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Kendo hiatus...and the journey to get back.

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  • Kendo hiatus...and the journey to get back.

    Hello everyone, and long time no see. I've been away from KWF for a while because, for the past 3 or so years, I have not been practising kendo.

    Why did I stop? There wasn't a particular event per se that made me stop. It's a bunch of injuries that I'd sustained in kendo that precipitated the training cessation as it's painful and therefore no longer fun to train anymore. As my injuries involved my right hip & knee, I tried switching to jodan to help me cope, and to help me stay in training. Despite instructions by an excellent jodan teacher, in reality I'm too short for jodan (1.65m) and it was difficult to make things work. My sensei wasn't that keen on it either day. One day, I just stopped turning up at the dojo. No warning what so ever. Just couldn't make myself go anymore. Kendo was making me unhappy. I thought it was going to be a temporary thing, but one life event led to another and 3 years passed by just like that.

    I didn't get to say proper goodbyes to my kendo friends. I just mysteriously disappeared, physically speaking. This I deeply regret. Been away from kendo has been an extremely weird out-of-the-body experience because discovering kendo was a pretty defining part of my life. With no proper closure, and with hardly any surprise, I often dreamed of keiko sessions (lol I know right!) that seemed pretty vivid to me. Though I'd been physically away, kendo wasn't totally out of my life as I still kept up to date on the kendo scene and regularly watched kendo videos on youtube. Nonetheless, that lack of closure has always been there - I feel like I'm not done with kendo. As I learn more about the body in med school, I begin to realise that my injuries are not permanent (despite their chronic onset) - they can be healed. This gives me hope that I might just be able to make a come back.

    One fine day last week, I decided to return.

    This is a (sort of) record of this journey, which I'd like to share with you. Feel free to comment, or to share your stories too.

    (Continue to Part 2)

  • #2
    Awesome story! I hope that you're able to find that enjoyment that you once held again, and please keep us updated on your progress! Good luck to you


    • #3


      • #4
        Hi Andoru!

        Glad to see that you are back. It would be a shame to have that Mine men collect dust forever

        It's always hard to get back on the horse. I actually pretty much quit Kendo for about 18 months. Though I never just stopped going, I became one of those people who show up every three months. In my case it was a combination of working far from the dojo, and being 18 with a sudden surplus of money. I was able to get back into it and am not doing too bad for myself.

        As for the Jodan, one of my sensei, Yamanaka sensei from saitama (Hachidan hanshi) can't be even 1.65 and he used Jodan to great success in competition and examinations.


        • #5
          Interesting. I too, returned to Kendo after a 6 year break. It's a compelling experience. My kendo is different. My kendo heart is different.

          I wrote an article about all of this and it will be in the next issue of Kendo World.

          Welcome back.


          • #6
            I like your story a lot. I havent posted on here for ages, but i have been taking a break as well. Sometimes its nice, and mine has really only been like maybe half a year? not really sure. I have practiced a few times, but the way i see it is like this. The circumstances that brought me to kendo are not the same that made me continue to do it, or even more stay. I was relatively content in not going to kendo, and doing other things. Did i miss it, sure, but did i have the desire to go; no. I also felt at one point it was no longer something that was doing anything for my life (which i have come to find out was a bunch a dookie, cuz it did). Either way, my view became that if i did not have the passion, nobody, including myself would benefit by training with me or vice versa.

            This hiatus has actually rekindled my love for the art, and now i am ready to get back on the horse. So while your reasons for leaving are different, it is always nice to see someone that comes back and reinvents what they were previously through kendo. Keep at it.


            • #7
              Another kenshi back here!

              You story reminds my own due work, studies and other not nice events I had to quit Kendo. I just disappear one day too. Sometimes I was tempting to came back but the way I quit, I was feeling embarrass for just drop, and the situation was not the best prevent me for come back. In that way passed 5 years. I had the same vivid dreams doing keiko sometimes I even feeling the sore muscles and that awful feeling when you wake up that everything was a dream.

              One day in other country far from my home town. I just Google if there was any Kendo club my City and join them for training. They warm welcome me and I realised how much I missed kendo, after some time I overcome my doubts to contact my old club and I notice that I was very stupid my old colleagues welcome me and now I training with them every time I am back to my hometown.

              I found this post my while I was randomly looking the forum as today it's my Kendo-anniversary since I came back I think feel right share my story too


              • #8
                I took nine years out after universtiy due to lack of transport, kids times two and lack of motivation. I regretted every lost minute when I finally went back. Unfortunately the pins and needles/numbness in my hands that I occassionally felt before returning seemed to get worse and five years down the line I was told that this was one of my discs in my neck pinching the nerves. Bottom line I shouldn't be doing any activity that may exert force on my head...

