Discussion in 'Other Styles' started by Rhythmkiller, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Hi Guys,

    Was looking for somethig to fill my time on Wednesdays and came across a Kendo club about two miles from where i live. Was really wanting to find a sword club or something near me but could only find a HEMA club in Glasgow quite a distance away. Could find any FMA either.

    Anyway can anyone give me any info on Kendo. Cost for equipment etc and what equipment i'd require when it comes time to buy my own?

    The class is only £5 for two hours which for me seems extremely good value of course i start to get skeptical when i see something this good at this price.

    All information appreciated and below is the link to the club.

  2. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

  3. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Thanks Hannibal,

    You have given me my first piece of information, bougo kits. They do seem pricey but i probably spend more than that on my sparring gear and gum shield etc.

  4. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    JSA instruction tends to be rather well priced so don't worry if you feel that is cheap.

    Your outlay will be for you kit which as you can see is a bit pricey but that would be the same if you took up iaido, iaito aren't cheap.

    Kendo is awesome and you'll get a good work out.

    It's best to have a chat with the instructor because I doubt you will be jumping into Bougu on day one, or even the first couple of months.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  5. Christianson

    Christianson Valued Member

    While the bogu is certainly expensive, you are unlikely to need to buy it immediately. My recollection is that I was encouraged to pick the bogu up after about six months or so (at a different kendo club entirely, of course, and it has been a long time so I might not be remembering correctly). To begin with you'd normally by just picking up the uniform and a shinai, and many clubs have shinai to loan to beginners.

    The kendo club in question is legitimate; it's associated with the British Kendo Assocation, which means its instructors will have been accredited and that the dojo is insured. The fees are low because kendo isn't taught professionally. The £5 fee most likely just covers the room rental plus BKA/ZNKR dues, with surplus building up for purchase of communal club supplies etc, with no portion going to the instructors.

    From conversations with kendo practitioners, I think it would not upset them to say that kendo, like fencing, is first and foremost a sport derived from martial arts rather than a martial art. You practice kendo to build up physical fitness, to learn mental discipline, to above all else just be good at kendo. You might, along the way, learn how to use a sword in a martial sense, but that's a side benefit rather than the primary aim. In my opinion, if you put it in the historical context of the dominant martial theories at the time it was formalised, then kendo has some useful lessons to teach from a general martial arts perspective, though.

    It is a very fun sport, though. Very physical and very tactical, and in my experience practiced by the sort of friendly, no-nonsense people that are worth spending an evening with. I enjoyed my time with it a great deal, and still occasionally regret giving it up.
  6. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    On the webiste it's states it would be six months before getting into the bougo. I have emailed the guy to ask if i can come along and watch tomorrow evening.

    It does look really fun though.

  7. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Thank you Sir,

    Very informative. Glad you replied.

  8. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Went along to Kendo class last night. Initially I was supposed to be an observer, there was another there as well for the same and as only three regular practitioners turned the instructor who was very nice asked us to participate. Me wearing jeans and the other guy wearing a full suit. Anyway we accepted.

    This was a two hour class but I could only stay for an hour but here is my observation for what it’s worth.

    It is a very disciplined art and there is a lot of bowing and posturing. Every detail is fairly intricate just simple things like making a triangle with your hands and getting on your knees to bow - to me seemed excessive and unnecessary.

    There was a whole etiquette that had to be observed before engaging in any physical activity at all and due to my ignorance seemed unnecessary but alas I am the intruder in this world and in that respect am completely wrong.

    The warm up, this wasn’t a warm up. It resembled nothing like a warm up I am used to. It involved very small two footed hopping on the spot for a time with some mild calf stretching not taxing whatsoever but I can see the need for the calf stretching as all the power generated for movement comes from the left foot. At least this is what was practiced.

    Eventually we do some other type of posturing ritual and move all our Kendo sticks to the centre that creates a circle. We are instructed in some posturing and light meditation and then instructed the correct way to pick up the Shinai (stick sword).

    Next we are told how to make the first cut called MEN, this has to be shouted as you complete the manoeuvre. I am holding the stick completely wrong. The three guys that turned all wearing armour take turns each at instructing the new recruits. They tell us that when the sword is raised we are to pull with the left hand, this hand is secured at the bottom of the hilt. We are also warned this is unnatural for westerners to grasp……………and it is. I am using the force of my right arm to make the blow. The main instructor zeroes in on this immediately and expertly corrects me. He can tell I am doing the manoeuvre wrong because when I shift forward and make the blow my shinai is veering right and I’m not throwing the sword/stick/shinai forward and to prove this he allows me to beat up one of his students using the MEN technique. The student doesn’t mind as he has full armour but I can see him laughing beneath his helmet.

    The guys I met were great, really nice people. When speaking to the students I got a feeling about them. I may be wrong but they all had a deep love of anything Japanese. When they asked if I did any other MA I replied in kind with the requested information and found that two of the students were former Tai Chi practitioners. One in particular was claiming Buddhist complete with shaven head. Nothing wrong with that I am just trying to convey how much these guys actually believe in what they practice. I know the statement is very broad and not meant to be offensive.

    All in all it was a nice experience but I don’t think Kendo is for me.


Share This Page