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Thursday, December 2, 2010

I PAKA Kendo Championship 2010

En español

The first Kendo Championship sponsored by the Panama Kendo Association (PAKA) was held at the University of Panama Gym on Saturday the 27th November 2010. A historic event as it was the first championship ever held in the Republic of Panama. 18 registered for the tournament and participants came from the Panama and Chiriqui Provinces.

Photo by Jeannine Carrasco
Saturday morning kendo introduction and combat techniques seminar was followed by competition event. Seminar was dictated by Hsieh sensei and interpreted by Alberto Prado. Afternoon matches were exciting and all fought with Great Spirit. Final match between Rosemarie Read and Peter Gideon was riveting and ended in a very close draw. Telemetro Canal 13 (Channel 13) covered the event and the news was featured in their evening edition.

Photo by Rosemarie Read
We would like to thank the University of Panama for hosting the event, for all the junior members attending and for those who helped set up the gym. We would also like to thank the Hsieh family for sponsoring the athletes’ lunchboxes and sodas.

Special thanks go to the referees including Hsieh sensei, Batres sensei, Dacosta sensei and the many others who helped between the fights.

Photo by Rosemarie Read
Congratulations to all who were awarded with nice-looking championship medals and certificates!

A very big thank you and huge commendation to the organizers of this event, Hsieh sensei and Lopez sensei. They worked tirelessly for over a month planning and executing this first ever PAKA Kendo Championship.

1st.  Peter Gideon
2nd. Rosemarie Read
3rd. Raul Lopez Q. and Alberto Prado

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Monday, October 18, 2010

2010 Ozawa Cup

En español

Last weekend the Panama Canal Authority's gym became a martial arts stage as the 2010 Ozawa Cup was held.

Organized by Juan De Leon's Traditional Karate International Ozawa-Ha, the two-day tournament brought together nearly 350 local and foreign karate competitors and attracted a huge turnout of martial arts enthusiasts. As a local newsworthy event, the international tournament was covered by Channel 4 (RPC).

Raul Lopez Q. Sensei and his students, sponsored by Budokan Universitario, were invited by Juan De Leon Shihan to give a demonstration of kendo to the visiting public. Lopez Sensei’s team was joined by independent kendoka Delia Sanchez and Christian Alfredo Acevedo.

As Lopez' demonstration team began to appear the crowd started to get energized. Indeed, something about the kendo armor always stirs up the imagination, evoking images of mortal swordfights in medieval Japan. The event started at 6:30 pm with team demonstrating basic waza and shiai geiko. Narrating the demonstration was Raul Lopez R. Sensei, Panama's founder of both kendo and iado.

You can catch a short video of team's demonstration on our YouTube channel. Another lengthier video will be uploaded soon.

Here´s a picture of the members of the kendo team and some of the event organizers:

From left to right: Raúl López Q. Sensei, Delia Sánchez,
Juan De León Shihan, Raúl López R. Sensei, Christian Alfredo Acevedo,
 Adolfo Enever Hanshi, Javier Moreno and Alberto Prado. 

Kendo demonstration was a great success and the public was impressed with team's strength, timing and technique.

2010 Ozawa Cup Organizing Comitee

Juan De León Shihan
Edith Martínez Sensei
Rodrigo Espino Sensei

2010 Ozawa Cup Demonstration Team

Raúl López Q. Sensei
Alberto Prado
Javier Moreno
Delia Sánchez
Christian Alfredo Acevedo

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back in the saddle again

Hello everyone! We have been absent for a month due to ongoing kendo activities that are taking place to improve student's training. Thank you very much to all of our loyal readers that remained with us despite the void. We return bearing great stories and fresh videos for you.

Following articles will focus on ‘how-to’ instructions for temporarily repairing bogu parts such as do’s chichigawa. We will include detailed pictures and videos whenever possible to facilitate learning.

