Skip to main content


I received some really good news last week, which pertains to one of my goals for this year.  I have been recommended to test for nidan at the next regional shinsa, which will be in March.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity and I feel that all of the training and instruction I've received from my sensei and my dojo mates has prepared me for it.  It also made me stop and think about where my kendo was, is, and where it's going.  I started kendo in May of 2009 and four years later I'm here, standing on the edge of nidan.  It's been a wild ride, for sure, and I've put in countless hours of practice, both inside and outside of the dojo.  I don't think I've done anything spectacular, though.  Quite the opposite.  I think most of what I have now is from my sensei and his instruction and encouragement, and from the other dojo members pushing me to do my best, even when I didn't know exactly what my best was.  The one thing I will admit to having a lot of is determination.  I'm very good at pushing myself even when I don't necessarily feel like doing kendo or going to class, and (for good and bad) I'm able to keep telling myself "just one more drill, just one more round, just one more..." even at times when I'm physically drained and exhausted.  I believe that part of me, coupled with the great dojo that I'm a part of, is what has brought me to where I am today, and what will take me to even greater heights in the future.

As far as actual practice goes, we've been working a lot on kodachi kata 1, breaking it down to its basic movements while also getting used to handling the kodachi.  It's a very awkward feeling for me, going from my bokuto down to the kodachi.  The way you hold it, the footwork and kamae all feel weird to me right now, but on the other hand I'll have plenty of time to practice and improve!  This bit of time with the kodachi has been the main focus of our practices lately (for the yudansha, at least).  I love learning new things, especially when they're related to kendo.  The rest of practice has been a mix of kirikaeshi, uchikomi, jigeiko, and endurance drills.  One of the main things we've been told to focus on there is making our practice count.  In other words, make our uchikomi drills feel like our hits in jigeiko, or in shiai-geiko.  They should, ultimately be one in the same, which goes along with our motto of "Train like you fight, fight like you train." 

Ever since I got the news that I can test I've been trying to actively step it up at practice.  I don't know why this would have been the catalyst to start me on my way, but something inside me said "Ok Chris, this is starting to get serious," and since then I've been trying to keep that a focus as I'm out on the floor.  What I want is to bring together what I know at this point so that it all works together, and keep building from there.  This goes along with my goals of refinement and beauty that I set for myself at the beginning of this year.  So far I feel like the quality of my practice has improved and I'm not only doing better with the drills and with jigeiko, but I'm also pushing myself to improve, even if it's just a little bit each practice.  It's definitely an exciting feeling.  I still mess up all the time, but the focus is there, and so is the determination.


Popular posts from this blog

The Ups and Downs of Kendo

Anyone that knows me knows that I love kendo.  I don't think I could do as much as I do with it if I didn't.  But loving kendo doesn't mean that it's easy.  Far from it, in fact!  If anyone says otherwise I would honestly question if they're doing it right.  From the first day where everything is brand new, to years down the road where you're trying to figure out the mental side of things, it's a challenge.

I've often had times when I just wasn't getting something.  Whether it was a new waza, or a new timing for an existing waza, or any other number of things that came up during training, sometimes things didn't click with me, and I would have many, many practices that felt fruitless.  It seems that every time that happened, though, If I kept at it and practiced, it would eventually click with me.  I'd wake up one day and "get it".  Not to say I'd be perfect at it, but the overall shape or timing would suddenly be there.  It r…

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.

Training Through Adversity

We are officially out of the old dojo and into our new (temporary) location in the valley.  Fortunately we were able to keep the same schedule in the same location, instead of having to change the training days and/or locations throughout the week.  We were also able to continue training from the old dojo to the new location without missing a beat, as we only took a day off for Independence Day last week before we were back at it that weekend. 

All is not fun and games, though, depending on how you look at it.  The new location comes with its own challenges and we're all going to go through some growing pains as we adjust and learn to use the space effectively.  This change has made me think about the way I train and how to put a positive spin on it and use it to continue to improve, hence the reason for this post!  Hopefully this will shed some light on my thought process when it comes to training in conditions that aren't ideal or optimal. 

Two of the biggest issues that I&…