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San Diego Kendo.... how is it?

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  • San Diego Kendo.... how is it?

    Hi folks,

    This is my first post on these forums. I'm really glad there is a place to talk about kendo online, as I'm currently in Japan right now. Help in my native language is few and far between.

    Anywho, as I said, I'm in Japan right now, and I started kendo last September. I'm having alot of fun! I also happen to be the first foreigner to join this school (Seiwakai, Isawa-cho, Yamanashi-ken); however, I don't get the "extra attention" many other gaikokujin in the area get, for which I am thankful. I am learning mostly through imitation and (again, thankfully) from one of the sensei's who spent some time in California and Oregon, so he speaks pretty good english.

    As of yesterday, I now hold the rank of ikkyu. While the rank thing isn't all that big a deal to me (except to make my sensei proud, including that one that hates foreigners), I'm worried that when I get back home, it will become a big deal.

    So, to make a long story short, I'm curious to know if anyone in San Diego or the So. Cal area can enlighten me on what I can look forward to when I get back. I will hopefully be shodan or nidan by the time I get back, but will that matter? There seems to be a sort of disparity between countries and their rank systems, how dojo view rank within their schools, etc. Will I get drilled by the sensei I see back home, to see if I deserve my rank? Will I get demoted? Am I going to be made to help instruct, or will I be put off to the side to learn how it's done in the US of A?

  • #2
    You probably won't play at the shodan/nidan level of the states, simply because of a lack of experience. It's a lot easier to get your early yudansha grades in Japan. You might get drilled by the sensei in san diego, or he'll just dismiss you as a beginner who holds a high rank. You most likely won't be demoted nor will you instruct. You probably will be put off the side.

    Let's be real here, after a few months of experience you're probably not as good as someone who has had years of personal attention.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply Will.

      So the nidan level in the US is considered a higher-level skill than that in Japan? I hope to have nidan before I get on the plane back home (2.5 years from now). If I keep up at the rate of skill progression I'm going at, by then I hope to have enough skill to stay competitive.

      I guess I'm just worried about how those in SD will treat me, since I didn't start there. There was a post on these forums with a poll that showed only 3 or 4 people that started in Japan and are in the US training now. I don't know what their experiences were, but I'd love to hear what they have to say about it.

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      • #4
        Nidan in 3 years is fast but not super-fast, most people in Canada would take 4 years minimum. Some of the regional federations in the US take a slower progression through the kyu, another factor you'll find is that a lot of the nidan people started kendo when they were kids and so have a lot of years under their belt before they are allowed to test. There's a big difference between someone who starts at 20 and is nidan at 24, and someone who starts at age 6 and is finally allowed to get nidan at 17. Finally, if you are learning kendo at a high school, you may find the sensei back home trying to adjust your kendo to a more adult style.

        Just remember that most of the instructors in the US are either Japanese immigrants of nisei, and they understand very well where you will be coming from. It shouldn't be a problem. Most clubs will be more than happy to accept a new member with experience, and so long as you're not putting on airs about your Japan training being superior, you'll do fine. Seems like no danger about that given the tone of your post.

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        • #5
          Ikkyu in only 5 months? man, I'm 3th kyu and it took me one year to get it. In Belgium you'd spend easely over 3 years to get your 1st dan. I envy you guys. I think everyone should go trough all the kyu fases. (ah well,ranks dont really count anyways, Kendo matters, not the ranks)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Will
            You probably won't play at the shodan/nidan level of the states, simply because of a lack of experience. It's a lot easier to get your early yudansha grades in Japan. You might get drilled by the sensei in san diego, or he'll just dismiss you as a beginner who holds a high rank. You most likely won't be demoted nor will you instruct. You probably will be put off the side.

            Let's be real here, after a few months of experience you're probably not as good as someone who has had years of personal attention.
            most likely you be in the shodan ,nidan division , you must bring your menjo to the dojo for your sensei to look at it , then the federation will take a look at it ..

            but if its from IKF or AJKF, then no problem ..

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            • #7
              Since the AJKF is setting the basis for what is nidan and shodan, you should be ok. But like will said, getting your shodan that early would lead to a bit of an interesting situation here. Some people might have high expectations out of you. The "oooh you got your shodan in Japan?" thing. But the more curious people (most likely sensei and dans) might ask you about what your background is, etc.. They'll also "test the waters" on you. They'll immediately know whether you are "good" or not.

              Most people who start kendo in the States (and all the kendoka in California) usually take 1-2 years at the least to get to ikkyu. I took 2 years for me to get to 2kyu and 1 1/2 years after to get to shodan..

              Tim
              Last edited by samurai999; 17th February 2004, 08:08 AM.

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