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  • Only YOU in the dojo

    Hi All,

    It was a heavy raining day. However, I didn't want to miss my chance at going to training so I still went to the dojo even though the weather was so bad. So I turned up and I was the only non-sensei there. I'm taking the assumptions that none of the other kendokas turned up because of the bad weather.

    So I trained only with Senseis (we have a few that come to our dojo). I felt so nervous and scared because they can eye on exactly everything you do - and all your mistakes. I understand that this is a benefit as now you are getting personalised training, but it was the first time I did more than expected training - as usually there are other kendoka so you would take turns, and you might at least get a few mins break before it's your turn again. And I was fearful that I would make a mistake. It's funny how the psychology works - it's not that my technique is bad. In regular training, I try to do my waza well. But when I'm the only one there, I think that I'm not doing it well and I'm worried that the sensei will pick on all my mistakes.

    No complaints. Just wanted to share my experience with others and wanted to see if anyone else out there had been in a similar situation.

  • #2
    i have never been the only non sensei in the dojo. However, there have been a couple of times when it has just been me, my sensei and his son who turned up to practise. In my opinion,I prefer it when its just a few people around as more of your mistakes can be pointed out and fixed.
    Just my take on this

    Comment


    • #3
      What a wonderful chance! Of course you were self-conscious, but that too is something to work on and with.

      Comment


      • #4
        Keiko where you are the only student (or a small handful of students) are truly terrifying! There's no place to hide.

        However, as Ron above says it's a very fortunate opportunity, because, well....there's no place to hide!

        Being human, I find those scenarios intimidating of course, but also extremely beneficial. There is something about keiko with a large group of people that also raises your own kendo, but in those rare instances where you get very pointed instruction due to a very small group of students, well, those are treasures.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've been in practices where I was the only one in the whole room. Just me.

          Those were lonely times.

          Comment


          • #6
            i've been lucky enough to be in quite a few of those situations as a guest to certain dojos/types of dojos in japan. feels like an honour everytime that they would even allow me to join their rotation, so i try to train as hard as i can when i'm there!

            Comment


            • #7
              It's good psychological practice too. If you think it's terrifying just having the sensei you know watching you, just imagine what it'd be like at a shinsa with hachidan hanshi's you don't know watching you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Glad to hear that I'm not the only one that experienced it. I really learnt alot from that day. I remember when I walked in on the heavy raining day, putting on my gear and not seeing anyone else coming in. So I asked the sensei (who has a good sense of humour) - 'is it OK if I just clean the floor?' (said it in Japanese). He just laughed and said 'I've already done it'.

                'Doh!'.

                So later on the practice when I was practicing waza, coz it was only me I did so many rounds and I was huffed and puffed. Then sensei said to me 'That was just warm up!'

                At the end of training - it was a great training session.

                Comment


                • #9
                  These are the best kind of keiko. Think of it as running around Dagobah with Yoda on your back (minus Luke's whinging hopefully).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The one time this happened to me (I'd probably been in bogu about six months) I think I learned more waza than in the prior year combined. I still remember that lesson. Of course I don't recall having done uchiotoshi since.

                    But on the whole, I'm not sure that kind of attention results in my best Kendo. I like the mix of beginners, experienced people, people better than me (almost everyone), and sensei. Sensei are like a rock and it's hard to feel like you're making [any] progress going against a rock; I find it particularly impossible to exert any seme.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When our dojo started in 1970, there were two adult sensei and only one 8 year-old student, a situation that lasted several weeks before other youths finally joined in. Adult students came even later. That 8 year-old is now the head of our dojo, having practiced without pause, even through college, for nearly 42 years. Our 1992 Hatsukeiko, saw just himself, my 7 year-old son and me - a great experience for beginners.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That was pretty much how kendo always was for me when I started (in a way). As an 18 year old in Japan, I was in my dojo's adult group, which didn't have any other beginners. Only those 7-dan and higher sat on the kamiza side of the dojo, except for our head sensei's wife (renshi 6-dan at the time, now kyoshi 7-dan). There were always the two of them and another 7-dan, plus usually a mix of other visiting sensei including two 8-dans and a regularly attending 9-dan. We didn't refer to the others (< 7-dan) as "sensei" unless they were senior in age. Nobody would refer to a 28 year old 5-dan as a "sensei" there. Other than me, the only other 'low ranking' students were a 3-dan, a 1-dan, and usually some mix of very serious university, high school, and junior high students. I had never heard of a "kyu" rank until I was testing for 1-kyu. Since this was how I started, I didn't really know a dojo to be any other way.

                        I did get to practice with others more at my peer level though. I also had the priveledge to practice with the local high school (their head sensei was a student at my dojo) and a community club run by some local police sensei whose membership consisted of various house wives, children, non-competing adults, etc.

                        It wasn't until I returned to the United States, that I was really able to fully appreciate the high level of instruction, and kendo in general, at my old dojo (although it had been revealed to me at some point that our 9-dan sensei was one of only 3 left in Japan at the time, late '90s).

                        I think keiko with sensei-level kenshi all night long is a great way to practice, but I think we can all agree that also having the opportunity to practice with you peers is very important... and a lot of fun.
                        Last edited by DigitalDowntown; 15th March 2012, 07:12 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          When you line up and you're the only one on the other side, you get to feel a moment of glory :P

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KendoPadawan View Post
                            Just wanted to share my experience with others and wanted to see if anyone else out there had been in a similar situation.
                            I was the only student in the dojo for something like six months, so it was just me and Sensei for that entire time. A wonderful opportunity, although I wish that I had been able to develop more than I did. A student not hounded by forgetfulness and absent minded whimsies and daydreams would have been able to make better use of the time. I still owe Sensei a debt of gratitude for being so patient with me during that entire time and for remaining so patient.

                            Originally posted by KendoPadawan View Post
                            In regular training, I try to do my waza well. But when I'm the only one there, I think that I'm not doing it well and I'm worried that the sensei will pick on all my mistakes.
                            I know what you mean. Much like that for me. I would also become much more frustrated when I could not pick up a technique or lesson quickly, because I felt like I was wasting his time or that I was not making as much out of a great opportunity as I could have been.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KendoPadawan View Post
                              Hi All,

                              It was a heavy raining day. However, I didn't want to miss my chance at going to training so I still went to the dojo even though the weather was so bad. So I turned up and I was the only non-sensei there. I'm taking the assumptions that none of the other kendokas turned up because of the bad weather.

                              So I trained only with Senseis (we have a few that come to our dojo). I felt so nervous and scared because they can eye on exactly everything you do - and all your mistakes. I understand that this is a benefit as now you are getting personalised training, but it was the first time I did more than expected training - as usually there are other kendoka so you would take turns, and you might at least get a few mins break before it's your turn again. And I was fearful that I would make a mistake. It's funny how the psychology works - it's not that my technique is bad. In regular training, I try to do my waza well. But when I'm the only one there, I think that I'm not doing it well and I'm worried that the sensei will pick on all my mistakes.

                              No complaints. Just wanted to share my experience with others and wanted to see if anyone else out there had been in a similar situation.
                              I think it is normal to be nervous but I also think those are the BEST training sessions you can get. In many activities (not kendo), people would pay huge sums of money to have a lesson like that. Don't worry about your technique being worse than normal, they will appeciate the effort you are making in turning up.

                              I've had similar situations in other martial arts and come close in kendo kendo.

                              Comment

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