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  • A good dojo?

    I'm in the Inland Empire in California, and there really aren't any dojos in our area that are part of the two kendo federations; the closest are in the San Gabriel Valley. There is, however, Redlands Aikikai, in Redlands California, which offers kendo classes. They are taught by a 3 dan who is also an associate professor of mathematics at CSU San Bernardino. The website quotes a price of $15 a month, which seems a good sign, but it encourages obtaining a bogu asap, although they refer you to a third party to get it.

    Does anybody have experience with them? Should I shy away just b/c of their lack of kendo federation affiliation? Just want to hear some opinions.

    http://www.aikidoredlands.org/

  • #2
    Their lack of federation association may just be because their instructor isn't high enough in rank to 'officially' be a teacher and therefore to 'officially' recognize the dojo. I am just throwing thoughts out there, I may be wrong.

    Good luck in your research.

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    • #3
      It says the instructor is a SCKO member and lists his sensei as a 7.dan; that's a good sign that it's legitimate but I'd defer to SoCal folks who might know this dojo in particular.

      Btw, the website says:

      "New students can participate in those parts of the class that do not require armor, as well as train in the Kihon waza section with armored students for the first few days, but are required to acquire a bogu set as soon as possible."

      I think what may be going on here is that they are small and don't have a formal beginners' class and the implication is that you're not going to be able to participate much until you're in bogu, so they try to get you in bogu quickly. I could be wrong about that but that's how I'd read that. I agree that's a little scary to lay out the money for bogu within only a few classes. Maybe someone there can lend you old bogu for a few months while you improve and make sure you want to continue? Give it a shot.

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      • #4
        I tend to get a bit leary if dojos press for students to get into bogu right away. We tend to be 6 months to a year depending on Senseis feelings on the matter in regards to how the student is progressing.

        Better if they start to work out basics first, before they even get into hakama and keikogi. Always found it a pain to correct footwork with hakama doing such a bang up job of hiding some of the problems newbies have with their footwork.

        So my opinion (just an opinion folks) is that it sort of should fall into place like this.

        -New students show up
        -new students watch a practice first
        -new students work with Sensei or Semapi on basics....mostly footwork.
        -new students spend a few months on basics, getting a feel for the timing , shinai, footwork.
        -Sensei suggests that maybe they should look at getting a shinai and some hakama and keikogi.
        -depending on students progress dictates how soon they're in bogu, and often we have a few sets around for newer students to use till they can get their own. Besides, I've always found that students wash out at two primary points.....after the first few classes.......or they wash out after their first experience in bogu and someone gives them an over enthusiatic men. Usually another newer student.

        I guess it does all depend on the thoughts of the Sensei in question, but I really belive that if you don't correct bad Kendo habits before you get into bogu, you'll always have them.

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        • #5
          I was always curious what is the purpose of making a possible student watch a class? I know I did it and I've seen everyone who has come through since do it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Toecutter View Post
            I was always curious what is the purpose of making a possible student watch a class? I know I did it and I've seen everyone who has come through since do it.

            Basically so they can see what they will be getting into.

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            • #7
              Not to mention that if they don't have the patience to watch a full class, they probably won't last. We don't require our beginners to watch a class, but I've noted that the ones who stay after the beginners' practice is done and watch the last half-hour of advanced practice tend to be the ones who will stick around longer.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                Not to mention that if they don't have the patience to watch a full class, they probably won't last. We don't require our beginners to watch a class, but I've noted that the ones who stay after the beginners' practice is done and watch the last half-hour of advanced practice tend to be the ones who will stick around longer.
                I second that.

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                • #9
                  Thank you for your thoughts. One of the posters hit the nail on the head with regard to one of my concerns: will I be at risk of incurring "bad habits" that I'll have a difficult time undoing? Or am I being overly cautious?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                    Not to mention that if they don't have the patience to watch a full class, they probably won't last. We don't require our beginners to watch a class, but I've noted that the ones who stay after the beginners' practice is done and watch the last half-hour of advanced practice tend to be the ones who will stick around longer.
                    Now you mentioned it, it was my experience as well in my first dojo. I tend to think less of those who don't want to stick around for the closing mokuso and bow.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Adson of Melk View Post
                      Thank you for your thoughts. One of the posters hit the nail on the head with regard to one of my concerns: will I be at risk of incurring "bad habits" that I'll have a difficult time undoing? Or am I being overly cautious?
                      Part of all martial arts training will involve developing and undoing bad habits. This is lessened, of course, by training under a skilled and knowledgeable instructor - both skilled in the art, AND as an instructor... yes, I've met some high-ranking, very skilled practitioners that couldn't teach worth squat - that will keep you honest.

                      However, the person that can most effectively prevent you from developing bad habits is you. Yes, that's right YOU, especially you, Adrian. (Extremely obscure reference found here.) But seriously, you can help yourself prevent bad habits by paying close attention during class, and by constantly vigilant attention paid to your training. This is very difficult of course, but when people talk about how much effort you put into your own training, they're not always referring to how much sweat you shed, or how sore your body is afterwards. You must exercise your mind even more acutely than your body during class. Like I said, it's not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

                      As far as being overly cautious, that depends. Do you expect that you'll never make a mistake? If so, then yes. You will make mistakes - LOTS of them. Take heart that it is virtually impossible for you to make a NEW mistake. In other words, unless you're TRYING to make a mistake, you can't make one that hasn't been made thousands of times before by others. Your mistakes may create the bad habits you wish to avoid... OR they could become lessons to help you develop. My TKD instructor used to say "Once a mistake has become a lesson, it's no longer a mistake." I once had a kohai that started getting down on themself for making mistakes. I simply asked them "If you ever did all of this perfectly, and would never again make a mistake, would you continue to practice? We practice so that we can make our mistakes, and learn from them."

                      Don't know if this helps, but it's my thoughts for what they're worth.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "Once a mistake has become a lesson, it's no longer a mistake."

                        That is one of the best quotes ever. I think that puts something that is generally applicable to life just perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

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