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Showing posts from 2021

Ben - 2021 end of year reflection

Koken-Chiai 2021 交剣知愛 Having started training in Feb 2021 and making it to the end of my first calendar year having spent portions of the year locked down and away from the dojo was pleasing. I found the first half of the year training with the Waikato Kendo Club to be a whirlwind of learning, fitness and focus. The focus in particular became very useful for my work and personal life when the dreaded lockdowns hit. Because I had Kendo I also had a way to focus on my suburi and reduce stress levels dramatically. Kendo flowed into all aspects of my life; I made some big decisions such as changing my job of ten years. One of the deciding factors in changing jobs was the job is in Hamilton, it just so happens that the dojo is too - what a coincidence.  Grading days came and went twice, I managed to progress through to 6th Kyu and gain more understanding of body positioning, kiai and timing but the best thing I discovered was some good friendships. I became the rose between two great thor

Janet - My first step on the path of the sword

My first step on the path of the sword I first encountered Kendo 剣道 about four months ago at a friends invite to come and see. And since then I’ve been going to the Waikato Kendo Club dojo to train as well as doing daily suburi 素振り at home and had recently passed my first grading. To my surprise Kendo has not only helped to train my body but has opened up a whole new perspective for me on life in general. I’ve always been fascinated by modern Japanese budo, and the philosophy behind them to follow a given path or way. Kendo - The way of the sword, is an excellent representation of it. Just like how good handmade swords are forged with care, patience and sweat from fire and hammer, the same can be said about Kendo. It is a way to discipline and shape our character through vigorous practice and training to become a better person that we can be proud of. And through time it helps to mold the mind and body , and cultivate a vigorous spirit , allowing us to gradually hone the skills to fi

Celene - Reflection on Zanshin

𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐊𝐲𝐨𝐭𝐨 - 𝐌𝐢𝐲𝐚𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐨 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐢: 𝐒𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐂𝐚𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥 Loved this short documentary. This documentary had helped me gain more insights on the reason behind Zanshin - how it comes from the ancient swordsman period. But when Alex mentioned how today we don’t carry swords around like them, it has suddenly given me the idea of “𝙯𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙙”. To us, kendo practitioners nowadays, we must also remain vigilant in our daily life following each training, 𝙩𝙤 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙡𝙚𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙗𝙖𝙙 𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙡 𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙜𝙞𝙚𝙨/ 𝙛𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙥𝙤𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙨 𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙘𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙠𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙣 (𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙥𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙙𝙧𝙞𝙫𝙚) 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙠𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙤. Winning or losing, self or others, 𝙬𝙚 𝙢𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙠𝙚𝙚𝙥 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙙 𝙛𝙡𝙪𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚, 𝙖𝙙𝙖𝙥𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙨 𝙦𝙪𝙞𝙘𝙠𝙡𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙛𝙤

Wilkie - My Kendo Journey

My Kendo Reflection When I started Kendo in 2020, I felt a little nervous. But I know that it is the best martial art for people like me to become a Samurai and learn the way of the Samurai and the way of the sword.  When I first heard about the kiai , I was very worried. But then manage to get over it after doing a few kiais myself.  Every time I head to training, I feel more powerful and stronger. Makes me feel like an actual Samurai every time I do Kendo. Around the end of 2020, I manage to get into the intermediate class to join with the other hardworking Samurais and I was excited. I was more eager to do Kendo after joining the intermediate class.  Now part of the intermediate class, I have improved a lot more and am still learning my way through Kendo. After some months of training I started renting Kendo armour and I was even more excited. Then after another few months, the day of the Autumn Grading & Championship came in. I was nervous because I didn’t know that we also ha

Ben - restoring balance to my spirit via Kendo

  Ben Albany – Kendo reflections Grading Day 10 July 2021 Well, my second grading day has come and gone, and I now think back on the things I have learned and at the same time I think forward to my next steps in my kendo journey. Since the last grading day around three months ago many suburi have been cut , footwork has been worked on, and a balance in my life has been sought out. As usual the hectic pace of work-related life and study have meant stress levels increase. I find that kendo is continuing to help restore balance to my spirit, I have not been simply looking at YouTube videos as much these days (although there are lots of good ones to watch) I have been focusing on the physical aspects of training. I have still been watching what I eat, increasing my exercise and trying the best I can to sleep (not much success there yet) I also seek advice from sensei and senpai at the dojo so that I may improve myself. I have started to explore forms of mediation and relaxation, it does me

