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  • I feel like I'm not progressing and no one to help me

    hey guys, long time lurker and casual poster.

    I don't know who to turn to for this issue. I mean, I really don't want to tell any of my peers yet so I'm telling you guys, hoping for some advice.

    I joined my university's kendo club in Fall 2005 and did it for a school year. At the end of the year, one of my sempais told me to hang in there and that everyone goes a different paces. Some people get their bogus in one semester, some people need 1 or 2 years. I'm currently in my last year of uni but I took last semester off so it's my "first" time back to school and kendo, however, I remembered all the strikes and how to do them.

    When I went back to the kendo club, I noticed a lot of members who joined in the previous semester and there were a couple of guys and girls who were already approved for bogu. Of course, I was jealous cause I worked really hard in the last semester and after all that work, not even a look or pointers from the sensei. It's already 2 months into the semester and I'm just wondering, what is my encouragement right now? i mean...I love martial arts. That was my drive when I joined the club anyways and my other purpose was to meet more people cause before leaving school, it's always recommended to setup a network. I also pratice Karate and I learned that for 2 years and I'm actually progressing in that.

    The head sensei of our club rarely teaches us anything for us non-bogu wearing members. He tells us to go to a corner and keep practicing 3 step men, kote or do, running men with ki ai or kirikashi so whatever bad form we have, he wouldn't correct us. ONCE in a while he'll take a look at us and then he'll correct us but that's it. He wouldn't do a full fledge lesson for us. Instead, he focuses on the seniors with bogu and trains them for the next tournament. It's always like this. One tournament after another, it's always like this. Right now, I still don't know how I'm doing in his eyes. Am I doing the correct stances? the correct strikes? I get no feed back from him or the senpais.

    The funny thing is, every senpai teaches differently. I have had different senpais teach me how to do a "proper" running men strike. If each senpai teaches differently, how do I know which is the true way? I guess I won't know cause the head sensei doesn't do a full fledge class for us noobs.



    I didn't post this on the club forum cause I don't really want to ruin the other members' moods since people seems to be so happy posting there but eventually if this crap goes on, i'm gonna say something. My karate sensei teaches everyone yet this guy cares about are the senpais and how to win the next tournament.


  • #2
    Humility is Kendo.
    Patience is Kendo.

    Look at other people on their first day of Kendo and I guarantee you will feel better about your own progression. You will see just how much you've improved. And your senpai are absolutely right when they told you everyone improves at a different pace. If you hang in there and give it 110% everyday you will get into bogu I promise.

    Theres your encouragement. Now go back to the corner and Kendo up!

    Comment


    • #3
      It's not uncommon for sempai to teach beginners, so don't feel you are getting "snubbed".

      Have you ever approached your sensei after class to ask him what you need to work on?

      Comment


      • #4
        chase after two hares and you will catch none

        i guess that might make me sound like a d*ck

        anyway, dunno about your problem. but I can tell you that one aspect of learning kendo is through watching others and their kendo. what are you doing differently from anyone else (in bogu or not). do you understand the meaning of what your sempais are telling you. it isn't just do what i say. people do explain and teach differently but ultimately there is one common goal. as you are in uni now you should be able to take in all the crap (for a lack of a better expression) and filter out what is good and what may be redundent.

        if all else fails, just practice kendo more and more and more. compare yourself to the basics that everyone else is doing and see where you are.

        Comment


        • #5
          One thing I've noticed about Kendo, is that there is a unified effort for quality, and to teach to impart knowledge (not for a quick buck). It seems to have its own culture, which the vast majority respect and observe all the time. For that reason, among others, I'm really glad to have found Kendo.

          That being said, Kendo may be one of the best martial arts (in our opinions ), but not everyone is perfect. I don't know you, "MasterXan", and I don't know your dojo/university club and sensei, so I can't say anything good or bad there. Even if I did, I am still too neophyte to really give you an informed, accurate observation that would help you.

          If you really believe that you are being unfairly snubbed or that the Kendo instruction is not up to snuff, then perhaps you should simply visit another dojo, and maybe even take lessons there for a period. See if there's a difference, see how you feel.

          Like euclid said, Senseis can delegate the teaching of beginners to sempai. And in every case where I see this in real life, the sempai do a damn good job teaching them. Just like how part of being a good kendoka is taking hits (motodachi) as well as giving them, giving instruction as well as receiving it well is important the moment you have clean knowledge to impart to others. To me, teaching seems to be an integral part of training.
          Last edited by Dervish; 11th February 2007, 10:32 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            same for everyone..

            I think there is a same stage for most of us that you feel like you a stuck in one spot that you are not improving at all no matter how hard you try. But have you tried to perfectionate your basic foundation skills??? I think there might be an answer at where you began!!!

