View Full Version : Any Guidance Appreciated
7th May 2008, 10:40 PM
Heya folks, I'm as new to this site as I am to Kendo, which I've wanted to take up for 6 months or more but haven't been able to (the nearest dojo to my university is 200 miles south in Swansea). So, now that I'm coming to the end of uni, I'm trying to pick up as much as I can about Kendo before beginning over summer and I'd appreciate any support you ladies and gents can give me, on any relevant area (I've been familiarising with footwork, Rei-Gi and other basics on the interweb). I'll be joining the Liverpool Kendo Dojo when their next Newbie Night™ appears, hopefully after I come back from Barcelona (Student Holiday 1, Ancient Discipline 0).
I'm 20, about 6'3, physically fit and reasonably muscled (if not excessively), a little prior experience with Judo (took it to better understand the martial art mindset as a preface to this). How important is a strength/speed balance? I've been doing more weights recently, but can up the cardio instead...How important is flexibility? I've no problem with patience, but is the learning period of Kendo reasonably interesting? Will I feel stupid for not picking things up first time? How long should I wait before buying my own shinai? I'd rather be using my own gear but I don't want to seem over-confident. Also, how long should I wait before joining in with kata practice?
Any other scouse Kendoka are welcome to get in touch, I could do with getting to know folks. Kindly post anything you feel would've helped when you were new - thanks, folks and I hope to be around here occasionally.
7th May 2008, 11:20 PM
Hi! I began in sept 2007, I was 20 too. First of all, welcome here! I'll give you my two cents.
it's good to familiarize with reigi and the japanese terms. But you can forget any prior training: all the moves are very odd at first, for everybody. So you won't be able to see if you are doing things wrong or right alone.
For the stuff issue: your club will have a newbie night right? So they are used to deal with beginners. Don't buy anything before the first session, and ask there. The way this issue is handled varies between different dojos. Unless there is somebody here from your future club, don't buy anything. If you have a judo suits (I don't have aclue about the right word), bring it, it will be just perfect.
A short word about physical training: muscular training is useless when you are a beginner, but good stamina is very useful.
Kendo training is hard but fun, even at the beginning. As soon as they are sure you aren't The Mad Lumberjack and won't hurt people, you'll hit your teachers. That's fun!
The learning period last until you stop doing kendo. I wrote before, "get hachidan or die tryin' " (hachidan is 8th dan, the higher kendo rank).
I hope this help.
Remember the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything: Ask your sensei.
8th May 2008, 12:02 AM
Like Sparv said, don't both trying to practice the technique without instruction. It looks simple. It is not. You will discover this when a sensei starts correcting you, and if you have to unlearn bad habits, that'll slow you down.
Cardio, flexibility and core strength exercises will definitely help.
Oh yeah, try not to revive dead threads. Check last post date, if it's more than a couple months old, unless you have some really original idea to contribute, let it die.
8th May 2008, 12:05 AM
How important is a strength/speed balance?
Speed is something you apearently will develope when your technique improves, atleast that's what I've been told and I really hope it's true (otherwise I'm screwed). Strength is not really nesasary, but strong fore arms and some leg muscles can be usefull. You're not suposed to bash each others brain and training to be/look like Conan the Barbarian is kind of pointless (all those mucles will slow you down). Balance, well you've got it or you don't, the "balance" needed for kendo must developed by training kendo I guess.
I've been doing more weights recently, but can up the cardio instead...
Cardio is very usefull, the beginning is footwork, other basics (like how to swing your shinai), more footwork, more general basics, even more footwork, etc. All of that isn't that hard to do, but when you get into bogu, ohhh my... I wished I spend less time boozing and more time in the gym (don't get me wrong, you still can't find me in the gym).
How important is flexibility?
Not that important, you don't have to be like some contortionist, but being as stiff as a plank wouldn't be very healthy either, but do/did judo, so it can't be that bad.
I've no problem with patience, but is the learning period of Kendo reasonably interesting?
It takes about 3 months to a year to get into bogu (depending on how much you train, talent, etc.), then it will take about 10 years before your kendo look like kendo (that's what they told me). Don't get me wrong, the moment you get into bogu, it's ass kicking time (this means they will kick your ass :D). Loads of fun. I like improving my kendo, but the fun of just training, sparring, etc is way more improtant at the moment (that's how I see it).
Will I feel stupid for not picking things up first time?
How long should I wait before buying my own shinai?
Then as soon as possible, but buy it through the dojo, they usually buy in bulk, much cheaper. Usually you can borrow one the first (few) lessons to make sure you don't buy something you will never use again (waste of money and a good shinai)
Also, how long should I wait before joining in with kata practice?
Your sensei will tell you when it's time.
That's all. But I'm a n00b so I could be wrong.
8th May 2008, 12:56 AM
Your fitness won't be an issue, you're plenty fit to start kendo. If you're flexible enough for judo, you're more than flexible enough for kendo. Actually I'd say that kendo doesn't require much flexibility compared to most other martial arts. You'll be encouraged to buy a shinai right away by your dojo, they can point you to a supplier. If you just can't wait, I can't see them complaining if you buy your own, so long as it's the right size. You'll need a size 39, and a good quality cheap one is fine - you won't need a better one for a long time. Nine Circles is often recommended as a supplier in the UK. Wait on buying any other equipment, and also wait on any kendo-specific exercises. Cardio work never hurts, though.
8th May 2008, 03:20 AM
Wow, fast, intelligent, cheerful response on the internet!? Cheers folks!
I've not started practicing anything yet...I've been a serious musician for 11 years now, so I can understand the importance of keeping a good routine. I've only studied history and etiquette and got what idea I can of physicalities, and I never expected this to be simple (this is probably where my interest stems from...its hard as hell and I've never done anything like it).
I'll keep my necromancy in check too (its been a while since I spent any time on the interweb, ok? My etiquettes a little off).
Thanks to all of you.
8th May 2008, 08:27 PM
Unless there is somebody here from your future club, don't buy anything.
Yep, tha's me! You won't need anything before you turn up, there's plenty of shinais you can borrow before you need to purchase your own. We had a beginners night last week with 3 newbies and all 3 returned this week. We have had up to 18 on some nights though. I'm not sure when the next one will be but according to my handy PDA we held one in July last year so you may just be in time if we do that again. Mike the sempai deals with that so I'm sure when you email him via the website (http://www.print-for-you.com/Liverpool_Kendo/kendo.htm) he'll let you know.
Casual clothes are fine, I prefer tracksuit pants with elasticated ankles when we do Winter training so something like that or shorts help in that they don't get in the way of your feet. We have about 20 members each night, though there are about 40+ people signed up to the club. Any other questions about the venue or the club just ask and I'll try to help. Look forward to your visit next Newbie Night™.
8th May 2008, 08:37 PM
Oh just saw your question about kata practice, yeah we hold that on a separate night every other week, location on the google map (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=107634194699919271599.00000112bead993863544&t=k&z=6). As far as I'm aware once you've been to the beginners night you can pop along to that, the more the merrier. If you check out the thread about kata you'll see that it can be as important as practice with a shinai so limiting it to those with more experience would be a mistake. It's always great to see beginners turn up to kata practice.
14th May 2008, 10:55 PM
Cheers Dwez, keep an eye out for me next time! I noticed there was a noobnight planned, but I was still at uni and I don't intend to leave until I'm dragged kicking and screaming - landlord forcibly ejects us on the 7th of June, so I'm good for any time after that. See you then.
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