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Grading v. Non Grading Years - Is your Kendo Different?

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  • Gideon
    started a topic Grading v. Non Grading Years - Is your Kendo Different?

    Grading v. Non Grading Years - Is your Kendo Different?

    Something I've been wondering lately and hoping that some of the more experienced Yudansha - or even those who don't try and ascend the ranks of kendo as fast as possible...

    Is your kendo different in years not immediately preceding a grading as compared to those years where you are focused on the shinsa 9 months away?

  • Steve Bishop
    replied
    Originally posted by Kenshi View Post
    Id worry about getting through me successfully in November first!!!
    The words hot, knife and butter immediately spring to mind!

    Leave a comment:


  • Kenshi
    replied
    Originally posted by Steve Bishop View Post
    Belgium February, 2009...bring it on!
    Id worry about getting through me successfully in November first!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Steve Bishop
    replied
    My Tuppenceworth

    My next grading is in 15months and I have used this last year to put a few things in place such as travelling to find other training and sensei and establishing some links so that sensei might come to my home dojo.
    As dojo leader I'm getting on with my two main responsibilities: to develop the dojo as a whole and myself as a teacher through grading and other experience. This is probably the first time I have really mapped out what I will do for the next wee while but I find it very useful.

    I agree with Neil that I train more for myself than before- but also more of the the time; I got some very simple but good advice on staying focussed on my kendo from a sensei who had to wait more than 12 years to be elligible for his next grade. Of course I like to think I make a real effort for the other dojo members, but as we know, teaching can be done also through demonstration (i.e. keiko). As the level in the dojo rises, so does your own practice level so it should be a self-fulfilling development for all. I am very lucky to have great support (financial and otherwise) from a dojo membership that values my training as well as its own but I see priorities as :
    1. Staying focussed on your own practice- this will alert your students to their kendo becoming more effective
    2. Travelling to seminars where you will not have a teaching role- bring variety back into your teaching
    3. Immersing yourself in some training time abroad (Japan is ideal with the right sensei)- to brush up on all the smaller things as Jakob said and really test your own kendo
    This is how my overall practice has changed since passing godan.
    Belgium February, 2009...bring it on!

    Leave a comment:


  • Charlie
    replied
    I have a colleague who has been a shodan for, like, 20 years. I have another who should be a nidan or sandan but due to various travels and school obligations is still an ikkyu!

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  • cesarekim
    replied
    I've heard of one fellow who did kendo for about 12 years and failed his shodan because he was doing too much oji-waza. Sounds strange but I wasn't there so I have no means to verify... The guy is now a godan so I assume his kendo was up to snuff...

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  • Fudo-Shin
    replied
    Hasn't been touched on yet but...

    There is also the situation where, due to circumstance, a student might train for quite alot longer than is required for thier next grade, all the while striving to improve. If the student is training well under good guidance his or her level of Kendo might be above his/her grade. In this situation the student will generally have to "dumb down" his or her Kendo to actually satisfy the panel at that particular shinsa. It's probably not very common but it does happen.

    Has anyone experienced something like this?

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  • PhilMcLaughlin
    replied
    My philosophy is that one should always be trying to improve their kendo, every practise, all the time

    In a year (or longer) when youre eligable to grade then that improvement will naturally be a bit more focussed on the requirement of the grade

    5 minutes after the shinsa (assuming you passed :-) you move the goals to the next level

    Yondan was really tough for me, took a lot of technique & mental, re eningineering 18 months & 3 tries

    The first practise after the shinsa, my sensei's first words were "ahh, Phil. Next lesson !" - made me smile :-)

    Godan required technique refinement but a focus on a different aspect of kendo

    so thats the mindset I try to pass on - Improve your kendo - doesnt matter if youre grading or not

    regards

    Phil..

    Leave a comment:


  • foundinsea
    replied
    I agree. It wasn't until just passing my sandan and the recent tournament that I now have goals to achieve. I've never thought about the grading at any point since I started kendo (even graded shodan about 4 years after I started) but always maintained that one should practice like they play (this philoshophy I picked up from my highschool coaches in other sports). So personally I feel that working hard at your kendo, listening to your sensei (I firmly believe that they are always preparing you for the next dan level and I think most people can sense how their training changes when doing keiko with their sensei), and making efforts to achieve your kendo goals will ultimately prepare you for your next grading automatically.

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  • tango
    replied
    Good post, Jonathan.

