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Kaerimasu - Return

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  • Kaerimasu - Return

    From a seven year break from Kendo that is.

    Sort of hard to believe that I'm back in the kendo world, and yet here I am. I don't want to get high-falutin' about things, but in 2004 I stopped doing Kendo. There were all manner of reasons I believe, but in short, I stopped and took up a style of kung-fu.

    Long story short, that school closed down last year in August and I was left wondering what to do. I looked at a few other kung-fu schools, an Aikido dojo, and (my god) even a boxing gym. Regardless that these places were all well and good, they all left me feeling vaguely ... empty. I was at a loss. I mean, martial arts is something I've done since I was a kid and suddenly I was no longer inspired.

    One day I looked up at my bogu bag sitting on a shelf in the garage. A fair amount of dust covered it, and I thought to myself "Well, maybe it's time to try Kendo again". I knew there was a Kendo dojo near to where I had moved back in '04, so I went along to simply watch a practice. This was back in October of last year.

    Gosh, what do you know? I sat through maybe all of 10 minutes of that practice before I felt the burning desire to run back home, grab that bogu, and get stuck in again. I looked forward to the next practice like a beginner does and could hardly wait. I was surprised by reaction actually. It was quite strong indeed.

    In fact, what was once a dying ember has burst back into flame.

    Coming back to Kendo? One of the best things I've done in my life.

    (FULL DISCLOSURE: Boy, those bad Kendo habits come straight back though)

  • #2
    Very nice, welcome back! I had a 5-year break, as well, but in my case I had barely made it out of the beginning class. I hadn't even tested for rank or anything before. Now I'm almost three solid years in and have to say that returning to Kendo is one of the best decisions I ever made.

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    • #3
      Yeah, I know the feeling, I've been on hiatus from kendo before too.

      It sounds like you remember how your bad habits were before... don't. Stop even thinking about the past problems in your kendo and just work on what you were taught, bring that kendo to the dojo with you and build on it. Don't forget about your kung fu too. It may not seem like it at first glance, but surely there are elements from your kung fu experience that you can bring into the kendojo too, such as your awesome kung fu posture & balance, and your kime (or whatever one calls one's focus in kung fu), etc.

      When I returned to kendo practice after doing judo for some time, I found my striking posture and ability to move from the hips had improved tremendously. With that said, I credited my kendo background for decent beginning posture, balance, footwork, ability to react to opponent's movement, etc. when I was a beginning judoka.

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      • #4
        Very good point about discarding the bad habits. I've noticed since I've come back that (and maybe it's because I'm older) I don't get distracted by stuff that I used to in Kendo. I can see things a bit better now in terms of where I'm going wrong and such.

        As for the kung-fu, well, I can certainly say that my flexibility is much better than it used to be and I'm more limber than before. So, that in itself, helps with the kendo for sure. As you mention with your judo experience, it's interesting how other martial arts can ultimately benefit each other in ways.

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        • #5
          You know, when we say kendo is a "do," a way, we can envision it as a long, long road. You can get off the road, you can get back on the road. Welcome back. I hope you will share your experiences and point of view with us. For example, what did you take from kung fu? How did it affect you? How is it affecting your kendo? Whatever you feel like sharing.

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