Lastly, Happy Birthday to Raul Lopez Q. Sensei whose birthday we celebrated on October 3rd.

See you soon...

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cooking up something special

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that things have been quiet during the past days. That’s because we're looking for new kendo topics to heat up the place. We don't want to post simply for the art of it, we want to deliver great articles containing useful, practical bits of information that you'll truly enjoy.

Talk to you in a few, and keep up the good work!

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Appropriate kendo flooring

For some time now we have been looking into expanding our dojo. Possibly we will begin practice at a more ample facility that, coincidentally, has wooden floors suitable for kendo practice.

Wooden floors are important because they provide the best support for feet. Undoubtedly, wood surfaces are best for executing proper fumikomi ashi. Try it yourself: train in a concrete floor and then train in a wooden floor and you'll notice a slight change in foot pressure. This minor variation is critical for proper footwork and balance and it has to do with floor's hardness.

Repeated practice in concrete floors can result in kidney, leg, knee and feet pain and you may even stop kendo altogether because of it. Advice: if you cannot practice kendo in a wooden floor always remember to wear protective feet gear. Keep looking for other surfaces to practice besides concrete floors. If you can't find a good quality location try placing inexpensive martial arts mats or karate mats but don’t get accustomed to them. Wood floors are essential to kendo so keep searching for a place that has them.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First kendo exhibition

Our first kendo exhibition as members of the PAKA club took place at the Jose Beto Remon Municipal Gym (Panama City) on August 28. It was an exciting time for us as we had the opportunity to showcase kendo prior to a karate tournament organized by the Golden Karate Club presided by Jaime Garcia de Paredes Sensei.

Exhibitions are major stepping stones when it comes to spreading the word about kendo and Japanese traditions in general. To take part in a kendo exhibition is a huge responsibility and it should not be taken lightly.

As a demonstrating kendoka you must face audience, sensei and teammates with the right mental and physical attitude. Check that uniform is properly tied and wears comfortably; check that bogu and shinai are in order, tie men and do firmly. Try to relax and calm your nerves, go through waza in your head or review program with your teammates if you find it soothing. Once you are in the open maintain full concentration on the action taking place. Remember, you are not at dojo so seek to perform at your peak level, with confidence. Become an excellent partner; stay alert and aware of your partner’s moves. Always use powerful kiai. Minor slip-ups during exhibition are guaranteed so don’t fret about them and continue onward until exhibition is over. Be cheerful and friendly before, during and after demonstration.

Finally, a good thing to have is a narrator with a microphone or loudspeaker that introduces the group to the audience, explains actions unfolding and delivers a brief description of kendo while kendoka change positions and put on bogu. It helps move things along and keeps audience motivated and interested.

To take part in a kendo exhibition is a great honor and an amazing experience. It doesn’t matter if your participation was less than stellar, surely there will be other opportunities to shine. What’s important is that you are learning to overcome your natural fears and you are showing character and commitment to kendo as an art and as a way of life.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Kendo advantages

During your kendo career you will battle many people whose waza will be based on their height. The key to balance a match between two kendokas of different height is distance, speed and strikes at your opponent’s most vulnerable spots.

For instance, if you are shorter than your opponent do you utmost to get as close as possible to deliver physically powerful kote or do. If you are the tallest person in the match you will reach your opponent’s men easily but you will also have to keep your guard up and avoid giving your back to your adversary. Tall people do not need to “enter” to attack as they can attack from issoku ittō-no-maai whilst short people can have the advantage attacking from chika maai.

