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  • Traits of a 'good' kendo student.

    I have been thinking about qualities/ traits of a 'good' kendo student. What traits are found in a good kendo student ?

    Straightforward I'd say the ability to listen and to absorb advice from your sensei and sempais. Perseverance and sutemi are also very important but I got stuck on the idea of listing and follow-your-senseis-advice. On first sight, this could be a positive trait but is it really that good ? People who simply listen and copy can only advance as far as their sensei has come. Now this is a lot if you are living in Japan and you have a highly experienced and impeccable sensei. In other parts of the world this can be a different story.

    I might have to go back to a definition of what 'good' in 'good kendo student' means. I believe the follwing points should be achieved:

    1. excellent technical skills
    2. impeccable character
    3. skills to further the development of kendo.

    Well, listening might earn you excellent technical skills but 2. and 3. are not only achieved by listening and following advice. Reflection on advice received and reflection on your actions in addition to questioning a great deal are IMHO very important. From what I have read/ experienced so far, questioning is not really appropriate until you have travelled a very long way on the way of the sword. First you do what your sensei tells you. Once you have attained mastery, you can go your own way.

    I was just wondering if you are going to loose the ability to question and to refelect on this strenuous way. I believe fostering these abilities all the time is important. Only then can all three abilities be achieved. But this sounds like trouble ...

    I mean: Great martial artist have questioned the establishment (musashi, bruce lee (not sure to what extend)). From what I have read about Yamaoka Tesshu I could also imagine that there were some conflicts too, although he often stresses the importance of the tradition.

    To sum it up: Isn't the ideal student the one who listens and reflects but secretly questions the senseis advice; being a rebel when the sensei isn't very good ? This seems like a clash with honesty, sincerity and rei to me if he wants to stay in his dojo.

    I hope it wasn't too confusing.

    I appreciate your thoughts in this matter !

    Cheers,
    dotnet

  • #2
    Play guitar and tennis . Those are good traits with kendo.

    Guitar - Rhythm and timing. Why not other intruments? Go ask your sensei.

    Tennis- Fast, sharp reflexes and reactions.


    They go very well with kendo .

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Flylkorean
      Guitar - Rhythm and timing. Why not other intruments? Go ask your sensei.
      Tennis- Fast, sharp reflexes and reactions.
      But this primarily adresses technical skills. I was looking for character qualities (i.e. traits). Or am I simply too unmusical to grasp the concept ?

      Cheers,
      dotnet

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dotnet
        But this primarily adresses technical skills. I was looking for character qualities (i.e. traits). Or am I simply too unmusical to grasp the concept ?

        Cheers,
        dotnet
        Hmm probably the only trait that you need in kendo is "jasheen". Its a korean word but I frgt what its American counterpart is.... I think its spirit. If you have the spirit to learn, that is enough. Other traits will come to you once you get deep into kendo. Examples, honesty, loyalty, honor, etc. If you really wanna learn kendo, thats all you need. That "jasheen" to learn will make you a good kendoka.

        - if any koreans can help me on the "jasheen" , it would much appreciated.

        Comment


        • #5
          You forgot masochism.

          But I think in any case, it's the same as a student of anything, budo or non-budo. One of the most important traits is having a great willingness to learn. Willingness to learn, whether you're good in kendo or not, will go a long way in building character.

          Comment


          • #6
            Just show up regularily. Experience has shown me it's a trait that 99% of kendo students don't have.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Flylkorean
              Play guitar and tennis . Those are good traits with kendo.

              Tennis- Fast, sharp reflexes and reactions.

              They go very well with kendo .
              If you think tennis is good for those reasons, you should play table tennis. Faster than a cheetah with a molotov up its behind, it's wicked! The day i bought my first table i was truely a happy man

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                Just show up regularily. Experience has shown me it's a trait that 99% of kendo students don't have.
                i agree.
                skills will develop as long as this one trait exists...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                  Just show up regularily. Experience has shown me it's a trait that 99% of kendo students don't have.
                  Is this a trait of kendo? I've noticed that people seem to come and go, and not train very regularily, compared to other martial arts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm not sure does this make any sense to you, I try to participate every practice unless I really have to work. Sometimes due to certain circumstances I even went to class late (but not practicing), and sit one side to observe. I'll still show up when I can't practice, for example, injured. I noticed that I am among those who given more attention and respect by the senseis than those who just fool around. This is just part of my experience, not intend to prove anything.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      1st: Perseverance.

                      You can argue about character, but lack of good technical ability does not mean that people aren't good students. For the most of the kendo population, kendo isn't about getting to point A, it's about the journey. Granted, we got certain expectations and goals, often followed by an idea of how long it should take to get there (at least the nearest couple of goals), but it is still the journey that's important.

                      As for breaking with tradition, it's already 'built in' with shu-ra-ri.

                      Jakob

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with Jakob and Neil here. When they show a willingness to turn up, they naturally get better through their own enthusiasm and the practise that they do.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JSchmidt

                          As for breaking with tradition, it's already 'built in' with shu-ra-ri.

                          Jakob
                          That should be shu-ha-ri, of course!.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Another trait is the willingness of students to improve. Here I thinking of the maxim that you should only ever be told something once. Obviously it is very difficult to incorporate something on the first pass, but at least the student should make a sincere effort to do so.

                            To put it a different way, a Japanese potter was explaining his art of a westerner. He said there was no mysteries, but the student had to be willing to learn. 'No bad teachers' he said. 'Just bad students'

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JSchmidt
                              1st: Perseverance.

                              You can argue about character, but lack of good technical ability does not mean that people aren't good students. For the most of the kendo population, kendo isn't about getting to point A, it's about the journey. Granted, we got certain expectations and goals, often followed by an idea of how long it should take to get there (at least the nearest couple of goals), but it is still the journey that's important.

                              As for breaking with tradition, it's already 'built in' with shu-ra-ri.

                              Jakob
                              Idealistically speaking. IMO most people have either rank and/or competition success as their main goal.

                              Comment

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