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Having a goal in Kendo and Life

Saturday 5th November 2022 Keiko Reflection - Janet Today we had another fruitful Keiko with many of our Kohais joining in the intermediate to advanced Keiko. Thanks to Marleen & Sam Sensei’s teachings they all came with great Kihon foundation skills to continue build up & improve on. We especially applaud them for their willingness to learn & adjust very quickly during Uchikomi-geiko today, with the focus on Big Men & Kote strikes & the follow up Zanshin run through. Prior to Keiko today, Marleen Sensei reminded us of our journey through kendo & the reason behind all our efforts to come to Keiko regularly was to improve & perfect our kendo through the repeated continuous Kihon training, with the ultimate goal for all Kendokas: To deliver the perfect Ippon (一本) or Yuko-Datotsu (有効打突) or valid strike. The Kihon training: Ashi-Sabaki/ footwork drills, Kirikaeshi drill, double Shinai warm ups & Suburis, & Kiai training during warm up drills are all desi

Farewell to Sotaro

Wednesday 2nd November Keiko Reflection - Janet Tonight’s keiko menu following warm-up, Suburi & Footwork drills consisted of: Kihon- & Uchikomi-geiko: 1. Kirikaeshi 2. Big & Small Men 3. Big & Small Kote-Men 4. Do 5. Kote then Taiatari Ji-geiko with Senpais & Sensei. Then we finished off with one-on-one Ji-geiko (Uchikomi-geiko for Kyu grades) with Sotaro Senpai. It was a real privilege to hear feedbacks from Senpai’s point of view, sharing with us his thought process in order to achieve an Ippon. It was truely inspiring & we all learnt a lot. Hontoni arigatou gozaimashita/ 本当にありがとうございました🙏🙏🙏 Tonight we farewelled Sotaro Senpai who is a lovely young man hailed from Chiba prefecture, Japan, & just finished his high school studies in NZ, ready to start University back in Japan. We have been very privileged to have Sotaro Senpai joining us at Waikato Kendo Club during his 1.5 years in NZ. “Friendship through Kendo” is the clubs motto, he will forever be a va

Welcome to our newest Beginners

29th October 2022 Keiko Reflection - Janet Today’s Dōjo atmosphere was one of excitement as we welcomed many Kohais joining in the intermediate to advanced class. We are all travelling on this kendo journey together, to climb up this mountain, so the more people the merrier as we can all help to lift up each other along the way😊 Marleen Sensei introduced the long history of Waikato Kendo Club since 1999 & the legacy that was left by the many hard working awesome Senpais before us. Therefore, we’re encouraged to look up to them, to uphold the same fighting spirit that were passed down to us; dare to try & never give up on this journey of self-improvement & be humble of achievements; be proactive to learn from Senpais & Senseis; show appreciation for each other by always give our best effort to maximise our training during Keiko.  Marleen Sensei kindly shared with us her journey through illness, which really puts life into perspective. We all have our own struggles in li

Grading Reflection - with an open mind, positive attitude, & be willing to learn from our mistakes

Saturday 15th October 2022 Junior Grading/ Shinsa & Keiko reflection - Janet Another Junior grading been & gone, first of all, well done to all those who participated in the grading, it was a great effort & achievement on your Kendo journey & a true testament of your hard work & training so far. Keep up the good work as we all help each other to get better & better through every Keiko. Sensei reminded us that grading & rank promotion is not the ultimate goal in learning Kendo, it’s merely a way to systematically evaluate one’s learning progress so far & to check if we’re on the right path or not. It may act as a motivation to work & train harder, but unlike other martial arts with the coloured belt systems to symbolise one’s ranking, in Kendo there is no outwards signs to distinguish between ranks. The emphasis of Kendo is on personal growth, development & humility regardless of your experience & skill.   True Kendo spirit is to not be afraid

The Beauty of Kendo is ...

