot of the kids that were camping in on it as well (I wish I had pictures of this!).

After dinner that night we all huddled around the campsite, talking and sharing stories and getting to know …


So I ended up taking an unintentional hiatus this week. I felt like I was very, very busy with work and Kendo and everything else that goes on in my life. It's a real shock to go from unemployment straight back into full-time work, so I've been trying to adjust to that again and get myself back into a rhythm. Hopefully soon things will settle down, and I'll at least feel like everything is in order again. With that said, let's continue!

Both Monday and Wednesday night we went over Kote-Men. The main lesson that I learned on Monday can be summarized with "Think fast, be fast." Speed comes from proper technique and training, but we have to have the right mindset, as well. If we think that we're slow, we will be. If we think that we're fast, everything will soon follow.

Wednesday night we opened with a lengthy discussion about the proper way to handle our uniforms, bogu, and equipment (chakuso, I believe is the correct term). This includes not o…


Practice last night was pretty intense, but very rewarding. I felt really good. Physically, my thumb and heel are healing up, so I was able to go longer without having to step out...actually I didn't step out at all last night. Also since I had missed practice in the valley the night before, I was really looking forward to getting into the dojo and practicing. Also we did a few new drills and variations that we haven't done in a while. It's always fun when we mix things up. We also played a game called "pig in the pen," which I'll explain more later. Also, lastly, my brother and mom showed up for practice, to watch. My brother is going to join the new beginner's class in a few weeks, and my mom stayed and watched our whole practice, which I appreciated very much.

Since Sinclair Sensei, McNally Sensei, and Ando Sensei were absent last night, Wendy led class. We had a pretty small class, only about a dozen or so people, but everyone gave their all a…


So, first of all I avoided injuring myself further last night, so I'm very happy about that. I took it pretty easy and relaxed last night, and just did a couple rounds of jigeiko so I could avoid bruising my heel any more or jamming my thumb again. I'll continue to take it easy for the next week or so until I'm back to 100%.

We started out a bit differently last night, and I'm always welcome to new drills. After bowing in, we practiced standing and sitting in seiza, back and forth. The focus was on our posture and centers and keeping our backs straight and keeping a good posture. As I mentioned before in this recent post, good posture in seiza can translate into good posture during keiko, and can help with overall better Kendo. We also practice standing and sinking down into sonkyo, with our focus, again, on keeping our backs straight and having good posture.

After warm-ups, we worked a bit on footwork, keeping our toes down during fumikomi, and practiced going b…


First off, injuries suck. A lot. I'm currently dealing with a jammed thumb, which I just touched up a bit last night (by running into another opponent during jigeiko), a bruised heel, and a bruised elbow from a missed Do strike. Not the best week for me, so I will definitely keep it light on Saturday if I go. I'm thinking about missing that practice so that I can let my body heal up a bit more. As much as I hate the thought of missing practice, I'd rather be able to give it my all then have to be overly careful and cautious due to injuries that I sustained. Plus I'm hoping if I have more time to heal than I'll be able to recover more quickly.

Last night I really didn't feel like myself, either. I felt distracted and a bit down, due to outside circumstances, but I continued to practice as best I could. I could definitely tell, though, that I didn't have my whole heart into it. But when you do Kendo for any amount of time, I guess it's unavoidable…

Stroud Sensei and the Return of Billy

Sounds like the title for an epic martial arts movie...or at least a good anime episode.

Monday night we had a visiting sensei lead our Iaido and Kendo training. Stroud Sensei from Idako Kendo Club in Boise, ID was gracious enough to come and lead/train with us, and I will do my best to try and recall here some of the key points that he taught and elaborated on. We also had one of our dojo members, Billy, return to us. He has been in Japan for school and Kendo training for the past four months, so it was very good to have him back at our dojo.

After warm-ups, we all gathered around while Stroud Sensei went over a basic Men strike. He said that even though we are in practice, we should perform the strikes and movements with full dedication and spirit, as if it were going to count in a shinsa or taikai. Our strikes can be big, but not too big (not behind the back like in jogeburi). Our footwork should be smooth yet quick, with the left foot pulling back into a good stance as quickly…

Endurance Training 101

Just a few words about teaching before I start my normal post. I definitely have a lot more respect for teachers now. I had a lot before, but after this weekend I can see what a tough position it really is. I had a chance to experience two different teaching situations. The first one, on Friday night at the valley dojo, I had a plan of action and knew, roughly, what I was going to do, so practice went fairly well. I taught the beginners and the time went by smoothly, and we were able to cover everything that as left for me to do. Saturday, though, I got thrown into the fire a bit. I had to lead the one intermediate member that came to class, and I had no plan and was not prepared to do that at all, but I did my best and went over some drills and points that we had been covering lately. I have to say I definitely like the planned route better, but in both situations I did my best to cover material and techniques that were relevant to each class's experience level.

Saturday w…

It Starts with Seiza

Since I joined the intermediate class, as well as trained in advanced, I was able to hear this information twice, so I hope that I can convey the feeling that I'm looking for properly. Sinclair Sensei brought it up a bit during intermediate, and then expanded on it during advanced class.

He said that there is a saying among some more experience kenshi that states the key to finding opportunities to attack is in a good seiza. Seiza is the traditional seated position we use in Kendo, usually done during the beginning and ending of class, at the very least. You may be asking does sitting properly lead to finding good openings? I asked myself this same question, as would most people, but Sensei did a very good job of explaining the steps taken to get from point A to point B in this discussion.

Let's start with seiza itself. You should have a good position (which I won't try to explain here), and you should have a nice straight back, with a slight arch. The …

Quiet Your Body, Quiet Your Mind

Here's a bit of good news; my foot is feeling better. I still had to step out of a few rounds of jigeiko last night, but my foot is feeling a lot better. Hopefully in another week the pain will be completely gone.

I was quite a bit early last night. I was downtown for a job interview and didn't want to drive all the way back to the valley and then all the way back out, so once 5 o'clock rolled around I headed to the dojo to get ready and to watch Iaido. I really wish I had the time and means to do Iaido, it is a very beautiful art. I enjoyed watching, and noting how fluid the movements were.

I jumped into intermediate class, as usual, and we went over Kihon Kata 1 and 3 in depth. I especially enjoyed the time spent on Harai Men, which is part of Kihon Kata 3. Sensei explained that the movements should stay within the "triangle" created by our shoulders and our head, and that that bokken/shinai tip shouldn't go outside of that triangle while performing Ha…