                So as of January this year I had to stop the getting hit by people with sticks bit of kendo. I still go to kata twice a month to help those who need it. I've thought about going back to a normal practice because I can still do the kihon practice, stay on the lower grade side and therefore keep them in line/focussed/motivated but I don't think I'm ready yet to do that. For one I don't think I'd be much of an advert for the art - "Dave why don't you practice in full armour?" "I have a problem that means I could be paralysed if I get hit on the head!" "Oh, I'll get my coat!" I'm also saving a whole lot of money in reduced petrol costs. That may seem like a weak reason but we're all struggling to make ends meet and it makes a change to finally have a bit of cash in my pocket.

                All I can say Andoru is that if you can overcome your injuries and it's convenient then go back. If you can't but there is still some small way to contribute then do so. Otherwise accept your position, enjoy the times you could take part and things like the WKC, which I was pleased to watch despite my change in situation and take solace that it was good while it lasted.


                • #9
                  I also took a break to do a few classes university classes long distance. Then I got shipped off to Afghanistan for 8 1/2 months. I just hit the Dojo last week for the first time in a long time. My feet didn't like it but I remembered how much I missed the people, the workout. It sure was great getting back. I hope my heel stops bugging me so I go go full tilt again. I am going to have to do some cardio to be able to make it through a full class without dying.


                  • #10
                    Wow! I'm really honoured to read about your own experiences. It seems that quite of you have your own challenges too - I'm inspired by your journey in overcoming them and getting back to training. Compared to you, my excuses are so miniscule! Thanks again for sharing!

                    I'll write Part 2 tomorrow to talk about the equipment I've purchased and the physiotherapy sessions I'm currently going through. So far so good!


                    • #11
                      ??? Is there a link I'm missing somewhere ???


                      • #12
                        I *think* that the first post is Part 1


                        • #13
                          Part 2

                          Having made that decision to return to kendo, there are two things I'll have to take care of before I could fully participate in keiko.

                          The first is to get my chronic injuries sorted out. I'd seen several physiotherapists in the past about them, but none had really inspired me to stick to the regime because they seemed quite clueless and "all over the place". Recently however, I discovered a very experienced physio near my place. I've been to a session, and so far it appears promising. Further, I got my knee x-rayed with no abnormal discovery reported by the radiologist. So far so good. The right hip issues I have appear to be tightness in certain hip muscles that rotate the hip internally. We shall see.

                          The second thing I have to get organised ASAP is equipment. You see, while I was away on hiatus, I believed that my injuries had meant the end of my kendo career. This happened also in aikido for me and I've never gone back since. Entirely convinced that I'd never take up kendo again, I did something which appears sacrilegious in hindsight: I sold my bogu. Just like that, I'm parted with my beloved Mitsuboshi Mine which had served me so well for 5 years. I'm comforted by the fact that my bogu went to someone who trains harder, is more dedicated and therefore more deserving of the bogu than me. Still, I missed it immensely. And then, one by one, I gave away my shinai, a hakama, a few kendogi, tsuba etc to a club that needs them. All I have in my kendo inventory right now is a suburito, one hakama and one double-layer kendogi. I don't have a shinai, or shinai bag, or even a tsuba-dome. It's quite depressing, come to think of it, but I have no regrets.

                          However, as it turns out, losing my stuff has also allowed me to start fresh. It is so exciting being able to select bogu and shinai all over again, and to discover new bogu stores such as Miyako. I'm also glad to see that more information about shinai is provided by retailers these days, allowing the kenshi to pick one that's suitable in grip size and balance. In the past, I merely purchased Koei shinais via the club without really knowing what's what and it can be a bit of a hit or miss sometimes. I got in touch with Andy, and with assistance from DCPan (that guy knows his stuff I tell ya!), I've submitted an order for the Tokuren original. While it is being made, I'll be borrowing a sempai's spare bogu.

                          Thus far I'm very surprised by the amount of support I've received from the various individuals who have either contributed directly or indirectly to my return to kendo, and that includes the stories you've shared in this thread which are incredibly inspiring! Goes to show what a great kendo community we have here! My wife is exceedingly supportive as well, and when I told her about going back to kendo she responded to say that she's hardly surprised at all. I do wonder how the people I'd trained with would respond when I show up at the dojo one day. Quite nerve wrecking actually. I won't be able to practice until after my exam in 3 weeks, so I have some time to be mentally prepared. In the mean time, I shall update this thread. Thanks for reading!


                          • #14
                            I hope those "time outs" for all who have written, needn't last forever. Was told I can't be hit on the head due to an illness last year and the meds now involved: a hit would cause bleeding in the brain and/or a blood clot. But Doc says that medicine can be
                            stopped in 2-3 years, so feel a bit better knowing there is an oasis, yet, in the desert of No Kendo. Was gonna try an exam, figuring why not go out doing what one loves; but if it meant re-hospitalization and all that x#%&!, no way! So it's practicing with the Uchikomi-dai, Kata and watching videos of competitions; and just maybe seeing if I can finally learn Jodan while waiting. And doing some light exercise like Okinawan karate, and Japanese archery, etc. The Japanese have a saying, something like "To continue, is important."


                            • #15
                              Andoru, Keep us posted when you re-start which should be within a couple weeks, right? Take it slow, and go with the flow and physio.