Dear Martial Arts Friends:
I would like to extend my warmest greetings for the New Year of 2012.
The year 2011 was a turning point for E-BOGU.COM. The 3/11 earthquake in northeast Japan, the worldwide economic crisis, the financial turmoil due to the European crisis, and the sudden rise of the Japanese currency have affected us both, here in the USA and worldwide. But these challenges made us stand strong.
On the brighter side, 2011 was a significant year for us. In May 2011, we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. We have also completed the first phase of the construction of our Butokuden Dojo, inside our headquarter building in Irvine, California. Since then, martial artists from all over the world have visited us to practice at our new Dojo.
In 2012, E-BOGU.COM will be stepping into the second decade of its history. We will strive to continue to be the global leader in the martial arts industry, by developing top quality innovative products, providing the finest service, and most of all, dedicating to the growth of martial arts worldwide.
President and CEO
Some comes to our Dojo and some left.
Yes. It is our life.
Yesterday, one of our Sensei who just graduated from University in USA had the last practice with us. He will leave tomorrow. He will study in Japan again to be a teacher.
His Kendo is awesome. He has good posture and his Men is very straight. Even I was got points by him, I felt very good.
After one hour practice with our member, he fought with Airga Sensei at last. But his sprit is greater than usual. I can say this is the ideal practice against Sensei or sempai. He threw away his body and mind as much as he can. Even he was tired; he never gave up and kept trying. It is very beautiful and inspiring.
Finally, he got a great Men from Ariga Sensei.
After taking off his Men, he is just like a young adult. He is worrying about his future and relationships as young do.
His contribution to our Dojo is a lot. I hope his dream will come true!
Some people had asked me how I made the wooden floor of the BUTOKUDEN Dojo, so today I will write now I made the Butokuden Kendo Dojo wood floor myself.
Our Dojo used to have a plastic tile, which covered a layer of plywood. Originally, we rented this location, because it used to be used by a Dance Studio. The Dojo had a black plastic tile, which covered a layer of 1/2 inch plywood. Although it looked quite hard, it was not that bad. However, with time, the black tiles started to break, and that caused a lot of problems. This is how our Dojo looked 5 years ago.
During the Summer of 2008, I took on this project of re-doing the entire floor for our Dojo. The project took about 1 week, with two other workers (Daniel and Manuel) and I. We wanted to have a soft floor, suitable for Kendo. However, as I am renting this location, I did not want to invest too much. So the Dojo floor needed to be suitable for Kendo and other Martial Arts, but at the same time economical.
Below, I am going to explain a fairly economical and fast way of building a Kendo Dojo floor. I am sure there are much better and expensive way, but this was my solution at at that time. Maybe when I purchase a building and build a Dojo, I can invest more. We have been using for about 2 years, and it is holding pretty good.
Step 1: Prepare the bottom layer
a. Take off all the old floor.
b. Place a 1/4 in pieces of wood over the concrete. This is to give room for the floor to bend, when doing Fumikomi. If you do not put this piece, the floor will be as hard as concrete.
c. I spaced the wood pieces every 2 ft. You can control the hardness of the floor with the distance of these woods, however, remember that the plywood that goes on top are 4 x 8 ft2.
d. These wood pieces were nailed down, using a concrete nail.
Step 2: Place the plywood on top of the wood pieces.
Screw down the rough surface plywood on top of the wood pieces. I used the 3/4 in plywood for this layer. It does not have to have a nice surface, as you will be covering with another layer of plywood on top.
Step 3: Place the nicer surface plywood
After placing the rough surface plywood, place the nicer finish plywood on top. I chose the Oak finish. Make sure to take the corner roughness using a high grade sand paper. That will minimize the corner pealing later.
The way we did this is by screwing it to the bottom layer plywood. The screw heads should not show up on top of the wood. That will be dangerous to the feet, during Keiko. So the head should be securely screwed below the surface. It should be about 1/8 in below the surface. After all wood is placed, fill in the hole with the wood filler.
Step 4: Sand the floor
Use a high grade sander to sand the surface. Do not do too much, otherwise you will take off the top layer of the plywood.
We rented an industrial sander from Home Depot.
