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Kendo

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Kendo

Postby BuckRogers » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:37 +0000

Does anyone here practice Kendo/Gumdo(Korean Kendo)? I have a strong background in the Korean martial arts and I have lived in Korea three different times for a total of over 4 years (one time as a civilian for 3 months prior to joining the Army and also two different times while on Active Duty) and I have practiced Taekwondo for 23 years now and Haedong Gumdo for 15 years.

I REALLY love the sword martial arts and while I know I do the Korean form (and not the Japanese form--just a BIT of history between those two cultures :) ) I am curious if anyone else here shares my love of the martial arts and the Asian sword art in particular.

On a side note, near the end of my time at Ft Lewis I did practice Iaido and Kendo with a Japanese Master Instructor out of Seattle who was just amazing but I was only able to do that for around 6 months and then I had to move again. I found that Kendo and Gumdo (the Korean form) were very similar, at least to my novice take on them at the time.

Thanks,
Buck
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Re: Kendo

Postby Jubei » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:13 +0000

On kendo, I would love to study and practice it but given my location, finding a sensei or club has been difficult. Most that I have found are often a hour or more away from home. I have attended some practice classes over the years, but nowhere near anything resembling a normal schedule which is a shame. In hopes, I still own my shinai.

Taekwondo, on the other hand, has been easier to study. My wife has an old friend who teaches his own school and we've attended it off-and-on over the years. She had reached green-belt level and myself, I had worked my way up to first-degree yellow belt. But budget, time, and physical issues intervened and unfortunately we haven't attended his school in some time. Our sensei and a few other of his colleagues still compete in local and state competitions and around the time we left, he was putting together an official school team for competition. I was surprised to learn sometime later, that one of my fellow students that I sparred and trained with, went on to compete at the National Amateur Championships in NYC and he won the national title! So I had been defeated by the best in practice and felt honored as such. :D

But I've always had a love for swords and swordmanship. Though I have yet to have little actual experience in such, my library of books on the subject(s) is quite large. With some help from others here, I've found quality books on the subject. I've enjoyed Dave Lowry's books on his samurai experience and training. I have quite a number of books on the art of sword blacksmithing (including quite a few on creating katanas). And my love extends beyond the well-maintained and recorded measures of Japanese swordmanship to include European styles and swords, John Clemente's books on those matters are quite extensive. Though I do realize my collection is far from complete. :wink:
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Re: Kendo

Postby BuckRogers » Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:38 +0000

Jubei wrote:On kendo, I would love to study and practice it but given my location, finding a sensei or club has been difficult. Most that I have found are often a hour or more away from home. I have attended some practice classes over the years, but nowhere near anything resembling a normal schedule which is a shame. In hopes, I still own my shinai.


It's a great point. I was lucky to find an instructor who did the Korean sword martial art as well at TKD. And being in the Army, there is always a large Korean population associated with almost every post so every time I move, which is every two to three years, there is always a gym close by.

I have kept the same Senior (Master) Instructor over the years (and we visit each other as often as possible) but I have, fortunately, been able to find Korean run gyms that teach both the TKD and the Korean sword art Gumdo after each move.

Now that I am getting older, I also love it as it helps me maintain what little ( :D ) flexibility I have and helps with my core strength. I also have 4 of my 5 kiddos doing it with me now which makes it even more awesome.

So, it's never too late to start or restart! In a gym (Korean "dojang") in Vermont I know of a 72 year young lady who started last year and is still going strong one year later! :D
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Re: Kendo

Postby Jubei » Mon Feb 16, 2015 18:54 +0000

Having the same sensei/master is a huge bonus in such matters. :wink:

The only kendo clubs that I've come across lately have been at local universities. According to their website, some meet on the weekends so I've been considering those since that would be easier for my work schedule.

Are there any fundamental differences between the two types of art? Or is it just a difference in terminology? I would think the forms wouldn't be that different between them but I may be mistaken.
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Re: Kendo

Postby BuckRogers » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:15 +0000

Jubei wrote:Having the same sensei/master is a huge bonus in such matters. :wink:

Are there any fundamental differences between the two types of art? Or is it just a difference in terminology? I would think the forms wouldn't be that different between them but I may be mistaken.


To be honest, I only trained Japanese Kendo and Iaido for around 6 months but have done the Korean form (Haedong Gumdo) for 15 years so I really cannot speak to the Japanese specifics.

That being said, the movements and techniques themselves seemed very similar between the two to me but I never got to the point of learning the "choreographed" forms (kata in Japanese/poomsae in Korean) in Kendo while I know 16 poomsae in the Korean Gumdo art (as well as 21 in TKD--good for the brain to keep learning!!!)

I would HIGHLY encourage you to try out the weekend clubs if you can. Sometimes the college clubs can be very intimidating as they are usually full of 18 to 22 year old "kids" in great shape who go VERY hard. (not sure how old you are--I am 43 myself) But, not all are that way and I would check them out if I were you. Even being able to go only once a week, or every other week, will work as you can learn something in each class, practice on your own during the week and check your form with your Sensei the next class and keep going like that.

I have trained that way more than once when I could not get to class 2+ times a week. I am always training in my office at lunch and at home. No one will really progress if they only train in class, in my opinion. :)
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Re: Kendo

Postby BuckRogers » Wed Dec 02, 2015 6:41 +0000

Just an update on an older thread of mine.

I joined the West Point University (actually named the United States Military Academy) kendo team and went to my first practice last night.

REALLY great time. And I was very happy to find that the Japanese Kendo and the Korean Gumdo (what I have mostly trained over the years) are almost identical, the only difference being that the names of everything in Kendo are obviously in Japanese and the names of everything in Gumdo are Korean.

So I would encourage everyone to find a Kendo/Gumdo club if they can and have some fun swinging some swords!!!

:D
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