Thursday, 27 January 2011

Beginner's nights all right for fighting.

Thanks to all the guys and girls who turned up for the Beginner's Night. It was a massive turn out, I think there were 14, only four short of our all time record. Hopefully we'll see you all back at the club next Wednesday, where it'll only get better and more confusing. If things go to plan there'll be different senior grades taking you next week so it should be altogether a different experience, with a bit of luck we'll get you moving more and getting more involved so you begin to understand what it's all about.

Just a reminder to all that next week will be the first Wednesday of the month, which is 'fees night', £20 for the gainfully employed, £10 concessions. This includes all the Wednesday practices and the two Monday kata sessions. Details of all these are updated on the calendar so please keep an eye on it or add it to your RSS readers [details on the forum on how to do this, feed link below].
Liverpool Kendo Club Training Calendar RSS Feed

The next kata session is on Monday 7th February, so any beginners wishing to attend feel free. Some clubs find it can be difficult to grasp but Sensei believes there is a lot a beginner can learn which can help with the Wednesday night sessions, so come along to Chesterfield High School in Crosby, details in the Training section.

Lastly, anyone who missed Beginner's Night and still wishes to attend, next week is your 'last chance to dance' before our next Beginner's Night at the end of April. Anyone who wants to try kendo can do so but after next week, for the benefit of all the beginners, you will have to wait till our next Beginner's Night. Thanks for your understanding.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Eurokendo Visit

Young Park, the proprietor of eurokendo will be making a visit to the North West next week. He'll be hitting both Kobudokan and Liverpool Kendo Club on Monday and Wednesday respectively. He's a really nice guy and his kendo is also very good so hopefully we'll all get a lot from his visit.

Additionally he mentioned if anyone wants to order any kit he can bring it with him so please check out what he has on offer. He will be bringing his store to the BKA Seminar and Kyusha Taikai we are running on April 2nd and 3rd so it's a perfect opportunity to meet someone who knows a thing or two about bogu.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Beginner's Night 26th January 2011

Just to remind everyone that Wednesday is Beginner's Night. For existing members please try to be on time so we can get ready and please bring any spare shinai you have.

Beginners please be in the dojo no later than 7:15pm so we can go through all the Health and Safety aspects. Please remember to wear loose fitting clothes, tracksuit pants or three-quarter shorts are ideal. For more information click the Beginners link on the website. Just a reminder that your first session is free and if you cannot manage it this week then we will only accept new beginners up to February 2nd [next week]. If you miss these dates anyone wishing to start kendo will have to wait until the next Beginner's Night in April. The 2011 Beginner's Nights are provisionally:
  • Wednesday January 26, 2011
  • Wednesday April 27, 2011
  • Wednesday July 27, 2011
  • Wednesday October 26, 2011

Friday, 21 January 2011

Class photo

You may have seen that I've uploaded the Club photograph to both Facebook and our Flickr account. For some reason it still downsampled it. If anyone wants the original picture for printing out it clocks in at 3MB. Send me a PM on the forum with your email address if you wish to receive this version, otherwise you can make use of the links below:

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Status Update: Liverpool Kendo Club on Facebook

For those that didn't know Liverpool Kendo Club is also on Facebook some of you may check your status update every five minutes and this website, erm, never. However through some arcane jiggery-pokery I have linked this news blog and our Google Calendar RSS to the group. Every time we post anything here it is mirrored on the group so you can still keep in touch with what's going on if you join the Group.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

LAST REMINDER - British Kendo Association Membership

A LAST REMINDER that everybody should now be members 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. We expect everyone who is able to participate in the Kyusha Taikai to do so BUT the Kyusha Taikai rules state
All participants must be fully paid up members of the Association for a minimum of 3 months prior to the date of the Taikai and will be required to show their BKA membership at registration.
Which means you may have already missed the boat if you haven't joined up. You will definitely have had to have joined by the end of the month regardless as we expect everyone to be members of the BKA if they wish to continue practicing at the dojo.

Mike has a list of all registered BKA Members, and it isn't pretty. I would recommend everybody make a concerted effort between now and tomorrow to get their membership in order! Fundamentally, your membership is your insurance to train. In a full contact martial art the importance of insurance coverage cannot be understimated. We will NOT risk training with you if you are not fully covered.

You can find all the information regarding membership and online registration on the
BKA's website here.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Kit bashing

Next Wednesday we will be taking a club photograph. Sensei suggested you should all be looking to get Hakama and Keikogi before Christmas, this was one of the reasons why. If you didn't and hurry you may still be able to secure a set before next Wenesday. There are numerous online vendors for this and some are listed in our links page. Don't worry though, you will still be allowed in the photograph if you're in a tracksuit ;)

Whilst you are at it I would urge everyone to purchase their own shinai as well. We've discussed this on the forum and recommend you purchase from one of the reputable suppliers in the link page. Local sports shops do stock shinai but we have found them to be unsafe.

