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  • Next generation kendoka?

    What is the right age for children to start attending kendo class?

    If you have a child or gonna have a child in the future, will you enroll him/her in a kendo club also. I'm just wondering, I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter who is already exposed to the kendo environment because she sees me practice daily and sometimes I bring her to the club during Saturday practice.She can even hold well my spare shinai and sometimes toy around with it already. She does not even blink if I playfully hit her shinai. Do you think that if ever I enroll her to a kendo class when she turns six, will it affect her growth or her physiological growth that will make her look more less feminine as a whole. Or do I have to reserve this idea to my next and upcoming son who is about to come out this March? Then again, I have to wait for seven years.

    Maybe, I have to let him choose between a sword and a ball.

  • #2
    There is no physical health things to be afraid of if you start kids in sports or martial arts at a young age. Just don't overtrain them so that their muscles do crazy unhealthy things as they develop. Young kids do all sorts of athletics and things at that age and I don't see how Kendo would do anything different to make her any less feminine as a whole. If anything, it will only make her tougher, which is a good asset for male or female, and that doesn't have to make your daughter any less feminine.

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    • #3
      5 or 6 seems to be the youngest they start them here (Mainly Japanese ex-pats).

      "that will make her look more less feminine as a whole."

      When that becomes an issue, she should (And knowing teenage girls, she will!) be able to determine that herself.

      Jakob

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      • #4
        Most 5 or 6 year olds don't have enough patience for a kendo class, unless you can mix them in with some other kids and intersperse the kendo with other fun things. We don't allow children under 8 and even at 8 we find many kids don't have the patience. Unfortunately we don't have the resources to hold a kids-only class.

        As far as your daughter losing femininity or whatever, I wouldn't worry about that. Let her decide.

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        • #5
          I personally think that a child can start learning kendo at 2 years of age, as I began ballet class at 2 years old. However if your area is the same as mine you wont find a childrens kendo class, and I don't think a child should be introduced into an asult class until at least the age of 8 and even then it depends on the maturity of the child, we have a 9 year old in my dojo who trains really hard but in one of our other dojos there is a 10 year old who is a hinderance to training.

          I think if your daughter shows intrest in kendo begin her training now at home and if at the age of 6 or 7 and she still wants to practice kendo get her some bogu and take her to class, as for developing muscles, don't worry yourself as if you lift the shinai correctly it becomes wieghtless.

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          • #6
            Thanks a lot guys for your informative replies. I really want my children to learn kendo, less the bad effects if there are any, but I'm also worried that kendo being a martial way and a product of centuries of war, violence, aggression constrained might somehow affects a child's values and character development due to kendo's combative nature. Is it really suitable for children and if you have a child will you enroll him or her for that matter?

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            • #7
              Actually, it's the opposite way around. Any martial arts teacher worth his salt, is teaching how to control aggresion and how to avoid unnecessary conflict...which can't be said of many other sports.

              Jakob

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              • #8
                I dont think you need to be to concerned about the warlike/violent aspects of kendo. Martial arts by and large are practiced for a myriad of reasons. The two most popular are self-defense and self-growth. Kendo obviously is not a self-defense art. Few will be the times you are surprised in a dark alley by 5 bad guys and you look down and just happen to find a discarded katatna lying there! As our sensei points out, kendo is not about hitting people with sticks. Kendo is about self-control, self-confidence and self-improvement (gosh thats a lot of selfs!). Hiroshi Ozawa in the Definitive Guide to Kendo states that he likes to see girls becoming involved in kendo as it allows them to be more assertive, a problem for women in the Japanese culture I guess. My son decided on karate when he was 7. For all the self reasons above, the change was impressive. I highly recommend Martial arts training for children. If the senseis philosophy is correct, he will teach them to channel their aggression and walk away (or run) from situations where a fight is about to break out. If your dojo has a kids class, I think 7 is a good age. For an adults class we start at 14. However it goes, let your daughter try and let her decide if its right (dont push).

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                • #9
                  I'm 14 and since I started kendo, I feel really less agressive. I put all my rage in keiko and when I'm with friends, I don't kick/punch/scream at/perhaps kill them anymore! I used to be very agressive everywhere (video game freak^-^), but all my violent-agressive ideas are gone (well most of them...). If the sensei is not too hard on her (make her do tons of suburi after a month or stuff like that), she'll be fine .

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                  • #10
                    I used to be very agressive everywhere (video game freak^-^),
                    Pssssst....don't tell the adults that...they'll start to get ideas that the two are related. (more than they already have).

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                    • #11
                      Let me get this straight Saki, you were more agressive BEFORE starting kendo. That's downright scary. And if I understand this properly you're taking your daily stress out on us (gulp). . . this would explain the bruising (and your kiai ).

                      God help us all.

                      Munenmuso I hope to hear about your kids on the Philippine national team soon.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AlexM
                        Let me get this straight Saki, you were more agressive BEFORE starting kendo. That's downright scary. And if I understand this properly you're taking your daily stress out on us (gulp). . . this would explain the bruising (and your kiai ).
                        Hehe... I see you don't know me... Muahahahahahaha You should have seen me, last weekend (before the first practice of the year) I was totally out of control... 3 weeks without kendo and filled by hours of playstation games... I was realy turning crazy... -_-The bruising was not volontary... the kiai is... (have to work more on it)

                        Phorest:
                        Agressivity and video games are kind of related... except if you play with the Smurfs/Tamagotchi on game boy...
                        Last edited by saki_wooah; 9th January 2003, 02:34 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Just a quick comment on an earlier post.

                          Woman kendo players are not at all "mannish" or tom-boys or the like. In fact, one of our former female students was as "womanly" as you could want. But, she was involved in many many years of martial arts; 8 years of karate, 3 of kendo, and 13 years of gymnastics before those. (She is currently 23 just for reference) What she got out of all of this wasn't a tom-boy attitude, but a sense of self-confidence.

                          Kendo doesn't teach you how to fight, or to be rough and aggressive. It teaches you how to be a better person.

                          Long story short, if your daughter is interested in learning kendo, i would encourage it.

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