In kendo it is best to develop your own waza based on your physical advantages rather than on your shortcomings. Don’t get discouraged when facing an adversary either shorter or taller than you; study your opponent and learn from him or her to improve waza and develop new strategies for future matches.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Friendship and camaraderie

From left to right: Sho-dan Rosemarie Read, Suyin Crook,
Christian Alfredo Acevedo Herrera, Martina Aldeano, Alberto Prado and Javier Moreno

PAKA’s kendo group is growing as you can see from this picture taken on August 14th at University of Panama gym (Photo Rosemarie Read). And with growth comes new challenges as older students introduce newbies to the Way of the Sword. Alberto and Javier (far right corner) have new responsibilities being the older students while sho-dan Rosemarie (left corner) is doing her part in blending her kendo club members with PAKA dojo. Old and new students, male and female, are happy to be part of this endeavor and we congratulate them for their extraordinary effort and determination.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

PAKA’s tidbits

Against all odds
When sho-dan Rosemarie Read and Delia Sanchez joined Lopez Q. sensei's dojo he had no idea that they had been practicing by themselves. Amazingly, Rosemary had formed a small all-female kendo club in the back porch of an international benefit and they are currently holding Friday night classes, attracting women to kendo. Lopez Q. sensei visited Rosemary's dojo and was truly impressed by the women's determination to keep practicing despite little to no equipment (have you shared only one kote?). Sensei invited the women to visit PAKA dojo and he will continue visiting Rosemary's, hoping that several kendo clubs are formed in Panama in the years to come.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 19, 2010
Rosemarie´s kendo club also includes male kenshi.

Kendo training dummy
We have a kendo training dummy as of August 14th (see dummy or motodachi in the back of class facing sensei). Dummy has no name yet but surely students will find one that suits him as he is part of the PAKA family now. Motodachi is made with wood, nails, plastic pipe, old car tire and old men. We encourage you to make your own hitting dummy if possible and share your dummy-making stories and pictures with us.

Thanks for reading, be sure to send us your comments!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Waza and geiko: striking the perfect balance

Beginner´s kendo is always interesting: after a brief period of time you´ll witness a natural separation between those who apply themselves to waza and those that within minutes of starting class they want to do geiko with sensei.

Kihon waza is basic training and geiko is combat. Many kendoka try to swerve around waza and jump right into geiko while others try to master waza without engaging in geiko with their peers. Both types of students believe that sensei will not notice their little avoidance games but he does believe you me!

For sensei is easy to spot the reluctant student that does not want to do geiko; he has good, solid waza but once geiko is on he loses confidence and is afraid to hit anybody. The geiko student is also easily noticeable: he wants to fight, he will coax his teammates to fight him, and looks desperately at dojo clock because he can´t wait for geiko to start.

In kendo there are no shortcuts to perfection. To have strong waza is great because that is the foundation of your practice. But without geiko you will soon fall short because you need to develop your personal style in order to compete. To be unafraid of geiko is wonderful but without waza you´ll have nothing to show other than brute force. In order to become the best you can be you have to master waza and geiko at the same time.

Are you more into waza or geiko? Please enrich this post with your feedback as we want students and sensei alike to benefit from your thoughts and experiences.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kendo rankings

It is understood that at some point in your kendo career you will try to achieve a rank. But, what does a rank really mean? Does it prove your true worthiness as a kendoka? Can it gain you respect, appreciation from your sensei and peers?

In Eiji Yoshikawa's 'Musashi', the hero Miyamoto Musashi traveled throughout Japan to perfect his technique by engaging in combat with other kenshi. During his dojo visits he seeked to fight their most gifted students and perhaps add something new to his 'toolbox'. Musashi was often ignored due to his poor appearance. But despite looks Musashi defeated all of his adversaries. His calling card? His reputation that preceded him.

In kendo there are no visible ranks or colored belts meaning that every kendoka you cross swords with inside or outside dojo must be treated with courtesy and respect. Rank does help in determining your skill level and if you are ready to teach. Rank also speaks loudly of your personal commitment to kendo as a way of life. But rank does not define your character, the type of person you are when bogu is off. One should assess a person by his or her technique and most importantly by the way he or she treats fellow kendoka rather than just rank.