Andrew - Cutting away other distractions

I have been reflecting on Kendo since my first lesson in Feb 2021. On Sunday, I shared one of my reflection with my church members in my sermon and I thought, I'd share it with my fellow Kendoka too.  During my first Kendo lesson, Sensei Sam explained that Kendo is the " Way of the Sword " and not the " Way of the Knife ". This is because the sword has two cutting edges. One that cuts your opponent and a second imaginary edge that cuts at ourselves; cutting away our bad habits and traits and making us a better person.  I shared with my church that Christianity has a similar teaching. We teach that we are like a grape vine and God cuts away any branch that doesn't bear fruit. However, He does not just stop there. He also prunes the branches that bear fruit so that it (we) will become even more fruitful. As I reflect on this, it seems to me that we are not being diminished as we are "cut" away, instead that cutting away produces a fuller person, a m

Kendo beyond the boundaries of dojo

I would love to share a Kendo reflection from the Hundred Suburi Club written by one of our Beginners who just got her Bogu sending from Japan and is going to have her first training with Bogu on this Saturday.  I am touched by seeing how much thoughts that she has put on linking Kendo and her everyday life and personal development.   * * * 05.05 300 suburi done.  There is definitely quite a difference to do suburi with and without the kote! Getting used to it with practice and patience! It felt like I have become familiar with suburi at the level of “no bogu kendo” but once I entered the next level everything is slightly different and new and it’s a whole new training. (Which is great!)  I also have two additional comments from today:  1) Like what says in the posted drawing “劍即人生” aka “kendo is life” - I get to apply and reflect many kendo concepts in my daily life. Even small things like reminding myself to put the lid back on the laundry liquid or tidy up an area after use is base

Celene - Kendo is a true companion to my life-long journey

Kendo is a true companion to my life-long journey  I have been thinking about what Kendo means to me since sensei asked us this question a few weeks ago. Everyday I’d wake up and think about this - when I drive, when I do the laundry, when I do my suburi… The answer always seemed right in front of me but it was hard to pin point it into exact words. The power of language appears weak in front of this answer as kendo has infiltrated my life in so many aspects and depths.  For me, kendo makes me calm and re-collected. It straighten up my spirit and reinforce the positive self-believe. The positivity (佛教言“正”) is not simply an “optimistic” attitude. Rather, it is a deeply rooted steadiness to allow my spirit to look through the random thoughts and emotions in my head and to understand that behind these deceptive moments of our life, there is “the way”.  I think everyone has their own interpretation of what “the way” is. In my eyes, it manifest in various forms. It could be God in different

Li Lian - Kendo feeds my joy of learning

Kendo is fascinating to me--new words and ideas. I appreciate so much how it teaches me to see things from a completely different perspective; there is a kind of Eastern poetry of movement in Kendo that is a wonder. I am fitter now than when I first started and my muscles ache less and I recover faster.  For now the best thing about Kendo, is that it is an adventure in learning and unconsciously it makes me healthier. In the past, I have tried to get fitter the other way round....focusing on physical fitness goals and becoming bored easily. Kendo feeds my joy of learning and I am blessed with an amazing teacher with a warm bunch of fellow Kendo learners. 2021 Beginner Classes - info You might be interested: A brief introduction of "what is Kendo" to Waikato Beginners  Kendo Journey: A "Travel Guide" from Shodan to Godan-and-a-Half How other Beginners feel about Kendo?

Jennifer - Kendo and Me

Jennifer - Kendo and Me * During this year,  I learnt about the importance of kata, while I thought Kata was just something not important but annoying. In my mind, Kata is something very hard to memorize, but quite useless at the same time, because you can’t really use kata at any time, since it’s not a technique that you can learn from. But throughout this year, I noticed the importance of kata, that you can put it into practice and shiai . As well as kata is very important in mindset and grading. Other than kata, I improved my kendo skill. I focus on more and more detail when I am practicing, like when I am hitting people now, I hit them slow but correctly.  Kendo wasn’t really my thing before, but after shiai and fighting ( keiko ) with other people, I started to feel the fun in kendo. I want to improve myself to become better and better, I want to win battles, I want to get higher grades. Every time I fight with someone, I am afraid that they might beat me, but when I am actually

