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Kendo Journey: A "Travel Guide" from Shodan to Godan-and-a-Half

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Waikato Kendo Association Grading (2009)

Kendo Journey: A Travel Guide from Shodan to Godan-and-a-Half (中文
by Sam Tsai
December 27, 2017

Those that know me should know that back in 1998, Marleen and I moved to Hamilton, New Zealand and ended up being the only two people that practiced kendo within the 100 kilometers radius. In the following year, the stars were aligned as we formed the Waikato Kendo Association and I found myself shouldering the responsibility of being a kendo instructor.


Practicing kendo myself and teaching others how to do kendo are totally different things!
About half a year after we established the dojo, Hsu Heng-Hsiung sensei, coach of Team Taiwan, led a delegation of more than 20 kenshi to come visit us in New Zealand. About a year after their visit, I was in Taiwan visiting sensei. The first thing he said to me was, “Tell me, what are you having trouble teaching?”

I could not help myself but laugh out loud as I replied, “Coach you are wise and all knowing!”

Beyond the…

2017 Yamagami sensei Seminar - Jason

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2017 Yamagami Sensei Seminar Auckland Kendo Club

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Reflection on the seminar with Yamagami Sensei and the students. Jason Nguyen, 1st kyu, male.
Synchronise
At first I only found it interesting to see the three female students of Yamagami Sensei walking into the dojo in order, at the same pace and then sitting down at the same time. It was like a marching.
Then I had a chance to practice the basic waza in a synchonised group of two pairs. This is a great experience because not only I tried to focus on myself and my motodachi but I also observed what was going on with the other pair. It was not easy for me though but I understood the importance to improve my awareness of the surroundings and to synchronise.
Strategies in fighting
I learned the strategies: strike at the same time or just before the opponent makes their move; induce the opponent to make their move and then strike; block and strike. At my level I could not follow what is going on in the fighting because of very fast pace but I wi…

Kendo – The Way of the Sword By Chris Williams

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Kendo – The Way of the Sword By Chris Williams (2013)
When I set out to write a piece for this paper on the sword-fighting martial art of Kendo, I had no idea just how challenging it would be, to not only try and capture the true essence of the sport using only paper and pen, but to do so in a seriously short amount of time (I’m writing this the day before it’s due – something many students could relate to). Note this isn’t code for a Wikipedia cut-in-paste.

First, a little history: The modern form of Kendo has been distilled from many forms of Japanese sword-based martial arts, known collectively as kenjutsu, and underpinned by the teachings of Zen Buddhism. In 11th century feudal Japan, sword-fighting was the realm of the military man, along with horse riding and archery. While it’s largely accepted that the earliest form of kenjutsu were established during this time, the art truly flourished during the 1600’s; right up until the modernisation of Japan in the 19th century. Banned along…

Kendo and Me - Claire

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Something Sam sensei said tonight really stuck with me: "Kendo is not work, it's fun." Kendo is not only fun, but its also a skill and a way of life. We practice it just like any other skill such as running and painting by hours practice and repetition. The interesting thing is that Kendo, more strongly than any other skill I've acquired, shapes and moulds your character, making it also a way of life.

To become good at any skill you must have mastery over the basics, and the only way to get that is through practice. I am still struggling with the basics so my goal is to train hard at every practice so I can master the basics while it influences my life for the better.

Kendo reflection on Wednesday 30 August 2017

My Kendo Journey - Aiden

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2017 Beginners - Aidan M.  Intermediate School Student

Reflection about what I have learned from the Beginner Class:

All through my learning in kendo I have been learning new movement, new theory, new etiquette.

At the start we learnt footwork and etiquette.

(We learnt these every-day but we were introduced to them then).

In the first lesson (the trial). We learnt basic forward, backward, left and right movement. This was interesting, not what I expected in fact I thought there would be nothing if not very little, practical however I learnt heaps. Surprisingly (to you) this discombobulated me I was expecting a explanation of kendo and an explanation of what we were to do in the upcoming 15 weeks. This did happen, but it wasn't the whole 90 minutes. It was about 20 minutes, the other 70 minutes was practical. This is the lesson I learnt the most in. That is a surprise to me for I thought that I would learn the most in the second. They also showed me how bad my posture is.

Then we…

[Hamilton Press] Hamilton sword fighting family says kendo not only for men

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Hamilton sword fighting family says kendo not only for menKELLEY TANTAU Last updated 15:44, June 15 2017
Joyce Tsai, 15, is likely to be New Zealand's youngest kendo representative at the 2018 world championships, after learning the sport from her parents Marleen Charng and Sam Tsai.
When Sam Tsai moved to Hamilton in 1998 he didn't speak English, didn't have any money and didn't know anyone.
Despite this, he was encouraged to start up the region's first kendo club, and in 1999, he received 105 enrolments.
"I'll never forget this number," Tsai said.
Marleen Charng and Sam Tsai formed the Waikato Kendo Club in 1999. Their daughter Joyce now also competes.
Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art which descended from swordsmanship, and combines martial arts practices with physical activity.
"Kendo is not only a physical sport, there is a lot of philosophy behind it," Tsai said. "It can be a way of life."
In 2001, New Zealand held its very first…

My experience in Ki in Kendo - Awa

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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 breath…

Kendo makes me try harder - Georgia

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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.



Welcome to our 2017 Beginner Class

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2017 Kendo Beginners at Waikato  Class starts from 4 March 2017 
More information is available here. 
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! 









Our First Keiko in 2017

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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
Ji-geiko

Ji-geiko

Ji-geiko
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 …

2016 Novice Championship Results

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

Acknowledgment 
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 as 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 gre…