"To make kendo appealing to larger crowds some schools have bestowed ranks to students that have not yet acquired the appropiate skill level" said Lopez Q. Sensei. "To me this is a mistake; students should value kendo and ´sweat blood´ to achieve a rank. Who would you rather be? A low-level san-dan or an excellent ni-dan that fights like a san-dan and makes yon-dan break a sweat?".

Have you been treated unfairly because you had no rank? Have you ever felt pressured to obtain one just to prove a point or gain respect? Please give us your feedback. Take care.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Warm-up exercises: body rotations

Preparatory exercises help kendoka lift the mental anxiety he or she feels prior to kendo basic training. We will not go into each of the limbering exercises because many kendo books and videos offer step-by-step instructions. Instead, we will go over one particular limbering move that we feel its utmost important: body rotations.

Body rotations as shown above consist in rotating your trunk from the waist so that it stays as horizontal as possible as it moves through a full circle. To do this you must first spread your legs and, holding the shinai by its ends, lift it above your head. Do it properly before training and you may be warding off lower back pain derived from any kendo position, especially chudan-no-kamae.

Chudan-no-kamae is the basis of all kendo positions, and it puts heavy pressure on your spine when bogu is on. If you have trained for many years and have forgotten to do body rotations you may be in pain right now so perhaps you should take care of that right away. Start by identifying the source of the pain, then make an appointment with a physiotherapist or sport specialist. Also, feel free to explore acupuncture, Pilates, tai-chi, yoga or any other alternative method to decrease pain. Lastly, look for traditional botanical remedies as they have been known to lessen back pain.

Oh, one more thing. Don’t put up a tough front and pretend nothing is going on. At the dojo your body will feel great but when you get home and rest the pain will quickly return. Muscle pain relief creams can only alleviate pain for a short time so it's in your best interest to step up and do the right thing for your body. Take care, get better, kendo will wait for you. Cheers!

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Local newspaper kendo article

We are very proud to share with you a clipping from Panamanian newspaper El Panama America. In this clipping there is a brief description of kendo as a martial art, a short commentary from Raul Lopez Q. Sensei and our class schedule. In the picture, Alberto Prado (left) and Lopez Q. Sensei (right). There is no newspaper link yet, as soon as we confirm link we will let you know. Have a great, safe weekend!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Mokuso or Meditation: is it important?

Mokuso (pronounced "moh-kso") is Japanese for “meditation” and is performed before beginning a training session and following it in order to "clear one's mind of everything around you". I would add that mokuso is necessary after class to clear one’s head of aggressive thoughts following geiko.

The procedure is simple: sit in formal kneeling position or seiza, eyes closed, back straight, hands placed at navel's height and closed in the shape of a circle. Focus in circle's center because as your hands are empty so is your mind. Breathe in, hold your breath, and breathe out. Don’t force breathing and don’t hold it for too long. Relax and concentrate on your breathing. After a certain amount of time your sensei will say ‘yame’ signaling that meditation is over.

There is no easy way to explain mokuso because it’s a very intimate experience for each kendoka. Before beginning of class it helps wipe out mundane thoughts from your mind in order to focus on kendo tasks ahead. After class it gives you time to relax and collect yourself before heading out to the world.

While some may attain peaceful thoughts during this brief period of meditation others may very well be thinking about how to improve waza or if they’ll have pasta and meatballs for dinner. But, if you don't do mokuso properly chances are you will be distracted and get hit easily by others.

Meditation is commonplace to all martial arts so it is very important to develop mokuso without losing awareness of your environment. Do it right and you will reap the full benefits of mokuso: calmness, responsiveness, and the anticipated perception of your opponent’s moves.

Do you think mokuso has helped you improve your waza? What has your sensei taught you about mokuso? Please share your thoughts.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kendo wife

You’re at the movies watching a film about a woman who just started dating a kendoka. Fast-forward ten years, same woman wakes up next to an exhausted, stinking man. She leans over his shoulder and notices men and do set over two chairs, tare on the floor. She staggers to the kitchen and before getting there she trips over shinai grouped against the corridor wall. She makes coffee and gets distracted by old kote and new himo sitting over the counter. Coffee is ready and next to coffeepot are a flowery pot holder and a soiled tenugui. She smiles and chooses tenugui to pick up the pot. And then you wake up and realize that woman is you and this is definitely not a movie.

