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  • Should I continue?

    Hello everyone. I am 16 years old and live in Westminster, Maryland. For years ive been fascinated by the art of the Japanese sword. Ive always wanted to learn(preferably iaido), however, there is not one single dojo anywhere in my tri-state area that teaches any form of swordsmanship. Ive gone online and entered my location into dojo finders, but they always come up blank. My dad and I have driven miles around our area looking for a sword school but weve found nothing. I have multiple instructional video tapes, and many many books on the art of the sword. I tried copying the waza out of the tapes and books to the best of my ability, but I have had years of experience in karate to know how important it is to have a teacher showing you what you're doing wrong. Also many of the books say that no matter how hard I read I'll never truly learn unless I have a certified instructor teaching me. Now when I practice iaido waza I get frustrated with myself knowing that I'm probably doing a million things wrong and I'll never know how to fix them. Ive reached the point of giving up trying, and my family and friends tell me to keep at it, but I don't think they understand how important it is to have a teacher showing me what I'm doing right and wrong. So my question is should I bother to continue doing what I'm doing?or is it pointless to try without a teacher?

  • #2
    It's quite admirable to hear all of your undertakings, man. However, I must tell you, as you probably already know, it's really impossible to learn something as complex as iaido without a sensei. I'm not the resident dojo locator in these forums, but I can tell you that someone around here can probably point you in the right direction. It may not be iaido, but if you're really interested in Japanese Sword arts, there are two Kendo schools recognized by the AUSKF.

    GNUSKF
    Washington Kendo Club
    Columbia Athletic Association
    Columbia, MD
    Th 8:00-10:00pm Sa 12:00-2:00pm
    Contact: Dr. Bill Dvorine
    (410)484-5252 0r (410)644-2767

    SEUSKF
    Annapolis Kendo Club, MD
    Contact: Richard Lab (410)768-6443GNUSKF
    Shidogakuin Washinkan (MD)
    American Dance Institute, Rockville, MD
    Contact: Peter Kilpe

    Those are the only two I saw from the AUSKF website, but I'm sure someone will find you something else. In the mean time, I'd recommend you stop attempting Iaido waza with videos and books purely as a guide. Media should be a helper and not a teacher with these kinds of things. The best advice I can give you is to stop before you develop any bad habits that will translate into a dojo if you find one. Or...hurt yourself in a more extreme matter.

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    • #3
      Thank you very much.

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      • #4
        No problem. Just don't go committing yourself to any of these kendo schools yet, if Kendo isn't your cup of tea, though. Hopefully, someone'll have an Iaido dojo location for you by the end of the night. Good luck.

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        • #5
          If you talk to the sensei of those dojo I'm sure they can give you some information about Iaido in your area, or even turn out to teach it.

          Good luck.

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          • #6
            You are also young for starting iaido and kendo in the States. Not that it is a bad thing, but due to a lack of dojos here, most people don't start training until they reach college. So you will find places to train eventually. Don't quit looking for a place now, but know that you will find one eventually and will be able to train then. In the meanwhile instead of focusing on techniques that require a teacher to correct you in, focus on studying the philosophy and history and culture behind the martial arts. You don't need a sensei to read about those sort of things. They will enrich your understanding of the ideas behind the martial art and that will help you develop in other ways while you are searching for a dojo to train in the physical, technical stuff.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nodachi
              You are also young for starting iaido and kendo in the States. Not that it is a bad thing, but due to a lack of dojos here, most people don't start training until they reach college. So you will find places to train eventually. Don't quit looking for a place now, but know that you will find one eventually and will be able to train then. In the meanwhile instead of focusing on techniques that require a teacher to correct you in, focus on studying the philosophy and history and culture behind the martial arts. You don't need a sensei to read about those sort of things. They will enrich your understanding of the ideas behind the martial art and that will help you develop in other ways while you are searching for a dojo to train in the physical, technical stuff.
              Really? I didn't really realize that. I just turned 17 two months ago and I've been doing kendo for quite a while (I guess I wasn't taking it as seriously)... But now that I think about it, I've been the youngest person there since I came (aside from the kid who came with his dad and just wanted to hit himself with the shinai). I suppose we'll just have to spread the word and then younger kids will start. I wish I could start something up somewhere around these suburbs so kids will have something to do, but I don't think it'll be possible or that I'll get any respect because I'll only be a few years or the same age as they are... Maybe when I get nidan or sandan I can start thinking about starting up something around here. Does anyone have any experience starting a Kendo class that's not in a University?

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              • #8
                How far are you from Rockville or Annapolis? Try http://www.kendo-usa.org/statedojolist.htm#MD . One school is in Rockville, one in Annapolis.

                Jim Swanson

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                • #9
                  Dave Drawdy teaches Nakamura ryu at Capital Area Budokai ... http://www.geocities.com/nvbudokai/

                  I don't know that he currently has space in his classes for more students, but he knows pretty much everyone in the general area that teaches a Japanese sword art. Get in touch with him and I'm sure he would be able to help you out.

                  Good luck!

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