  Saturday 3rd September 2022 Keiko Reflection - Janet Today we had another fruitful keiko led by Marleen Sensei. Again started off with double Shinai warm up & Suburi which not only helped to condition our body & muscles to adapt to the increased weight but also made us more aware of using our left hand, arm & shoulder more dominantly & more aware of using our finger grips more precisely to achieve proper Tenouchi. We increased double Shinai Haya-Suburi to x30. For some Kyu grades like myself it’s still a tough challenge to keep up with everyone else & made our arms feel very heavy.  Sam Sensei reminded us that in order to perform effective & efficient Haya-Suburi, it’s extremely important for the body & arm to not be too tense for the entire time but rather we need to semi-relax some muscles during the Shinai swinging motion to allow the natural weight of the Shinai to help us to swing downwards & forwards then only tense up the muscles when near end o

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference

Wednesday 31st August 2022 Keiko Reflection - Janet Tonight’s keiko was once again led by our wonderful Marleen Sensei.  We began with double Shinai warm up drills, suburis & 30 Haya-Suburis followed by single Shinai 30 Haya-Suburis. Tonight’s Kihon & Uchikomi-geiko menu: Kirikaeshi x3 Big Men x3 Big Men 10 times rensoku continuous x3 Big Kote x3 Big Kote 10 times rensoku continuous x3 Big Dō x3 Big/ Small (for higher grades) Kote-Men x3 Followed by Ji-geiko then Kakari-geiko with Sam sensei.         Tonight’s focus was: 1. To better feel & use our fingers underneath the Kote correctly to continue working on getting proper Tenouchi during each strikes.  2. Concentrate on using our Shoulders more to raise the Shinai overhead & take care not to use too much right hand to manipulate the Shinai movements as this would produce unintended & unwanted forces & reduce accuracy. 3. In order to reduce time lag & to speed up strikes, try to start pull down left shoulder

Building foundations for advanced skills

Saturday 27th August 2022 Keiko Reflection - Janet For the past few weeks as well as during todays Keiko, Marleen sensei’s plan was to help us develop better body strength (in the core, arm & shoulder muscles) through double Shinai warm up drills & Suburis, in particular, by gradually increasing the amount of Haya-Suburis to challenge & condition our bodies to become stronger. Even though it’s still rather difficult for me to keep up with everyone else’s pace, as my upper body strength is still weak, but I can definitely feel myself improving little-by-little each week, with my body feeling less sore afterwards, so that’s definitely something to be happy about❤️ Main focus for todays Keiko was Kihon (basics), which is the basics or foundation of kendo. It includes sets of kendo technique drills such as Men, Kote, Dō, and Kirikaeshi which gets repeated during almost every keiko. While it may sounds repetitive, but it’s way more complicated with many things to consider espe

Developing strong Presence both during Keiko & Kata

Wisdom is never an instruction, but a guide for your journey. Wednesday 6th July 2022 Keiko Reflection - Janet Tonight’s training focus was on: 1. Kihon footwork : both forwards & backwards & swiftly follow up with left foot. 2. Small Men : Remember the striking force on contact with target should be exactly the same as when doing Big-Men, however, we do not need to rotate our shoulders fully over the head, but rather only need to rotate the shoulders to about shoulder height then extend the left arm & wrist & perform Tenouchi. 3. Hiki Waza ( Hiki-Men, Hiki-Dō ): these are techniques made while stepping backwards usually from Tsubazeriai position & are executed with smaller shoulder rotations like Small Men or Dō while the body’s centre of gravity is going backwards on to the left foot first before performing Fumikomi with the right foot at same time as the Shinai strikes the target. It is crucial for Kyu grades to start getting use to backwards foot work & pra

Appreciate every opportunity at hands

Say “onegaishimasu” loudly from your heart to show your gratitude. 💕 It is more than just an etiquette. Saturday 2nd July 2022 Keiko Reflection - Janet This winter, Sense's goal for us was to help us develop good fitness & physical resilience through repeated Kihon training: Warm up drills, Good Kamae, Footwork (Suriashi, Fumikomi), strong continuous Kiai, Kirikaeshi, Uchikomi-geiko (Big Men, Kote-Men, Dō, Rensoku Men) & Kakari-geiko. It is very important to develop good physical fitness overtime so that our body can be conditioned to perform more delicate & advanced manoeuvres with faster speed, accurate precision & correct power in due course. Remember, all good things takes time! Therefore, for beginners & Kyu grades, we must remember to not rush when doing our drill practices, as we must start by developing muscle memory with the correct Kihon movements in order to not develop bad habits. Make sure we take our time to execute each strike with precision, Ich