            PS> When did you start wearing bogu??? Just out of curiosity...
            There might be exact reason....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rularn View Post
              chase after two hares and you will catch none

              i guess that might make me sound like a d*ck

              anyway, dunno about your problem. but I can tell you that one aspect of learning kendo is through watching others and their kendo. what are you doing differently from anyone else (in bogu or not). do you understand the meaning of what your sempais are telling you. it isn't just do what i say. people do explain and teach differently but ultimately there is one common goal. as you are in uni now you should be able to take in all the crap (for a lack of a better expression) and filter out what is good and what may be redundent.

              if all else fails, just practice kendo more and more and more. compare yourself to the basics that everyone else is doing and see where you are.
              yes I've watched others but I mainly pay attention to the senpai who teaches us. Another funny thing is, the "proper" form of doing a regular men strike is raising the shinai behind your head and pointing it 45 degrees upwards from the back of the head and then strike. However, after WATCHING how some of the lower ranked senpais spar, I noticed that a lot of them don't do the strike in it's entirely. They sacrifice "proper" form for speed. Now remember, these guys got their bogus, they should know better to do the strike in "proper" form at full speed right?

              Anyways, yes I understand what my senpais are telling me. But just cause I'm a uni student doesn't mean I could decipher what to listen and what's not to listetn, at least in this case. I'm a beginner, I listen to the senpai who teaches us. The senpai got to be the senpai to teach the class for a reason right? And that's he has the skill to teach students proper form.

              As for the rest of the replies, thanks a lot! Really, I needed some positive to listen to and I will stick around until the end of the semester cause I did pay for it. I will still practice the moves of course but like some of you suggest, i'll talk with the sensei when the proper time comes.
              Last edited by MasterXan; 11th February 2007, 10:59 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MasterXan View Post
                yes I've watched others but I mainly pay attention to the senpai who teaches us. Another funny thing is, the "proper" form of doing a regular men strike is raising the shinai behind your head and pointing it 45 degrees upwards from the back of the head and then strike. However, after WATCHING how some of the lower ranked senpais spar, I noticed that a lot of them don't do the strike in it's entirely. They sacrifice "proper" form for speed. Now remember, these guys got their bogus, they should know better to do the strike in "proper" form at full speed right?

                Anyways, yes I understand what my senpais are telling me. But just cause I'm a uni student doesn't mean I could decipher what to listen and what's not to listetn, at least in this case. I'm a beginner, I listen to the senpai who teaches us. The senpai got to be the senpai to teach the class for a reason right? And that's he has the skill to teach students proper form.

                As for the rest of the replies, thanks a lot! Really, I needed some positive to listen to and I will stick around until the end of the semester cause I did pay for it. I will still practice the moves of course but like some of you suggest, i'll talk with the sensei when the proper time comes.
                The improper men you are talking about when they spar is the small men. Each basic suburi (men, kote, do) have small variations that are used for matches to increase speed and decrease energy spent during sparring. They are doing things right, it's just that they are doing a different version of it, which you will learn in due time. If you still don't believe me, check out the various videos scattering youtube and on this website and you will see just about everyone doing small versions of strikes during matches.

                Just like others have said, it's best to practice some patience when it comes to this. One reason that I can come up with (though I don't know if it's necessarily true) is that the sempai teach the beginners so the sensei can teach the more advanced techniques to the higher ups. Stuff like this is pretty common so don't take it as the sensei doesn't want to teach you.

                I can see that you are very frustrated, but you must also keep things a bit in perspective, like the fact that you were out for a bit. Things like that happen for many different reasons so it's not the end of the world if something like that happens.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MasterXan View Post
                  yes I've watched others but I mainly pay attention to the senpai who teaches us. Another funny thing is, the "proper" form of doing a regular men strike is raising the shinai behind your head and pointing it 45 degrees upwards from the back of the head and then strike. However, after WATCHING how some of the lower ranked senpais spar, I noticed that a lot of them don't do the strike in it's entirely. They sacrifice "proper" form for speed. Now remember, these guys got their bogus, they should know better to do the strike in "proper" form at full speed right?

                  Anyways, yes I understand what my senpais are telling me. But just cause I'm a uni student doesn't mean I could decipher what to listen and what's not to listetn, at least in this case. I'm a beginner, I listen to the senpai who teaches us. The senpai got to be the senpai to teach the class for a reason right? And that's he has the skill to teach students proper form.

                  As for the rest of the replies, thanks a lot! Really, I needed some positive to listen to and I will stick around until the end of the semester cause I did pay for it. I will still practice the moves of course but like some of you suggest, i'll talk with the sensei when the proper time comes.