What is a kendo wife? Simply put, the woman behind male kendoka that acts as cheerleader, filmmaker, supporter and nurse. More often than not this woman practiced kendo with her husband at some point and gave up because one kendo freak in the house is one too many. She knows her husband’s competition stories by heart. Attends most practices and pays enthusiastic attention to his Nihon Kendo No Kata. And at night, she takes care of blistered, callused, fungus-ridden feet, swollen knuckles and bruised ribcage. Ah, the good life!

Kendoka recognize that to be successful in kendo you must rely on at least one individual that believes in you. It can be your wife, son, daughter, mom or dad, even Linda that cutie that started dating you (it’s not the other way around, trust me). They are your diehard fans and they look forward to helping you succeed.

When you are alone kendo becomes really hard and moving forward is more difficult. Even lone samurai Miyamoto Musashi had Otsu, his lifelong love; although they lived separate lives due to Miyamoto’s extensive travels he was certain of Otsu’s profound devotion and conveyed his feelings to her before final, epic battle with Sasaki Kojiro.

Kendo is not only about haya-suburi, kiri-kaeshi and shiai-geiko. There is a whole other dimension to it and includes all people kendoka relies on to become the best while mastering his individual way of the sword. These people deserve recognition and I strongly believe that without them kendo would not be as breathtaking and exciting as it is for all of us now.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Improving zanshin

Zanshin in kendo can be defined in many ways. Alertness, preparedness, completion of one’s technique; the last “ingredient “needed for a point to be considered during a competitive match.

Have you ever watched high school kendo matches on TV? In those matches you will notice that young kendoka are quick, ferocious, and almost cruel and they will strike their opponent as many times as possible to weaken them and take them to the ground.  But strikes do not necessarily mean points and points are only established when zanshin is indisputably there.

During regular practice sensei will surely tell you to “turn around” after finishing a technique. For example, you don’t do kote-men and then prance away with your shinai down, giving your back to your partner.  Sensei must have mentioned to you that as soon as you finish your technique you must quickly turn around and face your opponent. Why? Because your opponent will take advantage of any and all opportunities to attack you and you are at your most vulnerable when you're not looking directly at your opponent.

High school kendo matches are a perfect example because to the untrained eye 90% of all hits should obviously be counted as legitimate points, but experienced kendoka know they’re not considered legitimate points due to lack of zanshin. Even people on the stands know the difference and they boo and hiss when a point is called without considering if zanshin was present or not.

Zanshin is not something that you develop overnight.  It’s like brushing your teeth every morning; you can do it even half-awake, right? But it took you awhile to get used to it. Same in kendo, once you learn to finish all techniques appropriately you’ll be able to execute zanshin effortlessly and it will become a natural part of your personal training program.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bogu maintenance tips

Bogu is kendoka´s biggest investment hands down. And we all want to take good care of our equipment so here are a few basic tips for bogu maintenance.

Right after practice remove men and wipe inside with a dry cloth (you may use a dry tenugui or other type of cloth). Then pack your bogu and go home. Once at home take all bogu parts out (men, kote, do, tare) and set them out to dry. This is the tricky part because if you live in a warm, humid place chances are bogu will not dry quickly. If you live in a place where sunlight is poor you have another reason to worry.

