27 January 2009

Hello Kendo!


I know at least one person who would really love one of these...
I'm not so sure about the sad little guy below...


From a very cheesy gift shop of all things kendo called kendo358.com

b

Grading dates for 2009

8-dan grading in Kyoto. Pic from All Japan Kendo Federation

These are the dates for upcoming VKR gradings for the first half of the year. Mark them on your calendar! (:b

§ Saturday 7th March – Kendo 6th Kyu to 2nd Kyu Grading

§ Sunday 29th March – Kendo 1st Kyu to 3rd Dan grading

21 January 2009

Gold!

In Korea, some 8-dans have gold-coloured mengane! It's a bit of a "status-symbol", a way of showing off either how wealthy or how skilful you are.

When I first saw them I was a bit shocked. They seemed so, well, showy. But then I remembered that many Japanese 8-dans have status symbols of their own, like sam-e dodai, (do made from sharkskin) which is very expensive: usually about $3000.00 from a good Japanese maker. And that's just for do itself!

If you click on this image you can see how the do has many little dots. These are the natural texture of the sharkskin. Usually the craftsman who makes it is able to arrange a small line of these dots across the middle of the do as a kind of decoration. You will also notice that this bogu set (from www.tezashi.com) has black mengane. This is really just a different kind of status symbol. Black mengane have only been made for the last 2 or 3 years, but are becoming very popular, especially outside Japan.

Even though we are taught not to show off in kendo, still people like to own and wear things that are special and that make them feel good. Everyone likes to have new things, and everyone likes to have things that no-one else has. Even in a room of kendoka wearing all blue dogi and bogu, you can see little differences: expensive shinai, coloured tsuba, handstitched bogu, lots of embroidery on the hakama. There are lots of ways people like to stand out. And sometimes having the goal of saving up for a new set of your own bogu can be a really important part of your training, keeping you keen and looking forward to kendo training.

So long as you don't become one of those people who trains until they buy their own bogu, then gives up a week later!

5 January 2009

Happy New Year 2009!



アけましておめでとうございます!

(akemashite omdetou gozaimasu!)

This year training starts on Saturday 7 February.

Term dates will be:

term 1............. 7 February – 4 April

term 2............ 25 April – 6 June

term 3............ 18 July – 12 September

term 4............ 10 October – 5 December

Above is a nengajo or New Year's card for our club.

All the best for 2009.
Let's make it a year of learning, fun, and victories! b

PS - Don't forget to check out Shugo-Nanseikan, our other blog with lots of new articles about kendo.