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    February 2010
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    Practice Diary 02/12/2010

    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.

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    9 comments to Practice Diary 02/12/2010

    • KendoBrazil666

      When I started kendo, I was 17. I knew martial arts before (I studied Karate for ten years, from 5 to 15), but for me kendo was so amazing, so traditionaly pure, and so beautiful. And I was eager to learn about more it. I did kendo almost one year without bogu, my dojo is kinda old-school. Then after that, my focus was all how to be good at shiai, because I think I spend too many time in the basics of the basics. Now I see that was good, taught me respect and solid basics, and I felt that it was more like a survival proof than kendou itself.
      Now at almost 26, kendo to me is part my life, like working or watching to soccer games (brazilians, hehehe!) which is weird, because I ain’t no champion, and my technique is kinda awkward. But I love it =D

    • BBT

      When I started Kendo, at almost 20, the biggest motivation for me was the great feeling after every practice and the love I felt for Kendo (more intuitive than based on reasoning/experience).
      I knew it was going to last, so I was not in a hurry and even expected a period of 1-2 years to pass before I put bogu. Yet, I hardly missed a practice, had a great Japanese sensei in whom I trusted infinitely, and I advanced fast at this beginner level, so I got the to the bogu level for about 4-5 months.
      I am not sure that being allowed to wear bogu before one has the basic level (for example nice ki ken tai ichi) will make this person more interested in Kendo for a long time… I am inclined to think the opposite, because being able to feel the complexity and beauty of Kendo requires an understanding of footwork, distance, center, timing, spirit, etc. and a good command of the basics is a prerequisite for building these things later.
      Yet, probably there are so many different methods of teaching/learning Kendo, of which I am not aware yet … :)

    • David

      Greatings from Dominican Republic.

      In my dojo we have alot of adult beginners, we have to deal with the same problem, how long they have to practice before they can have the men? what is the BUTOKUDEN dojo’s policy on those cases now?

      P.S. Forgive my rusty english

    • MHsueh

      I am fortunate to have had Kim-sensei and Ariga-sensei as my first instructors when I started learning kendo. At the time, my motivation for practicing kendo was to become mentally stronger and more resilient. It makes sense then that my strongest memories of kendo from that time are when I had exhausting kakarigeiko practice with both Ariga-sensei and Kim-sensei. They pushed me harder than I had ever been pushed before and I came out stronger as a result. After practicing with them, I feared no one.

      It’s been about 7 years since then, and things are a little different now that I am 3 dan rather than 6 kyu. Dramatic improvements in technique and strategy are much more rare now, and I have come to appreciate even the smallest insights when they come to me. I still have a lot to learn from my sensei and sempai, but they offer much fewer concrete pointers than when I was a beginner. Now kendo for me means trying my best to look into myself and learn by thinking more deeply about why I am weak or why I am strong.

    • asukakondo

      Thank you for your comment.
      Now I am 3 Dan and my sensei is Ariga Sensei. But he doesn’t teach me a lot, compared with other students. This is because he gives me a chance to think what I should do in Kendo, I think. To become 4 Dan, I need to think more deeply how to Seme, how to teach, how to..And that is why Kendo is life-time sports. We are on the next stage.

    • asukakondo

      Thank you for your comment.
      Our policy of Kendo is “Enjoy Kendo”, so that they put on Men after practice for 3-6 month.
      Yes. We know it is earlier thank usual.
      But these are one of the motivations for them and so far it works!

    • asukakondo

      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, there are many different method of teaching/learning Kendo.
      At first, I was bored of footwork.. But NOW I know how important the basic are.
      At the same time ,this is the result in what we have practiced for a long time, I think.
      Even if we had one goal such as Ki-Ken-Tai-no- icchi or great spirit, there would have many ways to reach. That is why Kendo is art.

    • Stevo

      I belong to a club that puts beginners in Bogu after a reasonably short period of time. This appears to have at least two effects: It gives them a goal to attain to during their beginners training, but we have also found particularly with children that the Men may be too much for them and they go no further. Care needs to be taken here.
      I have been practicing Kendo for nearly 3 years now and was 48 when I started. I had a bad accident when I was 30 that resulted in a spinal fusion. I found (and still do)Kendo very challenging, particularly the footwork, but I must admit it has taken over my life! I read somewhere that no matter how bad you are if you train constantly and diligently you will get better, and I can say this is true!

    • Kenshi’s putting on bogu earlier than usual? What? Nani? Who? hahaha.

      I think it made me realize how in-depth kendo is. From the outside, kendo looks very simple- speed and attacking- that’s all I thought it was. Now that I practice kendo, I realize it is very, very deep and there are so many things to it.

      A Butokuden member told me that a lot of people quit once they get to wear their bogus/men. I didnt understand why at the time, but now I think that once you wear the bogu/men, you realize how deep kendo is. At first it can be frustrating- as I was very frustrated after not scoring a point at the memorial day tournament. But I need to take that frustration and turn it into positive energy- that I need to realize that this is what people go through and that I only become better by trying to be better. Frustration is ok, as long as it doesn’t cripple you. Let the frustration fuel you to become better.