header photo: plum blossom 梅花
Saturdays 10.00 am to 12 noon (senior training)
Trainings are during Victorian Government school terms.
Hall of St Pius X Primary School, 431 Waterdale Rd, Heidelberg West, Victoria.
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Like most kendo clubs, Nanseikan is not run as a full-time business. The are no club membership fees, just training fees that are payable each term.
Fees are paid in advance on the first day of term and depend on the number of weeks in the term. Most terms are either nine weeks or ten weeks long.
All practising kenshi should become financial members of the Victorian Kendo Renmei (VKR) as soon as possible after completing the beginners' course. This costs $50.00/year for juniors (under 18) and $85.00 for adults. The VKR membership year is from 1 July to 30 June. Those who start in semester 1 are eligible for a one-off half-year membership. VKR membership is organised through the club. Contact the Membership Secretary via membership.nanseikan at gmail dot com
Membership of the governing bodies for Kendo -- the VKR and the Australian Kendo Renmei (AKR) allows Nanseikan members to take part in gradings, seminars and competitions, as well as providing the club with Public Liability Insurance and personal injury insurance (hardly ever required in an activity that generates fewer serious injuries than Aussie Rules, soccer or netball). The VKR and AKR are affiliated with the International Kendo Federation, which means that grades awarded in Australia are recognised in Japan and all 42 affiliated countries.
If you have done Kendo before in a different state, fill out our online enrolment form and quote your AKR number in the field provided.
Beginners' courses are held twice a year in February and August.
In the dojo...
Please note some of the procedures below are not practiced whilst in 'COVID-normal' training mode. Further details on request. Also see https://www.kendo.org.au/p/2021-covid-policy.html
The first activity is mopping the floor by hand in the traditional Japanese manner. This is excellent exercise for the lower body and ensures the floor is safe for bare feet. All members including the instructor take part in the various small jobs required to set up training.
Bowing and meditation are an integral part of Kendo. These rituals help to develop mindfulness, readiness and mental focus. They have no inherent religious significance.
Training is highly-structured and follows a very similar format week after week. However each term, different aspects of Kendo will be focused on.
The dojo environment is a calm one, aimed at developing concentration and mental equilibrium. We do not use loud music or aggressive teaching techniques. On the other hand, students will be encouraged to go further than they may find comfortable. As a result they soon find that they are capable of more than they had first suspected.
Japanese is still very much the main language of instruction. Kendo students learn to recognise commands in Japanese, as well as how to count and say please and thank you. For an idea about what kind of words we use, please see the glossary at the back of the beginners' handbook found here. Later on they will learn to participate in and even referee a Kendo match understanding and using only Japanese.
Visitors regularly come to train at Nanseikan from other dojos. Sometimes they are from Kendo clubs in Melbourne and sometimes from further afield, especially Japan. Nanseikan members are also encouraged to train at different clubs as often as they can. There is no exclusivity or secrecy in Kendo. Any club or Sensei that implies othewise should be treated with caution.
Equipment (see also Equipment Buying Guide)
No special equipment is required on your first visit to Nanseikan.
The shinai (bamboo sword) can be borrowed from the club for the first few weeks. One can then be purchased from a number of reputable suppliers for around $70.00
Training attire for beginners need only be a t-shirt and tracksuit pants with bare feet. A kendogi (training top) and hakama (divided skirt) can be bought online from about $150 (less for children's sizes). The club may also have second-hand sets available for sale or exchange.
Bogu (armour) is a more costly investment, starting at around $700.00, and need not be bought for some time. Thanks to generous friends in Japan, the club has a number of bogu which can borrowed free of charge. Bogu is worn progressively and the instructor decides when a student is ready to put on the next piece of the bogu. The first parts to be worn at training are always the do and tare (breastplate and protective apron). After some weeks the student will be told to wear kote (gauntlets) as well. Finally the men (helmet) is worn. From that point the student is eligible to wear full bogu at all training sessions.
Ben Sheppard holds the rank of Renshi 6th dan in Kendo. He first started Kendo in 1983 and has taught Kendo regularly since 1995, first at University of Melbourne and then at Nanseikan.