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What makes a good kendo club?

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  • What makes a good kendo club?

    What makes a good club? What makes a good kendo club? Are they the same thing?


    What do you love/hate about your particular club?

    I know some people don't have many options where they live, so the best club is a club that they can get to. For others it might be an emphasis on hard training with a strict Japanese sensei who studied at Busen. For others it might be having a tight knit group of comrades who all compete with each other to make the national team. For others I know it will be "soushiaru kendo" (ie beer and karaoke).

    Whatever... taipingu o shite kudasai!


  • #2
    Hi I don't know what really makes a good club but what I think is most important is having a tight knit group. Just go to work and then practice hard together with the kids and then later on hit the local yakitori shop and grab to some huge mugs of Asahi Super Dry! What's even better is doing a gashuku together up in the mountains!



    • #3
      Living outside of Japan, a club that has a good appreciation for the Kendo tradition is important, as is an understanding that everyone walks their own Kendo path. Finally, I like good, spirited, fundamental kendo, and I am happy where I am.

      FWIW, our kendoka are encourgared to train with other clubs to seek aspects that our club may not deliver, again, not because what our club does is right or wrong, but because it simply does what it does.

      (Why is it so hard to express one's thoughts on these important aspects of what they do? Maybe it's just me.....)


      • #4

        In my kendo club we say we are doing "happy kendo"!

        We don't have many high graded people so we can't learn like the traditional japanese way of mimicing the sensei and senpai, so we have to think more and to train in a more intelligent way!

        I like it a lot, we have a very relaxed atmosphere in our club. We enjoy doing some crazy stupid techniques sometimes in keiko, just to relax ourseleves. But we still take much importance in correct posture and basics.

        Since it's a University dojo (mcgill) we always have new beginners every year , new arriving beginners gives a lot of life to our club even if most of them don't take it so seriously. It's just nice to have them around.

        Anyway one thing for sure..I think you can't really improve your kendo if you don't go to tournaments and other dojo to play others and to get inspired by their kendo, seeing how good their kendo is and how much more there is to learn.


        • #5
          a good club is a club with a lot of love


          • #6
            Care free

            Personal view is...

            A club without Politics, is a nice Club to train in..... Once a club get some sort of politics involved, all heel break lose..... Seen it happened. And seen some good kendoka decided to give up all because of it.


            • #7
              I love my club

              I have never been a card-carrying "club member" kinda guy, but then I'd never come across a club like Hizen. I feel curiously proud of being part of what I think is a truly great club.

              For me, what makes the club so good is the sensei. Jeff Humm is both a very skilled kenshi and a very good teacher, who adapts the way he teaches to the person/people he's teaching. For me he is the perfect teacher, because he mixes humour with seriousness and always seems to encourage people to give their best. He's not averse to using Star Wars analogies if he thinks it'll get the point across And he comes up the pub after!

              More than that, I've never met such a friendly, open bunch of people as the members of Hizen. From the first time I walked through the dojo door, entirely unsure of what to expect, I was made to feel welcome. And during keiko, everyone seems to be there to help each other do better kendo.

              What is also nice is having a decent number of female members, and also a broad ethnic mix - British, French, Japanese, Polish, Danish...white, yellow, brown, black....

              What do I dislike about my club.....I'll let you know if I find anything....




              • #8

                David has said something that - for me - is v.important : you need a sensei with a clear vision and confidence in this vision.


                • #9
                  hi all

                  To David.... Yes I think i know what you mean.... Where I train, Fudoshin.. I feel the same way.... Everyone always encourage each other no matter how experienced they are or not. I am the most Junior in my club, and yet I always get heaps of encouragement from my sensei and senpais. Brett Smith Sensei, he mixes humour with seriousness and always seems to encourage people to give their best, and he always trys to make the trainning interesting too.

                  When everyone steps into the dojo..... the feeling is really great, feeling of 'we are here for kendo so think kendo', but then whern the trainning is finished, it's like a big social club. Its great.


                  • #10
                    What do you love/hate about your particular club?
                    Hmmnnn, Firstly I think it is not honorable for a kendoka to complain to the outside world. If a club has problems the first person one should address is the Sensei. Like the Confusion proverb: Charity begins at home. Duty begins at home.

                    Not that I am angry or anything, its just I feel it is inappropriate to discuss a club's problems without first fixing it.

                    What makes a good club? What makes a good kendo club? Are they the same thing?
                    Discipline, Respect, Trust and Spirit.

