Sunday, April 30, 2017

My experience in Ki in Kendo - Awa

Thumb up - Awa

[Experience sharing from 3rd Dan and above senpai]
Body-Mind IntegrationHow do you use your Ki (mental/spiritual power) to lead your Ken and/or Tai (sword and/or body; physical power) in Kendo keiko?

Ki – this is how I use Ki to help me in keiko and kendo in general.

Ki through kiai to help my breathing and settle my mind but make it active and ready which also includes my body.

Ki- to increase my vigour when tired. To get ready quicker and having that ippon feeling throughout my body. 

My ki is also affected by how I interpret my body and mind on the day. If I haven’t rested well or I am physically tired I try to use my ki to pump myself up. Usually done by a louder kiai or remembering my goals. 

If I am injured or sore focus on my strengths and strategies I can use to manage my body but with stronger ki to help complete the cuts. 

Using my breath to focus ki and keeping lower abdomen engaged (tense) and vice versa breathing out slowly to focus ki and knowing when you breathe in that your ki is naturally weaker. 

Star War @ Hamilton City Library, 2016 

In keiko

When my ki is stronger than the opponents I feel in control and can set the keiko to my pace, this requires understanding your opponent and yourself. Something I am working on is knowing when my ki is weak and when my opponent’s is strong. If my ki is weak I shouldn’t attack but wait until I have gathered my focus (ki) again and sense when there is a change in my opponents and strike when there is a drop in theirs. The difficulty here is your opponent may drop their ki on purpose to open debana waza or kaeshi. 

Body wise I use to push through pain and tiredness. In tenouchi and zanshin and the waist to move past quickly. 

To be a better modatachi by creating a connection between kakarite and lifting their spirit up (ki/focus) and keeping that intensity there. With this modatachi needs to work in synchronisation with kakarite. In addition to this kakarite needs to do their best 100% otherwise it becomes one-sided and the connection is lost. 

A strong ki is built through determination, goal setting, hard training, and pressure to improve oneself (goals), the ability to filter and manage one’s mind and a positive outlook on life. Also having confidence in oneself and their abilities. This is what I think helps develop my ki to become stronger. 

Also I don’t do this 100% of the time it varies from training to training dependent on how I am physically and mentally that day. Having a goal to work on helps keep my ki strong. I have a sort of checklist that I use to quickly reflect and monitor my kendo. E.g. Kiai, step in strike (instant reflection – did I hit the correct area with the right technique, right part of kensen, was my zanshin quick and correct, did I drop my ki anywhere if so why/ improve it the next cut. The next cut more ki if tired or zanshin was poor. 

A good modatachi should be able to recognise when kakarite Ki is strong or not and if not lift them up. I like it when modatachi does this :)

This is my understanding and sense of Ki. It may be not quite right so please let me know if I have misinterpreted it. 

Many thanks for reading my long post 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Kendo makes me try harder - Georgia

Georgia H.
Beginners' reflection on "how Kendo has influenced my everyday life?"

Kendo has influenced me by making me more fit, and it gets me off the couch just to practice. It gets me to do more than play games. When I work hard in Kendo, it makes me work harder on my other activities from school sports and games. 

It also helps me to want to do more, to try harder. Even in crafts and when I am doing school work. Now I try harder in everything I do.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Welcome to our 2017 Beginner Class

2017 Kendo Beginners at Waikato 
Class starts from 4 March 2017 

Many thanks to Awa, Spyke, Jing and Iris 
for their contributions at the University Clubs Day

Kendo Demonstration at the Clubs Day

Explaining the inquiry about Kendo

Preparing the posts for the Clubs Day

Lesson One: Kendo etiquette

Starting to handle Shinai, the bamboo sword

Seme and Ai-ki: Interaction and synchronising 

Thanks to all the dojo senpai coming to help the Beginner Class!

I think we all had a great time! 

Monday, January 09, 2017

Our First Keiko in 2017

We had our 1st 2017 keiko on Saturday 7 January.

A warm welcome to Walter from London and Minh Ha from Paris.
Also, welcome Jason moving from Otago to Hamilton and
Colin picking up shinai again!