In warm, humid weather there is hardly any wind. Ventilation is key to bogu getting dry otherwise moistness will settle in and that hideous stench all kendoka know will surely emerge. If you live in an apartment with a small balcony you are in luck, but if your apartment has no balcony you will have to get a fan or two to air dry bogu properly. Sunlight is crucial for killing bacteria that thrives inside men so if possible gather all bogu parts and set them in a sunlit place. Unkind, noon-like sunlight is recommended for less than 20 minutes. Bogu should be out in soft sunlight that allows it to dry without scorching it. Here is a picture of Lopez Sensei's bogu set out over his car. It was a cloudy afternoon with little sunlight and before 6:00 pm bogu was transferred indoors where it dried out completely.

Once bogu is fully dry you should wipe men inside with a cloth and some rubbing alcohol. You can either spray men with alcohol or simply rub it in with the cloth. Alcohol will kill bacteria and keep men cage clean. One application should be enough to keep men disinfected and you should do this at least once a week if you practice every day.

We would like to receive maintenance tips from other kendoka, especially from those residing in cold places such as Europe, Japan or any other country.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Makeshift arm protector

In my previous post I mentioned that Lopez Sensei crafted an arm protector out of old shinai parts. And, as promised I present a picture of the protector which was made with an old, worn-out kote, heavy duty plastic blue string and three bamboo sticks cut out from the old shinai.

Sensei are encouraged to use arm protectors because during class they will practice with all their students. In getting acquainted with shinai newbies will hit sensei's unprotected arm instead of kote many times, ouch! We do not recommend beginners use additional arm protector for a number of reasons, one of them being that kote itself provides enough protection for arm and wrist. Another reason is that students would get too confortable with additional cushioning. And, its easy to forget to block kote or do from your opponent if you are not feeling pain. Yes, sometimes pain in your hand, wrist and arm are a constant reminder to block your opponents attack and protect yourself.

Do you use arm protectors? Do you feel protectors harm your technique? Share with us your experience and pics!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Shinai and oil, do they mix?

All kendoka know that shinai need regular maintenance and care. Most kendoka know how to disarm shinai and replace all leather parts that wear out fast. And when you are all done changing sakigawa, tsuru, nakayui, and tsuka comes the burdening question: should I apply oil to shinai? And the answer is: it depends.

Bamboo, one of the hardest woods on Earth, is also one of the most flexible. It is a grass and it thrives mainly in hot tropical regions and in some cold places as well. If you live in a hot, humid region like Panama you don't need to oil shinai due to country's high level of humidity (the rainy season lasts from May to November and rainfall is twice as heavy on the Pacific coast as it is on the lowlands of the Caribbean coast). If you reside in the template European regions you will most likely need to oil shinai. Why? Because in cold weather bamboo goes dry. Too dry. If bamboo is too dry it will quickly loose flexibility reaching point of breakage.

How many times? It depends on your country of residence and local weather. In hot and humid regions almost never, in cold regions once a month or twice.

Type of oil? Linseed seems to be the most popular. But kendoka experiment with all sorts of oils: mineral oil, cooking oil, WD-40. Use what you think works for you in accordance with your type of shinai and your budget. I cannot provide an informed opinion on waxing as I have never waxed shinai. However, Lopez Sensei does recommend waxing to prevent frequent splintering. Wax between bamboo junctures is specially helpful, allowing them to rub smoothly against each other. If you are out of commercial wax you can use candle wax.

Shinai don't break easily as many kendoka believe. You can test this yourself: put on a forearm protector before putting on kote and ask sensei or one of the strongest kendoka to do their most powerful kote. Chances are the protector will bend, crack, even break in little chunks but shinai will remain unsplintered.

It's hard to let go of a faithful shinai. Lopez Sensei had one for nearly 30 years and after all those years of devoted service the wood could no longer tolerate standard practice. Sadly, shinai was disarmed by Sensei and now parts are used for crafting other artifacts such as a makeshift arm protector. You can catch a glimpse of the protector in our YouTube channel, I promise I will post a picture for you.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

About practicing at home

Kendo is a way of life for all kendoka. That being said, you must practice at home when you're not at dojo facing sensei and fellow students. Practice time depends on kendoka's skill level: at least an hour for beginners and up to four hours for advanced. You can also do the math in terms of repetitions: 100 up to 1000 and beyond.

