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  • preparing for a lesson

    I know this is probably the most asked topic on this forum, but I wanted to receive some advice for preparing for my first official kendo lesson. I have been practicing some very basic concpts on my own. I know this is a bad thing, however I have a fairly strong background in martial arts, and have a VERY general idea of how things work in kendo. The followin gis a list of things I have been practicing over the past weeks to get in shape.

    regular jogging on my toes to build strength and stamina
    learned the terminology
    learned how to start and end a kata
    learned the basic footwork (gliding stances, ect.)
    practiced a basic men strike ( I have had some proffesional instruction on this in the past)
    watched a ton of videos of students in dojos

    Is there anything else I can do that won't jeapordize my efficiency later on?

  • #2
    I did nothing to prepare myself for the first class... I wasn't doing any sports before and couldn't count 1-10 in Japanese either. Some people are just over-serious to start with...

    However, I sat in the dojo and watched a session before signing up.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mingshi View Post
      However, I sat in the dojo and watched a session before signing up.
      Damn, that was more than I did. Guess I should get more serious. Oh, I did read the dojo's website before joining up. Well, some of it. There were a lot of words.

      sean

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kokiri View Post
        I know this is probably the most asked topic on this forum, but I wanted to receive some advice for preparing for my first official kendo lesson. I have been practicing some very basic concpts on my own. I know this is a bad thing, however I have a fairly strong background in martial arts, and have a VERY general idea of how things work in kendo. The followin gis a list of things I have been practicing over the past weeks to get in shape.

        regular jogging on my toes to build strength and stamina
        learned the terminology
        learned how to start and end a kata
        learned the basic footwork (gliding stances, ect.)
        practiced a basic men strike ( I have had some proffesional instruction on this in the past)
        watched a ton of videos of students in dojos

        Is there anything else I can do that won't jeapordize my efficiency later on?
        Hi!

        Welcome to the forum!

        Where are you located? In American Samoa or in the US? Not sure if any legitimate dojos are in Samoa or not. Never looked yet. Where do you plan to train?

        Anyway, be prepared to unlearn it all and start from the beginning. You'll have taught yourself a lot of mistakes and incorrect technique. You cannot teach yourself anything. Looking at books, the internet(I know you didn't mention those two, but I have to include them.) and videos and then trying to learn the stuff is not going to help you at your first class nor can you use them to teach yourself because they don't have everything you need to know in them. They are just two dimensional objects that cannot watch you and correct you when you've done something wrong and you can't ask them questions. And, any photos or videos will only have some of the details and not all.

        You need to learn from a qualified sensei and that means you should just stop what you are doing and wait.

        Please don't keep practicing doing a men strike. That will screw you up a LOT. You don't know if the guy you learned it from is even a qualified teacher. And, you being a complete beginner, won't know the difference between the real deal and a person who taught themselves. So, you should save yourself the trouble of having to unlearn bad habits(Which is a huge pain!) by not practicing anything until you get yourself into a proper dojo, ok?

        What you CAN do:

        Build up your stamina by doing a lot of cardio such as jogging regularly, not on your toes, riding your bike, using a treadmill, using an elliptical, and whatever else you can do to improve your stamina.

        Oh. Don't lift weights to build muscle, so you know. You do want to do a type of strength training once you've done kendo for a little while. I can't discuss lifting weights more because I don't know a lot about lifting weights. This is about all I know... Sorry. Someone else here can pick that up, if needed.

        And, you should do a bit of reading about kendo and what it is, too. That's about all you should be doing at this point that I can think of, until you get into the dojo. Most beginners don't know anything when they start, so there is nothing to worry about.

        Good luck and have fun!

        Kaoru

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the input. I pretty much am going to keep my preperation down to memorizing terminology, I figure I can save myself some time by doing that. As far as physical training, Ill keep it to just jogging untill sundays lesson. Sorry if Im showing the signs of the antsy learner (I always get like this with martial arts). I guess if all goes well I have a lifetime to prepare, so no worries right.

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          • #6
            Whatever you do you will have to learn and relearn all the time. That's what kendo is about (and anything else in life..). You learn something from someone then someone else who is better or not shows you some other way. You have to decide your own path.

            So in a way it's good to have a curious mind of how things are done, but you must keep that curiosity otherwise your kendo will never get really good.

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            • #7
              The most important in the next few weeks is : "Do I like this kendo thing ?".
              Good luck.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kokiri View Post

                Is there anything else I can do that won't jeapordize my efficiency later on?
                My advice is to not prepare for anything.
                You say you are familiar with Martial Arts, so I'll remind you of the "empty cup."


                Kendo is unlike any other Martial Art that is out there.
                That's not just a platitude. It truly is unique and unlike anything else that exists.
                Perhaps the only thing that can transfer over immediately to aid you is Kiai training.


                It is said that Kendo takes many years to grasp even the basics, and after 2 1/2 years of my own practice, I'm only now starting to understand the smallest of concepts.

                But if Kendo is for you, that's ok.
                You have a lifetime to puzzle it out.


                Just clear your mind, open your ears, eyes, and heart, and you'll be just fine.
                You need nothing else at this point I think.

                All the best of luck to you, and welcome to the forums.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As Kaoru mentions, it is important to get a dojo that has the proper affiliation. That means AUSKF if you're in the USA, or at least FIK anywhere else.

                  This helps to ensure that you're learning legitimate kendo rather than some made up garbage that someone wants to sell.

                  In the US, check the dojo locator here,
                  elsewhere, check the FIK page.

                  Regarding the weightlifting thing, it's not automatically bad but it it does create a tendency to muscle a strike rather than learning correct technique. Once you become familiar with this trap and how to avoid it, you can incorporate weight training back into your regimen. For now, endurance and flexibility will be more helpful to you and less likely to impede your kendo.

                  sean

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My advice is much the same as anyone else's here: Don't try and prepare, all you will do is exaggerate the pre-conceived notions you have, most of which will almost inevitably be wrong, and in so doing you will make things harder for yourself.
                    Go to a session and try to keep a totally open mind. Try not to draw parallels with martial arts you already know, try not to think you understand anything, try not to work anything out, just do what you are told and repeat as many times as time allows. Then next time approach the practice with the same open mind.

                    If you try to 2nd guess, you will be wrong
                    If you try to work it out, you will be wrong
                    If you try to develop your body before starting, it will be in the wrong way and will develop wrong thinking
                    If you try to make connections with arts you already know, there may be some truth, but you will limit yourself by doing so

                    As has been said, the sword arts are unique in Budo, there is no preparation you can do except trying to clear your mind and get rid of all expectations.

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                    • #11
                      Well I went to my lesson yesterday and it felt great. Thanks everyone for your advise. I agree with the general theory that it is best that I put my past martial experiance behind me as this is like nothing I've done before. As for now all I can do is practice till my arms fall off, and hope I get good within....lets say my lifetime.

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