It is really a special keiko to see such old and new faces!

Walter led a waza practice on debana kote.

Waza practice on debana kote




When Walter was introducing himself to the Waikato kohai, 
Sam was surprised to hear that Walter started his Kendo here "fifteen" year ago!
It was then confirmed from a simple math: 2017-2002 = 15!

It is great to see Walter's dedication in Kendo, both a cornerstone in the NZ Team since 2006 and a recent achievement in Godan (5th Dan). Wish him and Minh Ha have a great time in NZ and a safe trip back to Europe!

Some more photos are here.

History on the Day
Our 1st Kendo in 2016 (9 January).

Best wishes to Felix, Claire and Zhefu 
who have finished their study and returned to China to start a new page in their life.

Best wishes to Killian for his study at Waikato University and his journey in Karate.  

Our 1st Kendo in 2015 (10 January).

For all the Waikato Kendoka,
Let's keep us well, study hard, work hard, training hard, play hard
and have a wonderful 2017 together! 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

2016 Novice Championship Results

Results of the 9th New Zealand Novice Championship
12-13 November 2016


It is a special Novice Champ this year because we have Awatea Yi-Williams and Walt Kim who have participated the 1st Novice since 2008 when they were Kendo Beginners. This year, both of them have achieved Yondan (4th Dan) kendo and served as shinpan-in (referee) in this championship.

It is a great pleasure to see so many talented young people have dedicate themselves in Kendo and the Novice Champ is a part of their Kendo journey. 

Furthermore, we thank Alan Stephenson sensei for his long service as the Shinpan-cho (chief judge) and running the shinpan seminar in the Novice Champ. Huge thank to contribution and supports from Graham Sayer sensei, the President of NZKF who just returned from Japan, and Kirk Doran sensei. We also thank Naoko Goto, Leo Lin, Thomas Hong, Kai Yoshitani and Lina Igarashi for supporting the shinpan duty.

Lastly, we thank Marleen Charng sensei for the efforts of organising this great event and all the Waikato Kendo Club members who have helped the hard work behind the scene. 

Ki-hon Enbu Division

1st Position
Wade Kenny
2nd Position
Georgia Hunter 
3rd Position
Sam Kim 
Fighting Spirit
Logan Vickers
Griffin Walford

Youth Division (under 14)

1st Position
Chihiro Igarashi
2nd Position
Rosa Hartnoll 
3rd Position
Miho Yotsumoto
Fighting Spirit
Shino Yotsumoto 

Women's Kyu Division

1st Position
Rosa Hartnoll
2nd Position
Miho Yotsumoto 
3rd Position
Shino Yotsumoto 
Fighting Spirit
Danni Li
Clay Zhou 

Women's Dan Division

1st Position
Shawn Zhang
2nd Position
Joyce Tsai 
3rd Position
Chihiro Igarashi
Fighting Spirit
Claire van der Goes 

Men's Kyu Division

1st Position
Rex Wu
2nd Position
Tony Zhong 
3rd Position
Jonathan Croxton 
Fighting Spirit
Tomohiro Eason

Men's Dan Division

1st Position
Nicholas Robertson
2nd Position
Jordan Te Wharau 
3rd Position
Fan Kiang
Fighting Spirit
Yusuke Igarashi

Inter-Club Team Division

1st Position
Junshinkan Team B
DJ Byun
Yusuke Igarashi
Crystal Zhong
2nd Position
Auckland Team C

Cong Wang
Makoto Kuroda

3rd Position
Waikato Team A
Spyke Lawrey
Joyce Tsai
Jordan Te Wharau

Club of the Year

Junshinkan Kendo Club 

Daehan Mudo Kwan

St. John's College Kendo Club

More photos are available at the event Facebook Page:

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Ann - What have I learnt in Kendo?

30 November 2016
Congratulations to Ann's first time of putting on Gi & Hakama! 

Answering the question of "What have I learnt in Kendo?" we asked in our Beginners Class, Ann answered: 

I began my Kendo journey in July 2016 and I haven’t stopped learning since. The techniques in cutting and movements have taught me to be more graceful and nimble. I am more observant to finesse and because of that, I am more motivated to perform well. Furthermore, they are very good exercises and I feel lighter and fitter than before. 

