12 September 2016

Kenshikan training and kyu grading report

Well done to everyone for a great training last Saturday. I hope you all had a great time at the Kenshikan.

Thanks also to Fiona and the members of the Victorian Naginata Renmei for giving up their training time to teach us a little naginata. What an awesome weapon!

And of course on Sunday there were many who graded and everyone passed. Congratulations! Especially to Alex, who showed great perseverance comprehensively conquered his demons. Well done mate, you're now a shining example to others.

We're now on break for the September holidays, but we will be back for term 4 on Saturday 8 October.

Other dates to keep in mind:
  • Victorian Junior Kendo Championships (open to all under 16s) Sunday 13 November
  • Mumeishi 3's Saturday 3 December
  • Shochugeiko and last training for the year Saturday 17 December (9am - 5pm)

4 September 2016

Training relocates to Kenshikan for next week only

Next Saturday's training will be at the Kenshikan Dojo, 91-99 Rosslyn St West Melbourne. Training will start and end at the normal time. We will have a few extra people joining us...

This will be the last training for the term. The first training for term 4 will be on 8 October.

16 August 2016

Reminder for beginners, useful stuff

For all our semester two beginners, don't forget there is an outline on the beginners' course you're currently undertaking here:


and as I mentioned at the end of training last Saturday, a Beginners' Handbook with all the basic commands, terminology and lots of useful diagrams that you'll refer to over the next few years of your Kendo practice.


頑張って下さい! Ganbatte kudasai!

15 August 2016

2016 VKC report

Last weekend saw the running of the 34th (!) Victorian Kendo Championships. Over the two days there were 10 separate competitions held, a massive organisational undertaking and superbly well run by Ballarat and Apollo Bay Kendo Clubs, and their volunteers. In my mind, these guys are the most important people of all those who attend.

Our club had its best ever attendance. On Saturday, Quinn and Andrew competed in the Kyu individual event, a very difficult division because it contains such a wide range of skill levels. Well done to you both. Each shiai is like months of jigeiko disstilled into a few short minutes. There's lots to reflect on afterwards, but also lots of momentum and passion that can carry through into training as well.

On the Sunday it was the teams' events: kyu and open. For the first time we had a team in each. Sadly I couldn't watch the kyu team in action because I had shinpan duties on the other court (note to self below!). But a look at the scoreboard showed that Melbourne University's formidable kyu team really dished it out to our guys. A real eye-opener to what the level is like in competition. Still, it was great that we had a team of four who all did their best. Some clubs have so many members they can field an A and B team, and still have enough left over to run selection trials to be on the team. One day...

One valuable lesson from this campaign was the role and type of warm-up required. We decided that a short warm-up with full-bogu at high intensity is preferable to a suburi-only warm up. We'll remember this for next time.

Thanks to Alex we were able to field a complete team in the open team division. Our match was against South Australia, who often field a team in the Victorian championships. Our fighting order was Alex (senpo), Soon (jiho), Sean (chuken), James (fukusho) and me (taisho). This order worked well. Alex came up against a nito (two swords) kenshi and did amazingly well. He didn't win, but I spoke to his opponent afterwards and he said Alex was a very difficult opponent and that his strategy of playing very straight was absolutely the right way to deal with nito. Soon was next and being his first real shiai, it was a huge learning experience. Sean's role as chuken was pivotal as it was the deciding match: a draw would keep our hopes alive, a loss would seal our fate. Sean was not at all outclassed but in the end conceded a point to his opponent. He was unlucky to attract two hansoku (shinai-hanashi and jogai) which decided the match. James came next with nothing to lose and he demonstrated his favourite waza which is unfortunately difficult for some shinpan to observe. After having the first point given against him, he lifted and scored two decisive and unequivocal men-uchi to win the match. I came next, and after losing the pool matches in the Veteran's division, I was determined to fight with more positive Kendo. My first debana-kote was not awarded, but I made sure the next two were, and I was able to salvage some pride. In the end, to go down 3-2 was not a bad result. We can turn that third match next year!

Overall I was extremely happy with how we went this year. There are clear things we can work on, but we have improved since our last outing by a long way, and we did much better than I had hoped.

Things to aim for next time:

  • reserve myself a position as coach for kyu teams so that I can be on hand to assist and not have to be a shinpan!
  • develop a standardised warm-up routine that everyone knows and that can be run by any team member
  • individual goals, such as: utilising natural advantages such as height; developing softness and relaxation; improving kiai and kime, etc

Happy victory face: the Open Team winners MUKEN.

1 August 2016

Suburi pattern

This is the suburi pattern I use every day. It helps me to keep count and the small amount of variety keeps my brain interested throughout the boredom of the repetition! Men uchi is the most important of the movements to practice, but kote and do are also important to ingrain as well. So the majority are men, but there are kote and do as well.

The pattern is renzoku or double-time style: moving forwards and backwards using okuriashi footwork in time with the cut.

20 sho-men
20 kote
20 sho-men
20 kote-men
20 men-do

You can start by having a rest between each 20. But pretty soon if you practice every day you should be able to do 100 non-stop. Then after a while, try 200 non-stop. Then, try with two shinai or a heavy suburito, and so on.

Try my pattern and if you like it, great! If you hate it, make your own!

courtesy of benotdefeatedbytherain

24 July 2016

Eiga Naoki - "A Single Blow"

This is one of the great Kendo docos. Although filmed with a ham samwich, A Single Blow nonetheless deals with a lot of important aspects of Kendo competition: how to deal with a slump in your performance; the difficulty of maintaining the desire to win when the desire the win can be the very thing that slows you down; and the bigger picture of Japan facing Sth Korea's onslaught, and what it means to be the world's top Kendo nation.

21 July 2016

2016 Victorian Kendo Championships information

Click here to download the following info in pdf format

Victorian Kendo Championships 2016

13 – 14 August


Victoria University, Footscray Park Campus, Ballarat Road

Court 1, Level 1, Footscray Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre (Building L)


Registrations 8:00AM ~ 9:00AM

Competition 9:00AM ~ 5:00PM


Day 1 – Saturday, 13 August 2016

1. Men’s kyu individuals

2. Women’s kyu individuals

3. Women’s dan individuals

4. Men’s dan individuals

Day 2 – Sunday, 14 August 2016

5. Men’s kyu teams

6. Women’s kyu teams

7. Veteran’s individuals

8. Kata Pairs

9. Women’s open teams

10.Men’s open teams

* Events and schedules are subject to change.