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Showing posts from November, 2011

Kent Taikai 2011

(All photos courtesy of T. Patana - Sno-King)

This past weekend our dojo made its way over the mountains and across the state to attend the 15th Annual Kent Taikai.  This time around we didn't train on Friday night, instead opting to have a relaxed trip over and an evening of hanging out at the hotel and relaxing so we were all fresh and ready for the tournament on Saturday.

Saturday arrived and I felt pretty good.  I tried to remember to have a relaxed, carefree attitude about the day's events, instead just focusing on doing my best throughout the day.  I was able to compete not only in the individual matches in the 1-3 Kyu division, but Sinclair Sensei also decided to put me on the Spokane A team for the Senior Team division.  That not only meant more matches for me, but also matches against people that could range from 0 Kyu up to 3 Dan (I believe 3 Dan was the highest we had people competing at that tournament).  The juniors and junior teams came and went and I got to see…

A Time To Reflect

Recently I had a short hiatus from Kendo practice.  I had real-world things to take care of (errands, etc) that needed to get done, but during that time I was able to take a step back to reflect on my current standing with Kendo.  One thing I realized is that sometimes I push myself too far.  I try to do too much too often and it wears me out.  Not only physically but mentally, as well, and when I'm in that kind of position it's impossible to practice at full spirit and energy.  I started practicing Kendo, and continue to do so, because I love Kendo.  I love the physical and mental aspects.  I love the people, both at my home dojo and the friends that I've made abroad.  I love the culture and heritage and I love that the more I practice the more those qualities from Kendo that I learn start to reflect in my everyday life.  I need to remember these points and keep them at the forefront of my mind, and I think sometimes a break is good for me, maybe even necessary, so that I…

PNKF Taikai 2011

This weekend we had our annual PNKF Taikai in Seattle, WA.  For us Spokane member is meant not only the tournament itself, but a full weekend of travel and Kendo.  We left Friday afternoon from Spokane and arrived in time for practice with our friends at the Bellevue dojo.  Jeff Marsten Sensei gave us the time for open floor that night and I was able to do jigeiko with some old friends as well as some new friends.  We also had a special treat; the Hawaiian team joined us all at Bellevue, as well.  They were impressive, to say the least, and all had very fast, very strong Kendo.  Seeing skill like that in person is always inspiring and gives me goals to shoot for in my own development.  Afterward we all headed back to our hotel for a night of rest and relaxation (and dinner!).

The next day was tournament time.  We headed out and arrived early to the site so that we could change and warm-up before everything started.  This year was my first time in the 3-1 Kyu division at this taikai, b…

Small But Effective

We had a small, intimate class last night, with only 8 of us training, but having small classes can be advantageous for those of us that are able to attend.  A lot of times we're able to do different drills, or focus on different things that we wouldn't normally focus on, or even get different instruction on different area of Kendo or techniques or things of that nature.  Last night we were able to do a whole mixed bag of drills that focused mainly on breathing correctly while striking and on keeping our centers underneath us and moving from there. 

After warm-ups and Kirikaeshi we got into Men drills, with the emphasis on breathing.  Ideally we should be able to take a big breath in and then let it out slowly before we attack so that we don't get into a habit of "Breathe in, lift shinai.  Breathe out, strike."  This is very inefficient and slow, so we should work to take a big breath in and then slowly let it out so that we always have that breath to strike with…