Focusing on the Purest Cut while Practicing Suburi

 On Kendo and Philosophy  by 小澤博 剣道教士八段 View of life equals view of kendo When I was in my 50s, I had the following conversation with one of my colleagues, professor S., who is a philosopher. I asked him, “Can you explain philosophy to me in a way that I can understand?” Professor S. replied: “What are you talking about? You practice philosophy every day when you think about kendō.” I replied: “ I only think about how I can do kendō better today than yesterday, tomorrow better than today, in a month, in a year… ” “That itself is philosophy”, said professor S. “Which means that I am a philosopher?” I asked. On Kendō and Philosophy Hiroshi Ozawa “Yes, you are a philosopher. A philosopher is not just someone who writes and lectures about Kant and Heidegger to introduce their teachings into daily life. Some people around me call me a philosopher, but to my embarrassment, I have to admit, I would not call myself that. What you are doing in Kendō is philosophy in practice. A dedicated practi

Little Samurai - Kendo and me 2019

2019 Little Samurai Class Beginners' reflection on "how Kendo has influenced my everyday life?" * Kendo makes me stronger and healthier. ~ David  Kendo makes me happy. It is fun to learn and hit with my shinai. I love to make friends at the dojo and learn from everyone. ~ Ava Kendo gives me better balance and focus. ~ Seb  I have new friend. I am happy. I like play Kendo. ~ Monica  Kendo has influenced me in my life by making me more focused in my learning at school and out of school by having goals and life lessons. Kendo has given me confidence in myself to do tasks, and ask for help in needed. ~ Frankie. I started Kendo because I would normally have a arched back. Now, I have learned discipline. Kendo also teaches me to work hard. ~ Elliot  Kendo has influenced me by making me into a better person. I can  be more focused on thing I need to focus on, be ready to learn and improve on who I am, and be able to think about more stuff. ~ Randika   Kendo has influenced my eve

Autumn Grading 2021

Autumn Grading - 17 April 2021 Waikato Kendo Association would like to congratulate the following members for their achievement in the Autumn Grading 2021 held in Hamilton. “Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal.” Earl Nightingale Little Samurai Class 10th Kyu Oliver Ke Soichiro Yamaguchi  9th Kyu  Dominic Liu Xialun Yang Xenia Liu 8th Kyu Eunice Liu Adult Class 10th Kyu Li Lian Min Ki Hong ( SJC ) Yeonjoon Kim Hayden Cook ( SJC ) Fiona Dunton Laine Baldwin Tristan Stowell ( RHS ) 9th Kyu Yeonsoo Kim 8th Kyu Celene Cai Jang Ho Kim Kyle Baxter Ben Albany 6th Kyu Wilkie Larke 3rd Kyu Elliot Payne ( RHS ) 2nd Kyu Jennifer Kan ( RHS ) Shodan Valintine Thompson Panel Joyce T, Kevin P, Awa W, Leo L, Kai Y, Clark L, Sam T. Assistants Nicole R, Yana T, Jason N . Photo Credit Lance McCaughan Photography Relevant reading: Kendo Journey: A "Travel Guide" from Shodan to Godan-and-a-Half

Ben - The start of a long journey

Suriashi すり足 - focus and balance The start of a long journey – my Kendo pathway by Ben Albany March 2021 Focus. Discipline. Fitness. Why would a 45-year-old, with a hectic life need to add more things to do in the week?   The answers are above. I am work for a company designing powerlines and assisting in operational matters. Stress level 100%. I started studying business through Massey University as a distance learner last year, so more challenges and stress. Lastly, having injured my back around a year and a half ago I had been doing next to no exercise, so the weight was piling on!!! I have, some would say, an unhealthy fascination with blades – I have way too many knives and a Katana with a live blade. I Google and Youtube to distraction and last year I started viewing a lot of Samurai and Kendo videos. The time has come to learn the craft, to learn the way of the sword – Kendo. I found Waikato Kendo web page . I contacted Sam Tsai (Sensei) , he provided me with some great info

How do you practice seme?

Kobayashi Hideo Sensei – How to Seme (w/English CC)  小林英雄 先生 - 攻め方 How do you practice S eme ?   Very early on, I have heard of the “Three Opportunities to Strike”: strike when your opponent’s technique is about to start, strike when your opponent’s technique ends, and when the opponent is mentally and physically depleted. Since then, this line of thinking has given me a direction in how to train. In 2017, Utsunomiya sensei, 7-dan kyoshi, came to visit us and taught me the concept of “okori”. That reminds me of the conversation that happened 8 years before that in 2009 with Morioka sensei, also 7-dan kyoshi, who asked me: “What is the timing or reason of your strike?” I think most people are familiar with the idea that you should “ seme then strike ”. However, when do you strike after seme has been a source of struggle for most kenyu. That’s why when I saw the video from Kobayashi Hanshi where you seme for the purposes of creating “okori” , I felt this added a whole other d