    To address the original question only from my own perspective, I think I can honestly say that I didn't do anything different training-wise or practice-wise leading up to 1.kyu all the way through my *second* attempt at 3.dan... that is to say, that I was never really consciously working towards some goal (...which really reenforces the idea in my own mind that I was maybe pretty lucky to pass 3.dan)...

    Maybe a year after 3.dan did it really sink into my head that I needed (and wanted) to actively work on my kendo. Simply prepping for 4.dan has dramatically changed not only my style, but my whole approach (mentally) to practice. And this is something I did not experience in the past.

    As Jonathan alluded to this, now I regularly have a specific goal(s) in mind when I practice. I want to have nicer, cleaner, better kendo, period. If I prepare for taikai, then -- for me -- that disrupts the goal. So with that in mind, I want to practice kendo as if I'm always about to go for shinsa. This keeps things in proper perspective for me, because as Neil said previously, each level requires a different kind of kendo. I am 3.dan, but I am trying to practice as a 4.dan, mentally and physically. Passing 4.dan, to me, would only confirm that I've been doing things right (in a sense, have already been at 4.dan level) and I'm ready to start playing 5.dan-level kendo. By doing this, I hope to be in a constant mental state of kendo "betterment"....

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  • JByrd
    replied
    To me, it doesn't matter if it's a "grading year" or not, the main thing is whether I have well-defined goals.

    Things like passing a shinsa, winning a taikai, etc., are easy goals for us to accept because they are defined for us. They are difficult goals to use because the process of exactly how to achieve those goals is not well defined. Different people need to do different things.

    I've found that I gain a lot more through the use of much simpler goals that I can easily verify for myself. Early on, they were things like, "I will not allow my left heel to touch the floor." Now they are things like "I will not move until my opponent moves."

    When we go into keiko with appropriate and concrete goals for ourselves, we are more sure to improve. Showing up to keiko with the idea of "I wonder what we'll do today?" hasn't helped me get better.

    I agree with the idea that the best way to pass a shinsa is to go in knowing that we are already at the level we are testing for. It takes the pressure off to think of the shinsa as a formality where we can show the judges what we already know.

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  • Shazzanzzz
    replied
    I'm only nidan, so maybe my opinions doesn't matter as much, haha. But, when I have shinsa, I would focus my kendo more towards basics and forms and improving my kendo and not worry about winning. When it's close to shiai time, I practice more on winning and practice more that way in ji-geiko.

    Leave a comment:


  • cesarekim
    replied
    I like taking a bit of time off after a grading and just have fun with it. When I passed my 4dan in judo and tkd, I took about a year off from "exam training". I just went to practice and to competitions for fun. That was probably the most fun period as I didn't have to study for coaching classes or anything either. When I passed 4dan, I had to start taking coaching classes as well so it wasn't quite the same afterwards. I passed my 5dan but stopped practicing both as work was too busy...

    I started consciously preparing for kendo sandan about a year after passing nidan. I will be able to challenge yondan in June 2009 so formal test preparation starts around this coming January. Test preparation for me means that I need to work on kihon on my own time and then apply it during class. It's a pretty intense period as I need to work about an hour on my own on my off days and then try to use this stuff on peoiple who are just as intent on hitting me as I am on hitting them...

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  • Newbie
    replied
    I've heard from quite a number of people, yondan and higher, that as soon as you pass one grade, you prepare training for the next, even if it's years off because that's how long it takes to get ready. I feel something like this though I haven't graded in kendo and only have very low kyu grades in iaido and jodo so maybe it's cos at the moment my gradings are (generally) only six months apart but I pass one grading, start training for the next. I missed one mid this year cos of the injury that prevents me doing any more kendo or iaido but since I passed my last jodo grading, every time I pick up the staff I have my nikkyu grading in mind. Knowing I can't do iaido or kendo though, I still do sitting men cuts every day and still try to get them 'right' so I'm not sure, in practise, what difference it makes.

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  • neko
    replied
    i agree with Martch, this is how i have experienced the time after grading. however, moving from nidan to sandan, i more actively think about grading during regular practice. at least to the point that it reminds me to always strive for that intensity that is necessary for good keiko. when i slack, i think, "this is not how you are going to obtain sandan".

    i realize that i am not that high ranking, so my opinion may not be what you are looking for. but, this is the first time that i do not have a grading right around the corner, so the question was intersting to me.

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