                    I think in the dojo one should respect the Sensei. Act in a disciplined manner. Trust the Sensei and not be arrogant(listen not talk). And of course have good spirit/mental strenght developed.

                    By spirit/mental strenght I mean a good group should try and push each other beyond their limits.

                    A Sensei in Kuala Lumpur once told me, "in the early stages your kendo will be 90% physical and 10% mental. As you develop, the physical side drops and the mental endurance increases."

                    What I love about my club is that you get taken to the end of your rope and then go the extra mile.

                    I was drinking with my Sensei and he was commenting on Korea's performance against Spain and he said it was good. Korea played 100% the whole game and even in the end during the penalty shootout they still went the extra mile.

                    After training, I agree with qpuppy, my club is a great social gathering. Its kinda nice when you can drink beers and talk on the same level with your Senseis after Kendo.

                    But during training one should always revert back to hierachy and not be too familiar.



                    • #11
                      ... good one alvin.



                      • #12
                        Ben, as you noted, this is a two part question: what makes good kendo and what makes a good club. I agree with George that a good sensei is paramont to good kendo. I also think that of equal importance is Meng's point of good, committed, mature students. However, I have found that over time they attract each other naturally.

                        What makes a good club is similar to what makes good friendships, a variety of shared experiences - really just time. IMHO the important thing is that it must be time spent on something other than the primary purpose of the club. Partying has been mentioned (my personal favorite). But also consider things like group cleaning/repair of the dojo or bogu, group roadtrips to tournaments or some other excuse for a roadtrip, group renovation of the snesei's house, and summer camps devoted to kihon or outdoor ji geiko.

                        I have run many different clubs, and the above have always worked well. It just takes a lot effort on someone's part to pull it all together and get it rolling. I have found the hardest part has always been getting the first few 'events' attended. My most successful tactic is to buy the 'pizza' or 'beer' (how can you say no when somebody else is buying) for everybody right after the class/meeting/practice at some place really close to the classroom/hall/dojo. The trick is to make it easy and non-threatening to start with and to do it consistently until people start doing it on their own (I have found usually at least four weeks). (Iwatekenshi's reply is an excellent example of what I try to do when starting a new rock or ice climbing class). This gives people the chance to start planning for it and look forward to it.

                        And note, that you don't have to be the instructor/leader to do this. In fact, usually it is easier if you aren't because you can play the 'teacher appreciation card' to get more students to attend. And students often find fellow students less threatening in these circumstances. Be careful, though. You'll make friends that last a lifetime.


                        • #13
                          i think this question is actually hard one to answer...from reading some of the posts in here, i feel that there should be two key points that should be taken into account when choosing a kendo club....
                          1) a friendly environment
                          2) good quality teaching of Kendo

                          ... now examining these two points in deatail...they individually can have bad traits that can be missleading because in essence they are good traits. so in the sence that a kendo club with a friendly environment can be good to train in, however, if the teaching of kendo is complete pants then whats the point of investing time in that club...then you have the really good quality teaching of kendo type clubs, however you will find the hardcore teachers who think of themselves as samauri warriors resurrected and start bashing up their students...and are so hardcore in their teching, although good that it maybe, they can make the experience of learning kendo to answer the question properly i think that a cobination of the two is what makes a good kendo club...i guess.


                          • #14

                            In both the situations you described, the student needs to step up and take action. The most important thing a student can do is select the right sensei for him. (See Thomas M. White's "Three Golden Pearls..." for a discussion). The second most important thing, IMHO, is then to positively impact the "environment" of the class.

                            The problem most of us outside of Japan will have, and I am in this now, is when there is only one sensei (within 200 miles) and you know he is isn't the best one for you. Kendo is for you, but you and the sensei aren't compatable. Then the dilema is great: kendo with an incompatable sensei or no kendo at all.


                            • #15
                              While I was training in Japan, I felt that I had a fairly good club. Everyone was 2nd dan (except me, the little American ikkyu), but everyone was unique and individual in their own special way. Our shushou was well above his level - he could've easily become 3rd dan, but never felt that he was done perfecting himself as a 2nd dan. He was extremely strict during practice (our kakarigeiko was 40 sec x3, or 30sec x5) and pushed us to exhaustion everyday, but was still a person we could look up to and trust in to teach us well. After practice, he was a funny, almost goofy guy, who indulged in weird hobbies (collecting carnivorous plants, etc) and had parties in his house with all of us.

                              I would say that a good club is one in which there is respect and trust between senpai and kohai, or sensei and seito, but where there is also a sense of fraternity and closeness that extends beyond a mere informal teaching relationship (in the true Japanese tradition).