We will be getting a new batch of Beginners at the end of January and as we are loaning our own personal shinai, in some cases, there is a severe shortage. The club has some 'club shinai' but these, like our personal shinai, are prone to breakages - Beginners do tend to hit hard. The situation will only be compounded by another 6-16 members turning up on Wednesday 26th January. So please make the investment. We would hope all existing beginners have their own shinai, hakama and keikogi by 26th January.

Additionally you MUST have BKA membership as Sensei pointed out last night. In case you still need to get it there's information here. If you have not secured membership by the end of the month for insurance purposes we will be unable to continue training you!

Winter Training part 2. is complete

Thanks once again for all those who made it to Winter Training, I trust you will all look forward [with dread] to the same next year. As always I injured myself, but hopefully not too severe to impact on proceedings next week.

Just so you know there was one point where Sensei revealed to us that we had passed the 2,000 suburi mark and we did a few more sets after this so you should all be very proud of the achievement. To put it into context we usually only do around 200 suburi per night so to lay down ten times as much is a good effort all round.

It was also really good to see some Liverpool 'old-boys' back in the fold, we hope you'll be able to make it regularly in the year I think Liverpool will 'come of age'. Your experience is much appreciated and a big support to the club, thanks for your renewed commitment

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Kata Monday

Sensei didn't get chance to say but it is Kata on Monday, the first of 2011. Please attend, although I will be otherwise engaged. A reminder will go up on the Liverpool Kendo Google Calendar later this week so if you haven't already put it in your RSS reader then do so. If you need help with any of this ask on the forum and I'll direct you. These communications tools are really important particularly over the coming year, please make every available opportunity to engage with them so you know what's going on, thank you.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Mumeishi 3s

Mumeishi 3 report
The Mumeishi 3 tournament is an annual competition for three player teams held in the Mumeishi Dojo in Cranford near Heathrow. One of the most important rules is that each team must contain at least one kyu grade. There is also a ladies individual team and a junior individual competition.

As we already know this year we were unable to field a Liverpool team (which we need to change next year), however two Liverpool players were able to play for Kobudokan who had entered two teams. After much discussion over who would be going I was finally asked to play in one of the teams as sempo. However, when I arrived in Cranford I discovered that I would be playing as taisho of the B team. The A team was strongest on paper, consisting of Rick Edmundson (Taisho), Gregg Barron (Chuken) and Tom Widdows (Sempo). The B team was made up of myself (Taisho), Vera Barron (Chuken) and Johnnie Boswell (Sempo).

We all woke up early on Saturday morning as we had stayed on the cold, hard floor of a classroom but after coffee, bananas and cake we made our way to the dojo. As we entered the dojo we realised exactly how big this competition is, there were teams from Poland, France and players as far away as Ballerat, Australia! We said our hellos to our friends from other dojos and then we warmed up in one of the upstairs rooms. We came downstairs and got ourselves ready for our first shiai.

After a brief team chat which was based on the fact that we didn’t expect to do anything amazing, but to keep our attention focussed on each cut within each shiai and to enjoy the experience wholeheartedly, we found out when we were to fence our first aites.

Shiai 1 – Kobudokan B v Reading
Johnnie went out bravely but very nervously as he felt he had not done enough kendo since moving to the big smoke. He stood up from sonkyo and immediately charged in for men which was countered with a nuki men. As soon as Johnnie restarted it was like watching an action replay as exactly the same happened again. Johnnie looked very down hearted but as he touched Vera’s kote as he came off the shiaijo, he gave a cheeky little grin and we knew it would be ok. Reading were one shiai up. Vera marched on and what can I say – she was amazing, dispatching her aite with a kote and then a men in a very short amount of time. Vera had pulled it back to a draw. Finally it was my time on the shiaijo and after a nervy start which seemed to be being echoed any Reading’s Taisho, I managed to cut men clearly enough to be given the ippon. A very short time later the final whistle went, meaning we had got through the first round.

Shiai 2 – Kobudokan B v Nagamitsu
This time the first two shiai ended the opposite results. Johnnie scored a lovely ippon with a debana kote and with a very spirited display meaning that we were the first shiai up. Vera was then unfortunately dispatched by the Chuken from Nagamitsu with two ippon, so again we were back to a draw. I touched kote with Vera and entered the shiaijo, bowing to my aite. I rose from sonkyo and cut for men. I seemed to a lot of cutting which was landing but not scoring, I was losing my zanshin after the cut and must work on this. Finally, I had one of those moments when you realise what the missing element is and pulled off a degote against the Nagamitsu Taisho and again, I found myself incredibly lucky with the time as the whistle went virtually straight after the restart.

