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Practicing Kendo on fencing strips

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  • Practicing Kendo on fencing strips

    HI folks,

    I just learned today that my university's Fencing club will be moving to a new space that we will be sharing with the Kendo club.

    The good news is that the space is larger than our old room and air-conditioned. The bad news is that it the floor is hard tile over concrete.

    We have built a couple of fencing strips of plywood & rubber which offer better traction & cushioning. They are roughly 4 ft wide by 30 ft long.

    I understand that Kendo competitions take place in a square space. Would a long, narrow rectangle be acceptable for practice?

  • #2
    It's nice to have the whole floor; but being restricted to linear movement isn't unheard of - you'll see it at crowded dojo where people are forced into it in order to avoid bumping into others. Practicing with this restriction may even help you be mindful of your surroundings, and force you into an attack mindset because you won't be able to sidestep when someone moves in.

    But 4ft is restrictive; you'll need more than that to successfully execute a do strike or a taiatari at an angle.

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    • #3
      OP, I get the impression you are asking as a member of the fencing club rather than kendo club. If so, are you asking out of intellectual curiosity or are you trying to help solve a problem? A plywood piste meant for shoes might not have the right finish for barefoot kendo (splinters) aside from the size problem. A raised piste, even if slight, sounds like injuries waiting to happen, at least a lot of tripping and stubbed toes.

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      • #4
        Yes - I am with the fencing club. I'm trying to get an idea of how best to set up the new space to meet the needs of both groups wrt comfort, safety, and utility. FWIW, our strips are rubber on top of plywood, so they should be ok for bare feet. 4 ft is marrower than we would like, (regulation width is 2 meters) but it was the best we could do with the available space and materials. Students will be returning to campus in a few weeks. We will meet with the Kendo club and work out a plan. Thanks for your help.

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        • #5
          Rubber is a horrible surface for bare feet. I would also be concerned about injuries as people stepped on the edges or off of the platform. The narrow width restricts many of the techniques we do. If I was running the kendo club I would be searching for alternative space.

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          • #6
            Good to know about the rubber. I take it that hard tile is also undesirable? The Kendo club previously shared space w/ Judo - they may wish to continue that arrangement.

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            • #7
              The rubber tends to tear up the feet with the sliding footwork we use. Hard tile is better but you have to adjust the footwork to avoid injury. Judo would be a no-go unless the tatami can be moved and the suporting floor easily cleaned.

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              • #8
                Kendo needs to be practiced on a "sprung" wood floor. The meaning of sprung can be acheived with rubberized layers of cushion to absorb the impact of the stamping footwork we use and avoid long term joint injuries (we don't wear shoes to cushion impact). Most gym floors are "sprung" this way and they work fine for kendo.

                The ideal kendo floor uses planed but unfinished wood (pref. Japanese cypress) . This feels slippery but is both easier on the skins of the feet and promotes a better sense of body center. However, this is only possible if the floor can enjoy a clean protocol, e.g. no outside shoes bringing in grime or soles that can damage the floor. Hence most gym floors have high wear polyurethane floor finishes, which is slightly grippy so a bit less gentle on the feet and more forgiving of poor center (but still miles better than rubber).

                If possible, how about cover the entire floor with gym quality sprung (cushioned) wood floor? You can use sports tape to mark pistes if necessary. I used to fence as well but on a standard wooden gym floor and it was all right. I guess that may beyond uni policy and your club finances.

                Aside this, if you're putting plywood directly on the tile, won't it scratch?
                Last edited by dillon; 20th July 2016, 10:45 AM.

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                • #9
                  Dillon, have you priced sprung wood flooring? Unless the fencing club has access to D1 football level funding, that ain't happening.

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                  • #10
                    Gendzwill-sensei. I did include caveats.

                    Originally posted by dillon View Post
                    If possible...
                    Originally posted by dillon View Post
                    ...I guess that may beyond uni policy and your club finances.

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