                  Don't worry so much about what those in bogu are doing...lots of things change that you don't need to worry about right now. Worry about your own kendo and focus on improving the very basics. Talk to your sensei after class, have him tell you what you need to work on and then WORK on those things. If your sensei sees you focusing on those things and trying to improve, it will go a long way in gleaning future small bits of knowledge from him.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, as for all your sempai saying different things to you, the possibility is that they all are right, but do things slightly differently and word things slightly differently, or have different styles.

                    I have 3 sensei that tell me 3 different things, so I have to pick and choose and see what is right for me.

                    As for not getting any attention and not getting any bogu, well, I got my bogu after 2 montsh hard practice, and got to practice with close supervision of my sensie every day, because of the way the club is run.
                    We have beginner classes, and advanced classs, kid classes, basic classes, ect.

                    So it migth just have to do with your sensei not having enough time to get to everyone. Maybe you should stick with it a little longer, untill you get into bogu, then you will probably get a lot more attention.

                    Good luck.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You never actually said whether you got into bogu or not. You were envious of those that were and those that got into it before you but if you didn't I can really understand your frustration. If you are in bogu then that's a bit better.

                      If you're just doing basic cuts then concentrate 100% on doing them. If you cross the dojo doing cuts and then have to walk back to the other side to start again then do the walking with footwork, for instance. Whilst you are there focus everything you can on doing what little you are told because when you do get to that level you are envious of you will rarely get the chance to go back and look at basics.

                      I see beginners [not that you are one] at out club who haven't got the 'bug' yet. Who still don't focus on what it is they have to do because at their level they feel there is so much they have to get right. They don't kiai, they don't focus on their feet and having correct posture, grip or remember to relax. That is a lot but waiting in line to get your turn is perfect opportunity to practice and prepare for their go.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What the others here have said about delegating Sempai to teaching beginners is common practice. The problem with beginners in Kendo is that there is a high attrition rate. Alot of beginners leave after a short time. So if the Sensei where to devote most of his/her time to training beginners, only for them to leave, it would be counter-productive. If He/She get's an inkling of a feeling that you won't stay in for the long haul (ie leave after this sememster) he/she would probably be reluctant to waste too much time on you. And the Sempai's skill wouldn't improve much during that time, which doesn't help the Dojo in the future. Don't take it personally, it's just a cold fact.

                        Patience will always be called upon in many forms during your training with Kendo, and it sounds like you have the right mindset for it. You just have to show the Sensei that you are in it for the long haul. Good Luck

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MasterXan View Post
                          hey guys, long time lurker and casual poster.

                          I don't know who to turn to for this issue. I mean, I really don't want to tell any of my peers yet so I'm telling you guys, hoping for some advice.

                          I joined my university's kendo club in Fall 2005 and did it for a school year. At the end of the year, one of my sempais told me to hang in there and that everyone goes a different paces. Some people get their bogus in one semester, some people need 1 or 2 years. I'm currently in my last year of uni but I took last semester off so it's my "first" time back to school and kendo, however, I remembered all the strikes and how to do them.
                          ...................

                          I didn't post this on the club forum cause I don't really want to ruin the other members' moods since people seems to be so happy posting there but eventually if this crap goes on, i'm gonna say something. My karate sensei teaches everyone yet this guy cares about are the senpais and how to win the next tournament.

                          i dunno about your univ dojo, but I was under the impression that most univ dojos encourage its beginners to get in bogu right after one semester and in-club grading. (since they only have 4 years max) perhaps you missed the grading.

                          you may have your gripes, but calling your sensei "THIS GUY"... way to show your immaturity.

                          how about approaching the sensei and ask him if you are ready for bogu? no harm done if he says no.
                          Last edited by EBP2K2; 11th February 2007, 09:33 PM. Reason: addition

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            @dwez

                            well since i'm envious of those who have bogu, then of course I don't have bogu.

                            @Fudo-shin

                            the thing is, this club is not only for uni students but it's for anyone. the difference is that the non-students would have to buy an access card or pay every time for entry while the students get their cards for free. some peole who graduated still come back to train. Depending on the situation, I might come back to train after graduating.

                            I know that the attribution rate is high but so are other martial arts. I prefer listening to the word of the sensei since it's always correct so that's why I would rather him giving us maybe at least 30 min of his time to teach us certain strikes cause I don't want every time when I practice my techniques and a senpai comes over and says "hey that's wrong. Do this." *learns new technique*. And then when I pratice the same technique, another senpai comes over and says "hey, it's wrong" and so forth.

                            @EBP2K2

                            well sorry for posting that I was a little frustrated when I said that.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              well....you could just buy bogu and jump into it...has your sensei/sempai told you "absolutely not". Most Dojos can't afford to provide bogu for everyone, so maybe they have been waiting for you to purchase your own as a sign that you want to progress.

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