Shiai 3 – Kobudokan B v St Etienne
I was hesitant in telling Vera and Johnnie who we had in this round as I knew that St Etienne are one of the strongest club teams in Europe, but I relish these challenges personally. I knew I would be fencing Pons who is a great player. Johnnie went out with a single kote, however he wasn’t happy with the score, but this is kendo and not football so we NEVER argue with a shinpan. Vera lost to the St Etienne Chuken with two ippon score within the three minutes allowed. Finally I went out and fought Pons. The pressure built up at the start was quite incredible. I hadn’t felt this before but after fifteen seconds or so of sizing each other up, I cut for men. Pons countered with a suriage men but missed. This was the shape of things to come in this shiai, strike and counter eventually leading to a spirited but inevitable hikiwake.

It was only at this point that we realised that although bested by St Etienne, we had gone further than Kobudokan A, which was pretty amazing and really lucky. I really want to thankHolt Sensei for holding the event, the shinpan and others involved as well as O’ Connell Sensei for allowing me to fence for Kobudokan, Tom, Rick and Gregg for being part of a brilliant weekend and Johnnie and Vera for showing commitment and kigurai. I will definitely attend this competition again.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Website update

Hopefully if you're reading this you should have noticed the website has had a minor update. The text is marginally bigger and a little bit brighter. Mike has already put in a claim for singed retinas!

More importantly there's an orange button to send you to the new page on the BKA Kyusha Taikai on April 2nd and 3rd that we are hosting!

Additionally I've addressed the issue of the missing newsfeed. The Springwidget we used didn't work because their website was down so I've swapped to some other way of doing from a site called Blastacasta [probably too good to be true]. On the one hand it renders the feed seamlessly which is what I had originally envisaged when I set up the blog within Mike's page, on the other I'd just got the Springwidget to include the BKA's news feed as well so it'd have been nice to have wider kendo news available from our home page, "c'est la vie".

Anyway if any of this is beyond you you can always check out the news blog separately. The downside to all this is some pages are acting a little funny but I don't think you will notice any problems if you refresh your browsers, they're more aesthetic errors my picky nature has found. Any comments just drop them in the forum.

Friday, 7 January 2011

News page error

I've noticed that the news feed on the front page of our website is currently not working. I think the RSS is working, although my most recent post hasn't filtered through to my Google Reader

I'm not sure why this has suddenly broke but Mike has a new front page [amongst others] to update the website. Hopefully this will fix the error when he uploads it - over to you Mike...

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Google Advert

A while back I registered Liverpool Kendo Club as a business with Google. This means when you zoom into The Egg on Google Maps we have a little marker that hopefully has been seen by people browsing the area [7420 views since I set it up in June and 562 clicks for 'More info' or click-thru to our website!]. This then links through to another page in Google Places which has a descritption, links, reviews, pictures and videos of the club to drive traffic to our Beginner's Nights. Hopefully it has, the success of our recent Beginner's Nights back this up. Although not many people [here I mean none] have filled in my simple survey to find out how they discovered the club.

One of the unexpected benefits of this was Google sent us a £50 voucher for Google Adwords. So I set up a campaign to advertise our upcoming Beginner's Night on Wednesday 26th January. Half the voucher will be used to promote this event, the other half will be used to promote the British Kendo Association Kyusha Taikai and Seminar we're hosting in Liverpool on April 2nd and 3rd.

So, if you do a Google search [or map search] for 'Liverpool' and 'kendo', for instance, you might see a little box at the top of your search results saying:
Liverpool Kendo Club
Learn the Japanese Martial art of
Kendo free Beginners Night 26.01.11

So far there have been over 1,400 views of this advert in 3 days, which isn't bad and that translates to 7 clicks through to our website. It's very exciting and when I see the advert I do get an urge to click it myself. I shouldn't have to explain to you all but this would be a mistake. Every click costs part of the advertising budget. So, I would ask if you do see the advert you now know what's going on behind the scenes and please resist the temptation to click it.

It's almost as if we're actually getting organised with stuff!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Winter Training part 1. is complete

For those who couldn't make it tonight you missed out on an awesome display of kendo stamina and whole lot of fun. Please make every effort to come next week as Winter Training not only prepares you after a few weeks of gorging on festive treats but it also builds team spirit and is a complete club bonding experience - it's the highlight of the year!

If you want to know what you missed perhaps some of the happy few who did attend may post a description on the forum. However I will describe it as like kendo sports day, with a bit of It's a Knockout thrown in, if that's not selling it I don't know what is [did I mention 1,000 suburi? erm better not]/

So we expect to see all those 'no shows' next week ;) where I will be preparing for my annual Winter Training injury, ha, ha! Sensei says he's bringing the bigger medicine ball as well.

Winter Training

Don't forget it's Winter training tonight - no bogu needed, just tracksuits, t-shirts and shinais/bokkens/suburi bokkens. Bring spares if you have them, just in case.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

British Kendo Association Membership

A reminder that everybody should now be members 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. At this stage in your kendo training you're likely to be committed to the art and will be with us for a year, at least, so it's wise to upgrade to full membership so we can grade you and get you into bogu. Fundamentally, your membership is your insurance to train. In a full contact martial art the importance of insurance coverage cannot be understimated.

We expect everyone to be members of the BKA if they wish to continue practicing at the dojo. 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.