As Victoria comes out of lockdown, in-person training will resume with some changes. 6 February is the tentative start date for regular training in 2021, with 27 February as the start of the next beginners' course. Please check in with this website regularly for updates.
New equipment suppliers 2015
Recently there have been a few changes in the online (and offline) Kendo equipment world:
Tan's Martial Arts in Lygon St has closed
Michi Martial Arts' website is no longer up
So here is an updated list of some newer sites worth checking out.
This site is run by All Japan Budogu so the standards of service are very high and their products are excellent. I've ordered some small bogu and they're well made and very flexible. The biggest sizes they make would fit up to a small 12 year old. Free shipping like all AJB sites, but prices are set in US dollars so currently we lose out on the exchange rate.
Started by Andy Fisher and run from Kumamoto, AJB have created a small revolution in online equipment retailing. Their quality is high, their shipping is free and their service is fast and excellent. It was Andy who sourced Nanseikan's hitting dummy when it was not even a product they offered.
They are good for bogu, shinai and kendogi/hakama. Prices are in US dollars (although they offer a currency calculator when browsing their site).
A new site from AJB, they offer a completely different range of bogu to AJB, made in Miyazaki as opposed to Kumamoto. Their boast is that their bogu is 100% made in Japan from scratch. Prices are a bit higher than AJB, but in Japanese Yen, so the exchange rate is currently a little better. Free shipping.
This is a relatively new site based in Japan and started by Blake Bennett, an ex-pat Kiwi Kenshi and little brother of Alex Bennett sensei, editor and founder of Kendo World. So the provenance is good! I haven't ordered from them but their products look good and they offer a high degree of customisation. Made in Japan. Bogu orders ship for free, smaller items attract a cost as far as I can see.
These guys are still important players in Kendo equipment online sales. They are based in Kyoto. Some of their products are made in Japan and some made elsewhere. Their range of products is massive and not just Kendo related. They also have Japanese cultural artefacts like Buddhist statues and Shinto shrines for sale. Also swords for iaido. Prices in Japanese yen and free shipping above a certain order value.
If any of you are good with your hands (or your mum or dad is!), you might like to try making this kendo dummy. I haven't made one but it looks good and the detailed plans are free to download. http://www.bestkendo.com/HowtoDummy.html b
Some more holiday reading, this time about something that I hope everyone will be doing and thinking about regularly while they are not in the dojo – suburi! This research is by a group of researchers from Keio University in Japan, led by two 7-dan kendo sensei. They looked at the best position to swing back to, and also the best position to stop the cut, whilst doing men suburi. Click here to read the article. b *Thanks to www.miamivalleykendo.org for the article