Step 5: Wood foot board on the walls
We placed pine wood 6 inch wood on the walls to protect the wall.
Step 6: Wall board
We had some wood left over (we actually mis calculated…), so we placed a nice wall board on one size of the wall. It actually gave protection to the wall, as well as a nice look to the Dojo. This is the side that I usually stand, during Keiko, I throw the young guys around, and in the past we had wholes on the wall. So this wood wall protects from that type of rough practice.
Step 7: Floor painting
a. We used an almost natural color stain to stain the floor.
b. Then we painted the wall with a clear coat of non shiny lacquer.
This is how our Dojo looks now.
I hope this gives a introduction for people that are thinking of building a new Dojo floor.
Hello. This is Asuka.
We will have the All US Junior Kendo Open Chmapionships in July. We will start practice for Junior Tournament soon. This tournament is for children 18 and under. We have a few good Junior Kenshis in our Dojo. One of them has a very strong fighting sprit. He is 9 year old.
One day, I competed with him, on who would have a louder Kiai. We had three judges. And of course I won three to nothing!
But he didn’t accept his defeat…. He said “They were talking while we were playing!!”
He hates to lose a match, so that every time he practices, he shows very good Kiai and beautiful Zanshin. This is his talent, and not too many people can have the same fighting sprit as his. Compare him with some adult people, who just enjoy Kendo. He has something that we have already forgotten.
Hello, this is Asuka.
Last Week was the last practice with Esteban. He left to Colombia.
Since it was the last practice with Esteban at BUTOKUDEN, I really wanted to beat him in Keiko, even though he is male and practices more than I do. I was sure we would have last Keiko with him. So I was thinking all day, how I could beat him.
I have practiced and worked with him for the past four months. Therefore, I kind of understand his good and bad points. During the mental training, prior to the match with him, I imagined twice what I would do with him. In the past, when he gets frustrated, it becomes easier to get point such as Debana Kote. So, I decided to block his first and second attacks to make him upset. Eventually, he would get furstrated, and that would be the perfect timing in order for me to get a Debana Kote, which is my favorite Waza.
This picture is before we fought.
During the last practice, I did exactly what I planned! And I got Debana-Kote from him!! I was excited until the following day.
It was the first time to realize Kendo is not only physical game but also mental game as Ariga Sensei or many other Senseis have told me.
Hello, this is Asuka.
In January, we had many new students who joined our BUTOKUDEN Dojo. Sometimes, I teach the beginners the basics. For an adult, it is very important that they enjoy Kendo. Even though they are just starting up, we have to give a variety of practice menu, in order to keep them interested and to make the practice more challenging.
Please take a moment to remember.
When you started Kendo, what was the most memorable moment? What was your motivation for Kendo. How about now, in the present?
When I started Kendo in high school, my motivation was always tournament. When I re-started Kendo two years ago, the motivation to keep practicing hard was to obtain the Third Dan. After moving to the USA, Kendo became a good opportunity to meet and talk with different people. For each person, their motivations is probably different. I feel that any type of motivation is OK as long as we keep practicing hard.
Yesterday, Ariga Sensei and I talked about recent Keiko in our Dojo. He is planning that adult beginners put Men earlier than usual. This is not the traditional way. When he was young, he practiced without Bogu for a year. However, buy putting the Bogu sooner, it will make the Kenshis more focused during practice. Once they learn how deep Kendo is, they would get more interested in Kendo.
Today, I will ask them when they want to put Bogu on. It would be their motivation.
Hello, this is Asuka.
It was a great opportunity for me to meet these highly skilled for female Senseis. What was common among them was that they were all very humble. Watanabe Sensei told us that the secret to improve Kendo skills is that we should listen to what our Senseis say and try the lessons as they teach us.
Also, their postures were very good too. They don’t have speed or power as the male Kenshis but they looks like a big mountain.
One Sensei in Simi Valley said we have three types of Seme; Kiai, Kensen, Posture. When I do Seme, it is easy for me to rely on Kiai or Kensen. But from next Keiko, I have to consider more posture.
