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  • University Kendo in Eastern US?

    I am a high school senior trying to come at decision for university. I'm finalizing between Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Michigan, NYU, Penn. I am a competitive Kendo player and competed in AUSKF nationals representing my federation. I would like to continue to pursue Kendo in college, but I would like to join a team that has large team members with prospects to attend tournaments and mingle with other college Kendo players. Does anybody know anything about Kendo in these schools? I have seen what they have of their websites, but I would like to get first hand opinions.

  • #2
    I've been to a few tournaments where some of these schools have competed as well and some of my dojo members have had matches with them as well so, this is just my personal take based on observing their kendo.

    The Cornell club stands out in my memory as being one of the larger college clubs I've seen as well as one of the more competitive one's. A couple of their current members struck me as very aggressive, one jodan kenshi in particular if I remember correctly. By the looks of things, it would seem you'll get some good practices with them and you'll be able to participate in a few tournaments a year (Rutgers, Harvard, etc.).

    By Penn, do you mean U Penn or Penn State? Both clubs are on the smaller side with the U Penn club being the youngest and least experienced.

    I've seen Columbia and NYU club members at a few other tournaments but my memory is a little hazy on how their kendo is so I can't comment with any authority.

    That being said, I would caution you against picking a school based on their kendo club. You're first and foremost a student and your focus should be on your education. You should pick the school that has academic programs you are most interested in since they will build the foundation for post-college life. If you choose a school purely because you want to practice kendo, then what will you do when you graduate? Sure, it's great to be able to practice kendo with a good, strong club while you're an undergrad but it shouldn't be at the expense of a good education. A good education will lead to good job prospects (debatable given the economy but that's an entirely separate debate) which will in turn, hopefully, lead to a good job that will allow you to practice kendo in the long run.

    Having said that, all of the schools you have listed are top notch so the quality of academics isn't an issue. The question you have to ask yourself is, "will I be happy at [school name] for the next 4 or more years?" If you haven't already, visit those schools and try to picture yourself there. Think about how good of a fit each school is without even thinking about kendo. What's the point of going to a school with a strong kendo club if you hate everything else about that school?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ShinKenshi View Post
      That being said, I would caution you against picking a school based on their kendo club. You're first and foremost a student and your focus should be on your education. You should pick the school that has academic programs you are most interested in since they will build the foundation for post-college life. If you choose a school purely because you want to practice kendo, then what will you do when you graduate? Sure, it's great to be able to practice kendo with a good, strong club while you're an undergrad but it shouldn't be at the expense of a good education. A good education will lead to good job prospects (debatable given the economy but that's an entirely separate debate) which will in turn, hopefully, lead to a good job that will allow you to practice kendo in the long run.

      Having said that, all of the schools you have listed are top notch so the quality of academics isn't an issue. The question you have to ask yourself is, "will I be happy at [school name] for the next 4 or more years?" If you haven't already, visit those schools and try to picture yourself there. Think about how good of a fit each school is without even thinking about kendo. What's the point of going to a school with a strong kendo club if you hate everything else about that school?
      +1.

      When I picked colleges I picked the school with the best tennis program, because like you I was competing a lot throughout highschool in tennis. When I got there, I learned it was actually a little too good for me and I never played. I'm not saying you won't make your school's Kendo team, but I am saying that things change in life but you can't go back and choose a new college all over again. Choose a school based on its overall feel and fit; your Kendo will be fine.

      [Btw, maybe Columbia's Kendo club isn't as big as Cornell's, but there is a lot of Kendo in NYC (and even Brown is just 30 minutes from a very good dojo in Massachusetts) So you may not want to limit your kendo search to the university clubs, only].

      Comment


      • #4
        Frankly I don't think I needed advise on how to selecti colleges on this forum. For that I have my peers, my teachers, and my advisors as well as my own five senses to decide for that myself as I visit the schools. I just wanted to survey information about Kendo club on a forum specializing in this topic matter.

        But aside from that, I do appreciate your input that rates the skill level of players, styles, tournament participation, etc of clubs in some of the schools. I was referring to Upenn in case Penn was not clear.

        Thanks for your comments, and I look forward to reading more

        Comment


        • #5
          You forgot Michigan State University (different from Michigan which usually means University of Michigan ..and also has a kendo dojo).
          We (MSU that is) have been hosting the yearly MWKF student tournament which provides one avenue to interact with collegiate kenshi. There are a dedicated group that travel and we seem to pull in a fair number of visitors each year. In addition to scheduled practices, which frankly are designed more for new kenshi than hard core folks, there is a group that meets for informal practices pretty much daily. They also travel to Detroit (Tagawa sensei) and other dojos quite regularly.

          If you're going to be in Cleveland this weekend, look me up and we can chat.

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          • #6
            If you choose a school in New York City, remember that in addition to your own school's kendo club, you will also have access to four dojos in town with strong kendoka in each of them.

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            • #7
              Didn't apply to Michigan state. I mean UMICH.

              Easy access to dojos in NYC is definitely a strong pull. This raises another factor I have to evaluate: strong club bonding but less kendo development (seems to be the case in Cornell that seems to be isolated from major cities) vs. less bonding but strong kendo skills development (NYC schools or Umich).