Many people agree that the most important move to do at home is suburi. Suburi is a repetitive cutting exercise used in Kendo and in other martial arts. In Kendo there are many variations to suburi like joge-suburi, katate-suburi, haya-suburi and sayu-men-suburi. You should start with joge-suburi and do at least a 100 moving up to 300, 500 and so forth. Your personal mark is yours so try not to compare yourself to or envy other students. Soreness, numbness while practicing is inevitable so pay close attention to your body. The point of suburi is to loosen up the wrists and develop speed, endurance. Loose wrists are critical to proper technique as speed is crucial for, let's say, tsuki (we will devote an entire post to tsuki later).

Stay focused at all times as you might hit yourself, something or someone around you. People tend to damage ceilings, lamps and anything crossing their path. If you have low ceilings at home it is best to practice outside (lawn, yard, park, beach, forest) or in any place where you can raise sword properly without hurting technique. Time of practice depends on your personal mood and weather if doing it outside. However, be mindful about daily practice and choose same time of day for that.

The sword you use for suburi must be the heaviest one you have around the house. Between a 38 and 39 shinai please use the 39. If you have bokken or bokuto use them instead of shinai. If you can get a super heavy suburito, even better; alternate between bokken or bokuto and suburito. Many people don't buy, own suburito because of their sheer size and massiveness but believe me it is the best tool you can use to improve upper body strength. Save lighter carbon shinai for competition, it is not meant for standard home practice.

Finally, don't get discouraged easily, Kendo is hard and you know it! You should do your utmost to prepare “by the book” and demonstrate that you are worthy of Kendo. See you!

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beginners' kendo

If you are interested in joining PAKA's kendo group, please contact Raul Lopez Q. Sensei at +507 6731 4502 or drop by the University of Panama gym during one of the regular practices to speak with him. Also, if you are an experienced kendoka and your bogu, shinai needs repair please bring them to Sensei for examination. Cheers!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Have a kendo question? Ask Sensei

Raul Lopez Q. Sensei has been receiving many questions related to common kendo injuries and how to successfully recover from them. Feel free to drop Sensei a line and we will get back to you asap. (Hum, should we have this segment on Youtube as well?)

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome new students

We are very excited to welcome newbies Ivan Chial, Rosemarie Read and Delia Sanchez. Rosemary (sho-dan) and Delia have previous kendo experience thus we are certain their experiences and individual styles will enrich our training. In this photo, from left to right, Rosemary Read, Delia Sanchez, Arnoldo Cohen, Alberto Prado, Javier Moreno and Ivan Chial.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Tune in to YouTube

Kendo Panama, Panama Kendo Association's (PAKA) official video channel, is now active. We look forward to receiving many visitors and comments from kendoka all over the world. We also welcome comments from non-kendoka as our mission is to enrich kendo with different, unique points of view. Through this site we will profile all students and you'll be able to follow their progress. New bonds and friendships will be forged so tune in and don't miss any of our posts.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First uploaded video

At last! I uploaded our first YouTube video! Honestly, it was a humbling experience and I had to take baby steps to do it right. Students and sensei will benefit alike: now students can check their progress and sensei can examine kendoka closely. Thanks to Derek Marshall, our 1# fan, for lending us his camera (marvelous little thing, it also records in HD) and for his video tips.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Photo collage

Hello Everyone

This is my first photo collage of our June 26th kendo class. We are very excited about this and hopefully many students will join us in this way of the sword we are following.

More news, photos and videos soon!
Posted by Picasa

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Friday, June 25, 2010

The beginning

This is my first post as a blogger ever! In this blog we will not only explore the wide world of kendo but also its development in Panama. This blog is under construction and in constant renovation so I will upload photos, news and events as they happen. Please feel free to submit your feedback. Thanks a million!

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