We had a very busy weekend. Watanabe Sensei, who is a female 7 Dan Kenshi from Saitama prefecture, came to our Dojo on Saturday. She started Kendo when she was 38 years old and got 7 Dan. The next day, on Sunday, we had practice at Chuo Dojo II located in Simi Valley. I also met two high ranking female Kenshi at Chuo Dojo. So, totally I met three strong female Kenshis during this weekend.
This is the picture of Watanabe Sensei.
Hello, this is Asuka.
Happy New Year! In our Dojo, we already started our practice from January 5.
We were very busy at the end of 2009. We had the Christmas party, Toshikoshi Keiko and my Birthday Keiko. My birthday is December 26th.
As for the Birthday Keiko, I was happy that everyone remembered my Birthday and decided to get together to have a Birthday Keiko, even though I had to do Kakarigeiko. But the practice was more than that.
My boyfriend, who is Kendo 5 Dan and currently living in Japan, came to our Dojo with his friend, who is Kendo 4 Dan, to surprise me!!!
To tell you the truth, I started to fell that there was something when I sent him an email on December 25th, and he did not get an answer. Then I started to wander why it was only me that would have a Birthday Keiko and Ariga Sensei making sure that everyone should attend this event. From my experience, I noticed in the past that whenever we have some guest Kenshis coming to our Dojo, Ariga Sensei announces many times. So this time too, I knew by intuition that my boyfriend was coming.
They were hidden in their rental car while I was getting ready for practice. During the Kakari Keiko I saw them coming into the Dojo. I felt very happy.
After practice, I found out the many Kendo moms in our dojo had already known about the whole plan, and they helped with the party. They said, they were disappointed because I just kept practicing as nothing happened. They expected me to cry and hug each other during the Keiko.
Wait a second… How do I cry during Kakari Geiko…..
After practice, my boyfriend said that he felt that the kids in our Dojo seem to enjoy practicing Kendo more than their Dojo Kids. I totally agree with him. Our kids love Kendo.
His friend practiced with everyone in our Dojo. It was his first time to travel and practice Kendo abroad. He was so excited. They just stayed only for 3 nights. It is like Kouken Chiai, which means practicing Kendo makes good friendships, for them.
Anyway, I would like to thank everyone at Butokuden, Ariga Sensei and my special guest from Japan. It was a special Keiko for me.
Hello, this is Asuka.
Last week, we had Christmas party in our Dojo. In the afternoon, we had the Butokuden Dojo tournament and in the evening we had the party.
This tournament is very memorable for everyone. In the Kids division, the smallest one, who would never be happy unless he is the top, got the first place. In the Dan division, one teenager beat his rival whom he had never beaten in the tournament before. Also in the Masters Division (over 40), a women Kenshi got the first place.
Right is 1st place in Master Division and left is 1st place in Dan Division.
During the party, we prepare many events, such as wine tasting, talent show, and gift exchange. We even had the Santa Claus to join us since our Dojo kids practiced so hard during the year.
Sant came to Butokuden!!
The first place for the talent show was won by the Masters Group!! They danced with Hawaiian costume. I saw them practice for the Talent Show harder than Kids.
These costume make them 1st Place.
Our Kids can play Kendo during the year because their mothers helps so much, so we decided to give a special gift for the Kendo Moms. We gave them Kendo Mom T-shirts!! These shirts are so cute! Every mom put wore these T-shirts during the party. They looked very pretty.
Kendo Mom Tshirts are lovely!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Hello. This is Asuka.
We now have one Kenshi from Columbia. He came to the USA in November, and he will be staying until February. He is crazy about Kendo. In Japanese we call these type of people “Kendo OTAKU” or “Kendo BAKA”.?Sometimes I carpool with him. Most of our conversation is about Marital Arts, Samurai and Kurosawa movies. Although I am Japanese, he knows Japan more than I do.
Last time he compared Kendo with Karate. Karate people tried to create new branches. On the other hand, Kendo people try to integrate their branches, and that is probably why we practice the same style of Kendo all over the world. In his opinion, it is our body and mental characteristic what makes different styles to fight.
Now he plays Kendo in our Dojo and learns not only technique but also the way of teaching Kendo. When he goes back to Columbia he will teach his students as he learned here. I am glad to say Kendo is a world-wide Martial Arts.