Friday, 29 October 2010

Kendo footwork for beginners

For all the beginners, you may have noticed that each week we may have stressed the importance of footwork. In actual fact we may not have stressed it enough! Footwork, your stance and how you move about the dojo without losing balance is the fundamental key to improving your kendo.

If you're struggling to come to terms with this unique way of moving, help is at hand. Geoff Salmon Sensei has a blog and the latest post is specifically 'Kendo footwork for beginners'. Go check it out and subscribe to the blog. Salmon Sensei is one of the highest graded kendoka in the country and previously Chairman of the BKA. His posts are always interesting and insightful and I look forward to every opportunity to practice with him at seminars since my first opportunity back in 1994! He knows what he's talking about so read, understand, implement.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

British Kendo Association Membership

For all beginners now is the time to look at membership of the British Kendo Association. Temporary membership is available to new starters in Kendo, Iaido and/or Jodo.  This is intended as a cheap entry to cover you while you are deciding if this martial art is for you.

Temporary membership lasts 3 months and covers you for practice in your local dojo. It does not allow you to participate in seminars, taikai or gradings. Before the 3 months is up you will be sent an upgrade pack, should you wish to continue your practice. At this point you will be asked to pay for the remainder of the year’s fees less the joining fee.

There is only one rate for temporary membership £10, regardless of which sword art you study. You can only take out temporary membership once, it is not renewable or extendable. Fundamentally, your membership is your insurance to train. In a full contact martial art the importance of insurance coverage cannot be understimated, so please join as soon as possible.

You can find all the information regarding membership and online registration on the BKA's website here. Any questions, let us know either by the forum or at your next practice.

Monday, 25 October 2010

British Open 2010

Just to let you know that I did go to the British Open at Mumeishi the weekend before last. This was my first time at this particular taikai, and it was hugely enjoyable. I got up at 5.00am (yes folks that's how early you have to rise for kendo sometimes) and drove to Cranford which is next to Heathrow. There were quite a few competitors (I was number 47 and I wasn't the last) in the senior category, but the juniors and ladies were less well represented. I thought I had a fair go in my first shiai. It was taken to encho where I won with a menuchi. I then found out that I had Will Wright (sensei at Tora Dojo and British Squad member). Again this shiai went to encho but I was picked off with a kote very shortly after the start of encho. Will eventually came second.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day, and it was good to catch up kendoka from all over the country and will definitely make the effort to go next year. Thanks to all at Mumeishi.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Facebook Test

I'm testing a new feature to import the RSS feed into our Facebook group, hopefully this'll work!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Review of Japan Day 2010, Manchester

After the usual weekend family nonsense of getting kids and the wife on the train to Manchester we arrived at the Midland Hotel shortly before the 'opening act' which just so happened to be the KNMS kendo demonstration. there was already quite a large crowd gathering and although the Midland was extremely luxurious I think it was considerably less space both to perform and explore than last year in Liverpool.

As we moved to the front to watch KNMS I was surprised to spot both Joe and Geunsu had volunteered to help out Sensei Swindells and the three other members of KNMS present. Joe and Pete Pugh [hope I got the name correct] began by performing the first 7 kata. Being first on and under the scrutiny of the visiting Japanese dignitaries they performed really well under such pressure, although the small space certainly didn't help matters.

Geunsu and another member of KNMS then demonstarted kiri-kaeshi followed by a variety of kihon waza and then a brief free-practice. Then, having kitted themselves out Joe and Pete returned to demonstrate a simple shiai. Given the space it was quite surprising to see some good quality kendo and decent ippon scored. I'm not entirely sure of the outcome as I was concentrating on holding a wriggly 5 year old AND take photos but I think Joe held his end up considerably better in this Liverpool v's Manchester showdown than the home derby taking place back at Goodison [sorry, did I just say that out loud?].

Proceedings were then wrapped up and Sensei Swindells thanked the people taking part, particularly Joe considering he'd travelled back from London from the British Kendo Open Championships to take part in the demonstration! Hopefully he'll post a report on that later.

Unfortunately we left before their second performance, but given the size of the queue outside hopefully it allowed more to get in and see what was going on. With hindsight JSNW should secure a bigger venue for their next Japan Day because it was considerably busier than the venue could cope with. On the positive side kendo was ably presented to the public and we once again showed our members eagerness to train all over the North West and support our neighbours for the good of kendo in Britain. Many thanks to Joe and Geunsu for representing Liverpool and volunteering their time and effort.

I'll put some pictures up on Facebook soon.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Japan Day 2010, Manchester

Last year Liverpool Kendo Club was asked to take part in Japan Day 2009 by the Japan Society North West. This year Japan Day 2010 takes place this Sunday 17th October at the Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester M60 2DS Doors open at 11:00 am and entry is free!

Over 30 participating groups. On-stage programme includes taiko drumming performances, demonstrations of kimono dressing, aikido, kendo [of course], iaido and bojutsu.
Visit for more details

Thursday, 7 October 2010

That's All Folks [for 2010].

For all those beginners who returned this week to begin their kendo journey properly, thank you and welcome to the club. Very few decided it 'wasn't for them' so we're particularly pleased you enjoyed the beginner's night enough to return. We also gained four more new people, so overall it's been one of the most successful sessions ever.

If anyone else is considering starting kendo, then sadly you will have to wait. We'll not be taking any new starters until the end of January 2011, we'll post a date nearer the time. Particularly with so many new faces we have to consider their progress above newer people. If you're desperate to join then no doubt we'll see you in the new year.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Kata for Beginners

It was another fantastic turnout for kata last night, including a fair few beginners. Hopefully they all benefitted from the extra training. If anyone wishes to jot down your thoughts on both kata and Wednesday night practices then feel free to add them to the forum or even a review on google would be nice.

It was also noted that there is a little confusion on the site regarding the start time for kata. On the training page, under Training Dates, it incorrectly states that kata begins at 8:00pm. However, immediatey below this the Google Calendar is regularly updated to confirm when kata takes place. Usually this is following a Wednesday when Sensei has shouted out "Kata on Monday". In which case this will show kata starts at 7:30pm and will also show when it has been cancelled due to it being the 5th Monday of the month or a bank holiday. Please treat the calendar as the most up-to-date information as it's easier to update, you can subscribe to the RSS feed here:

Lastly, it's the first Wednesday of the month so please remember it's fees night, £20 or £10 concessions, thanks.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Coach Trip

Joe and I took our first level 1 coaching course at the weekend, so please bear with us over the next few weeks as we attempt to show everyone how to do stuff. These are not weird Jedi mind tricks, we're not about to hypnotise anyone, just hopefully learn how to teach beginners and help everyone improve.

Both of us feel it is the next step in our kendo journey. The BKA requires at least two level 1 coaches to run a club so together with Senseis Billy and Mike we are looking to improve the club and build a solid foundation for all our members training for the foreseeable future. Thanks for your patience, don't forget it's kata on Monday, we'll no doubt be trying out our mad skillz then!