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Kendo Beginner needs some advice from seasoned kendo practitioners

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  • Kendo Beginner needs some advice from seasoned kendo practitioners

    I am wanting to learn kendo and/or kenjutsu. My problem is that there is no legitimate teachers in my city or nearby that I can travel to comfortably. I have around 17+ years training in Karate and Jujutsu.

    I know it is very dangerous to train without a teacher or to use videos as a source of main instruction. But I feel like I don't have a choice and I am compelled to learn.

    Should I take the risk and use the videos? or am I better off leaving Kendo alone without direct instruction from a teacher??

    (by the way the vids I have are of the Japan kendo federation - beginner through advance)


    -thanks

  • #2
    Hmm, define "comfortably"... There is a school of thought that says there's no such thing as an impediment to someone who truly wants to do something.

    The short answer is: if you can't find a reputable teacher, you can't do it. Maybe in karate or jujutsu circles self-teaching is acceptable. Kendo is more unified, with everyone learning the same thing in the same way under the same governing body. There's also the problem of having a partner. You can't do kendo by yourself. Even the kata are two-person.

    A qualified answer might be: well if you've got AJKF videos, and you really can't help yourself, you'll probably end up trying to imitate what you see anyway.

    If you do go ahead and start teaching yourself, please do not mention this fact should you eventually find a dojo. Self-teaching has exactly zero value in the eyes of all kendo teachers. Also, please do not think to yourself that it is preparation for finally joining a dojo. It is as likely that you will have to un-learn what you teach yourself anyway. So when you do find a teacher, make sure that your cup is truly empty.

    You may have seen already e-budo.com's sword-arts forum actually has a strict "no self-teaching threads" policy. This thread would have been deleted by the mods. But they don't have such a nice class of lurker over there. Lots more Ninjers... *ducks*

    My advice would be, continue your current MA practice and be patient, or move.

    b
    Last edited by ben; 29th January 2008, 12:47 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ben View Post
      Self-teaching has exactly zero value in the eyes of all kendo teachers. Also, please do not think to yourself that it is preparation for finally joining a dojo. It is as likely that you will have to un-learn what you teach yourself anyway.
      I just want to reiterate this part. Regardless of your experience in other arts, you will miss subtle but crucial points by trying to learn from a video. There are things a sensei must be available for. Examples like: 1) to correct your mistakes before they become ingrained. 2) to give you advice customized to suit your particular style.

      You may want to redefine what is a "comfortable" traveling distance. Maybe there is a sensei close enough that you can visit at least once a month? If you really want to learn kendo, you need a qualified instructor.
      Good luck.

      sean

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ainsley View Post
        I am wanting to learn kendo and/or kenjutsu. My problem is that there is no legitimate teachers in my city or nearby that I can travel to comfortably. I have around 17+ years training in Karate and Jujutsu.
        Karate and jujutsu are a totally different than kendo/kenjutsu, please keep that in mind. That said, what is a comfortable travel time to you 1 or 2 hours? If you really want this so bad, you need to realize that traveling 1 or 2 hours is a small price to pay. I have to travel a pretty long time to be able to train (public transport sucks).

        Originally posted by Ainsley View Post
        Should I take the risk and use the videos?
        Hell no! Control you urges and find yourself a legit teacher. Training yourself, without proper instructions (esprecially as a beginner) is a waste of time. Wait till you find yourself a good intructor, otherwise, when you do find yourself a dojo, you will have defeloped loads of bad habits which are very hard or even impossible to get rid off.

        Please tell us where about you live and how long you are willing to travell you learn kendo and maybe one of the US guys/gals can help you out. And what about iaido? Who knows, there might be a great dojo around the corner.

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        • #5
          Thanks all

          Thanks for the advice everyone. I will find a school and not meddle with instructional videos.
          I also believe the transmission of Kendo can only be through the skillful eye and hand of a teacher. And to seek out a school and travel regardless of the hardships i face is very much part of the training.

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          • #6
            So give us a location where you would like to practice... doesn't have to be your actual town... pick a major city nearby to maintain privacy, whatever, but we may know dojos that you are unaware of... many don't advertise except by word of mouth...

            So where do you want to find kendo and maybe we can help...

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            • #7
              looking for a school

              I live in chillicothe, Oh and some major surrounding cities are Columbus, Portsmouth, Circleville, Athens,... I'v heard of an instructor in Portsmouth named Dr. T. Inoshita. I was thinking about trying to go to his school.
              Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ainsley View Post
                I live in chillicothe, Oh and some major surrounding cities are Columbus, Portsmouth, Circleville, Athens,... .
                Have you checked the AUSKFdojo locator?

                I see dojos listed in Portsmouth, and Athens on that page.

                sean

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ben View Post
                  Hmm, define "comfortably"... There is a school of thought that says there's no such thing as an impediment to someone who truly wants to do something.
                  b
                  I used to drive 2.5 ~3 hours to my dojo every weekend. It's better now, only 2 hours.

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                  • #10
                    Comparing to this my way is really short - only 1 hour...

                    I hope you will find a dojo that's near enough. Kendo really is a fulfilling art.

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                    • #11
                      No big deal. It's been almost 3 years now. I have gotten used to the driving. Besides, I get to visit my family and friends in New York. It's all good. I have been considering taking the bus. With the gas price these days, it's a cheaper to take the bus, and it won't put as much wear and tear on my car too. My car is only 10 months old, but has already 40,000+ miles already!!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sirius1906 View Post
                        No big deal. It's been almost 3 years now. I have gotten used to the driving. Besides, I get to visit my family and friends in New York. It's all good. I have been considering taking the bus. With the gas price these days, it's a cheaper to take the bus, and it won't put as much wear and tear on my car too. My car is only 10 months old, but has already 40,000+ miles already!!!
                        What, are you running drugs? 40,000 miles in 10 months....that's an achievement. If there was some group similar to the ASPCA, but for cars, I'd call them on you.

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                        • #13
                          It's the combination of the weekend drives to New York and long commute (70 miles one way) to work. I moved closer to work recently. The commute is much more managable now.

                          Anyhoo, Ainsley, wish you good luck on your training. Hope you will stick around.

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                          • #14
                            25 minutes by bike (with bogu and shinai with me)... I love my city!!!

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                            • #15
                              45mins to an hour depending on traffic and time of year, farm/ holiday traffic etc thats each way BTW

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