              Comment


              • #8
                Didn't apply to Michigan state. I meant U of Michigan

                Easy access to dojos in NYC is definitely a strong pull. This raises another factor I have to evaluate: strong club bonding but less kendo development (seems to be the case in Cornell that seems to be isolated from major cities) vs. less bonding but strong kendo skills development (NYC schools or Umich).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hello,

                  I was a graduate student at the University of Michigan from 2003-2010, and was part of the kendo club while I was a student there. I know the club and the clubs around the area well, and go back at least once a year to practice with my friends and my former sensei, and to go to the Detroit Tournament. I graduated in 2010 and moved to the Baltimore area and have been practicing at a local dojo since then.


                  If you would like, you can PM me and I can give you a good idea of what kind of club UM has, and whether or not its what you're looking for.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't know tuition, employment after graduation, location, etc might factor in before kendo. It has been a while since I graduated 2004 but I still am familar somewhat with the college scene. Cornell is probably older than the other clubs you listed and the Cornell Tournament is the biggest college tournament in the fall with the Harvard Shoryuhai being the largest college tournament and it takes place in the spring. I'm not sure any other colleges host an annual tournament that has been running as long as Cornell and Harvard. It would be easy to say go with Cornell which also probably has the most students with previous kendo experience and you would be happy but Ithaca is far from most places.

                    At NYU and Columbia you would have access to other dojos and the city. Most likely some of the students if they live in NY will also practice at other dojos plus NY will be closer to some tournament than Ithaca. At the same time I know someone that goes to Brown that started kendo in middle school at my dojo. Since going to Brown which is a smaller group he probably practices/enjoys more than he did as a high schooler. Also I know somebody who was practicing as a highschooler and wanted to go to a certain school because they had a kendo club. He ended up hating practicing with the club (not mentioned in your list) after a year and quit kendo.

                    I still communicate with many of the people I met at tournaments at Cornell and Harvard when I was a college student so attending those tournaments will help you mingle with other college players. It might be in your best interest to visit the campuses and perhaps even practice with the clubs if you want. Which might not be economical depending on where you are located. But if you can find out early that maybe Captain of Club A is d-bag and since he is only a sophomore and you want to transfer it will save you money in the long run. Goodluck

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by daigakukendo View Post
                      Frankly I don't think I needed advise on how to selecti colleges on this forum.
                      I think they were just trying to be helpful......

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I put this list together recently by pulling all Universities Club names off the AUSKF website... it might be useful to those considering how to include kendo in their college plans.

                        University of Washington, WA
                        Harvard University, MA
                        United States Military Academy (West Point), NY
                        Willamette University, OR
                        Oregon State University, OR
                        University of Oregon, OR
                        University California - Los Angeles, CA
                        University of Dartmouth Kendo Club, NH
                        University of Florida, FL
                        University of Rochester, NY
                        Marymount College, NY
                        Reedley Community College, CA
                        Bethany College, WV
                        Eastern Kentucky University, KY
                        University of Cincinnati, OH
                        University of Kentucky, KY
                        Ohio State University, OH
                        Salem-Teikyo University, WV
                        Indiana University, IN
                        University of Pittsburgh, PA
                        Princeton University, NJ
                        Cleveland State University, OH
                        Case Western Reserve University, OH
                        John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NY
                        Rutgers University, NJ
                        Shawnee State University, OH
                        Yale University, CT
                        Carleton College, MN
                        Eastern Michigan University, MI
                        Michigan State University, MI
                        University of Chicago, IL
                        University of Michigan, MI
                        University of Wisconsin, WI
                        San Jose State University, CA
                        University of Colorado, CO
                        University of Nebraska, NE
                        Osaka Sangyo University, CA
                        Miramar College, CA
                        Tallahassee Community College, FL
                        University of South Florida, FL
                        Anne Arundel Community College, MD
                        University of North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
                        Williams & Mary University, VA
                        University of Houston, TX
                        University of Texas - Austin, TX
                        Tulane University, LA
                        University of Texas - El Paso, TX
                        Texas A&M, TX

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by daigakukendo View Post
                          I am a high school senior trying to come at decision for university. I'm finalizing between Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Michigan, NYU, Penn. I am a competitive Kendo player and competed in AUSKF nationals representing my federation. I would like to continue to pursue Kendo in college, but I would like to join a team that has large team members with prospects to attend tournaments and mingle with other college Kendo players. Does anybody know anything about Kendo in these schools? I have seen what they have of their websites, but I would like to get first hand opinions.

                          If you are using kendo as a deciding factor, I would pick a school in NYC simply because of the instructors you will have access to in town and a larger population of kendo players.

                          Myself personally, Id be using other criteria to make my final selection.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Toshiro Mifune View Post
                            At NYU and Columbia you would have access to other dojos and the city.
                            I believe Ken-Zen Dojo provides (a) coach(es) for NYU and NYC Kendo Club for Columbia.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If kendo is so important to you when it comes to picking a place for higher education, why didn't you apply to a university in Japan then? If you think that people on this forum only do kendo then you are grossly mistaken.

                              Originally posted by daigakukendo View Post
                              Frankly I don't think I needed advise on how to selecti colleges on this forum. For that I have my peers, my teachers, and my advisors as well as my own five senses to decide for that myself as I visit the schools. I just wanted to survey information about Kendo club on a forum specializing in this topic matter.

                              But aside from that, I do appreciate your input that rates the skill level of players, styles, tournament participation, etc of clubs in some of the schools. I was referring to Upenn in case Penn was not clear.

                              Thanks for your comments, and I look forward to reading more

                              Comment

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