Besides the cutting techniques and posture in Kendo, I have learnt several life lessons, patience being the most prominent one. I had a hard time in completing tasks within a team because I had high expectations of team members and wanted tasks to be completed within a less than ideal time limit. So I tried to put that under control and thankfully, Kendo reinforced that. I am more than willing to work in a team and I do not dread being in a team as much as before. 

Apart from being patient with others, Kendo has taught me to be patient with myself. I am always critical of myself and barely forgiving. Making mistakes is my worst nightmare and I often choose to be harsh instead of letting go and moving on. Throughout my Kendo lessons, I made mistakes and they upset me very much.

The bright side of my disappointment is that it means I care about Kendo. Regardless, it was upsetting to make mistakes. However, with everyone’s support, I practiced and worked on my weaknesses and improved. With all that support, I became a more accepting person and I realised that going through the learning process including making mistakes and correcting them is more rewarding than succeeding immediately. The time taken to learn helped me strengthened my ‘kihon’ (basics) and made me more alert to the slightest misstep. 

Apart from all that, I have changed from a soft-spoken person to a more confident person. I am more likely to voice my opinion at my workplace and make suggestions. 

Due to these changes, I feel happier and I am more open to taking on more responsibilities. The ‘kiai’ we do during lessons contributes the most to my confidence boost. In a way, the ‘kiai’ gives my form energy and a huge increase in my strength. I did not have this spirit before and that caused me to be a reserved person. Being outspoken is the best thing I have ever experienced and I wish to be in this form for times to come. 

Besides building character, I have made many friends through Kendo. I have exchanged cultural information and I have learnt to see things from other people’s point of view and that has opened my mind to other possibilities. 

I wish for Kendo to be a part of my life because it has introduced many things to me that I did not think feasible before.

Name: Liew Carl Ann

- - - - -

Ki-ai 気合:

The state where one is fully focused on the opponent's move and one's planned moves. Also, it refers to the vocalisations one produces when in such a state of mind. (Japanese-English Dictionary of Kendo)

Kiai is a Japanese term used in martial arts for the short yell or shout uttered when performing an attacking move. (Wikipedia)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Daughter and Father in Kendo - Richard and Lilly

2016 Beginner Class-B Grading
17 September 2016


I wasn't intending to join Kendo club at first, it was really Lilly's request, she had been asking to join since the beginning of the year.

When we came and observed beginners class briefly to see what it was like, I was very impressed by the atmosphere of tradition, kindness and respect.

There was a strong feeling of family, and as visitors we were made to feel very welcome.
So I became excited about joining this group with Lilly.

The greatest benefit I have gained from our short time with Kendo so far has been strengthening the bond between my daughter and I.

Training together as equals, helping each other, and having conversations relating to philosophical aspects of life, inspired by Kendo training have given us a greater sense of mutual respect.

The positive qualities we have been learning from our new Kendo family such as patience, clarity, focus, spirit, humility and kindness have made a positive impact on our personal life at home, and how we relate to each other.

For this I am very grateful.

Its a great start to our Kendo journey!


As soon as my dad had told me about Kendo I was eager to join in.

I had read books and watched cartoons that have inspired me to become a great swordsman.

When me and dad went to look at the Beginners Class-A we were moved by the passion, kindness, and respect the members showed for Kendo and each other, even we were warmly welcomed.

This made me even more eager to learn.

Since I started Kendo all has been great.

I have learnt so much about perseverance, patience, communication, strength, fitness, and much more.

But the things that have most affected me are balance, form, confidence, and even I think I've learnt about myself.

One thing I love about Kendo (and have loved it from the beginning) is the people!
It`s great how everyone treats each other.

As soon as I set foot in the Dojo I feel I feel respected and equal by and with everyone around me and that makes me feel happy to respect them back.

Thank You Sam and everyone at Waikato Kendo Club for welcoming us and all your help and guidance.

15 October 2016

Richard and Lilly.