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Frequently Asked Questons About Kendo

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Spokane Kendo Club and Kendo training in general. If you have other questions, please donít hesitate to contact us:

Email: Russ@SpokaneKendo.com
Phone: 509 465-5207

What are the benefits of Kendo?
The benefits and rewards of Kendo are numerous and often life changing. Here is a short summary:
- You can take your health and physical fitness to any height you choose.
- Kendo improves mental quickness.
- Kendo develops calmness of mind and a positive response to stress.
- Many people use Kendo training as a character building activity.
- Strenuous training with each other forges strong friendships. The people you will meet at Spokane Kendo Club will become a positive group of friends.
- You can develop friends from other cities, states and countries.
- Juniors develop close friendships with other kids of all ages. This optimistic peer group of other kids, and adults, is a positive influence in their lives.
- Kendo reinforces the positive character traits and respect of others that many parents are teaching at home.
- Kendo, teaches cultivation of mind and body, self-discipline, an understanding of ourselves and our relationships, and life-strategies for dealing more effectively with others.
- A modern, developing society tends to reject the values and traditions of the past for the sake of inovation and progress. Unfortunatly, this can cause us to ignore some important traditional values of our grandparent's generation. Studying the traditional culture of another country helps us remember and appriciate the valuable traditions of our own culture, especially, since both Japan and the USA are struggling to retain traditional values as we progress into the future.
- Kendo is a lot of fun!

Do I need to be in good shape to do Kendo?
Anyone can start Kendo, regardless of their fitness level. Our 8 week beginning class starts out slowly. The intensity level gradually increases, with an emphasis on injury prevention.

Can I GET into really good shape doing Kendo?
Kendo is known to be one of the most challenging martial arts at the intermediate and advanced levels, so you can use Kendo to take your fitness to whatever heights you choose.

Do I have to have an athletic background to be good at Kendo?
Not at all. Some of the best Kendo practitioners in the country were not athletes before starting Kendo. Many of them even say that they were uncoordinated and didnít like sports. Our experience at Spokane Kendo Club has been the same. Many of our most skillful members have had no athletic background.

Kendo is taught in a clear, step-by-step way that makes it possible for anyone to learn the techniques well, and develop their abilities to a very high level of proficiency.

Is Kendo hard to learn?
Learning Kendo is easy. Practicing Kendo is a challenge. The techniques of Kendo are taught in a way that anyone can learn them. However, as you progress in Kendo it becomes gradually more strenuous. Like anything of value though, the rewards of Kendo are much greater than the challenge. The affirmation "You get out of it what you put into it" is certainly true in Kendo.

What are the initial costs of Kendo? Is it expensive?
The cost of joining Kendo is relatively inexpensive, particularly when compared with other martial arts. Spokane Kendo Clubís 8 week beginning class is $85. There are three classes per week for kids (8 Ė 11 years old), and three class times per week for teens and adults. After kids learn the basics they can attend any of the six classes. The membershiip fee is the same regardless of how many classes you attend each week. Two types of practice swords are required for the beginner's class; a hardwood sword (bokken $25.) and a bamboo sword (shinai $30.). The total of $140. is due before the beginning of the class to reserve a place in the class.

Do I need a Kendo uniform?
We do not use uniforms during the 8 week beginning class. You should wear a tee shirt and sweat pants. After completing the 8 week beginning class, you may purchase a Kendo uniform if you like, although it is not required until your fifth month of training. This will give you time to find out if Kendo is for you, before purchasing a uniform. The uniform cost is about $95.

Do I need Kendo armor?
New members need to develop the basic skills of sword handling, footwork, centered carriage, etc., before they start using protective armor and receiving strikes from others. It usually takes about 5 or 6 months to develop the basic skills to that level. That will give you time to consider if you would like to continue Kendo before you purchase armor and it will give you time to save the money if you need to. The armor cost is about $450. The armor will last for many years.

Do people get hurt in Kendo? Is it safe?
The use of protective armor, a flexible bamboo sword (shinai), proper basic technique and a very helpful, respectful attitude toward our training partners, makes Kendo relatively safe. However, Kendo is an aggressive, full contact activity. Bruises, blisters and the like can and do occur. As with any full contact activity, injuries are possible. There are, however, fewer injuries than in most other martial arts.

Our program has a distinct advantage, because our chief instructorís profession includes injury prevention for athletic programs and exercise therapies for injury rehabilitation. He is well versed in designing programs which maximize the safety of the training. Consequently, Spokane Kendo Club has a lower injury rate than most other Kendo clubs.

Can kids do Kendo? What about seniors?
Kendo can be taken up by anyone of nearly any age. Whether young or old, Kendo can provide valuable life strategies while improving fitness level, internal health and mental focus. Students have started as early as 6 years old or as late as 65 years old and every age in between.

How long will I have to do Kendo before I'm good at it? How long
until I become a black belt?

There is no set timeline for progression or rank in Kendo. How quickly you advance is primarily up to you. The more you put into it, the more quickly you can progress. How often you attend practice and the intensity and quality of your practice are the main factors in the rate of your personal progression.

Generally speaking though, at Spokane Kendo Club, it usually takes about 8 months of basic training before you can participate in matches and begin attending tournaments (if you choose to), and about three years to make first degree black belt.

Are there competitions or tournaments for Kendo?
There are tournaments nearly every month in the Pacific Northwest area. Tournaments are great fun and provide an opportunity to meet and practice Kendo with other practitioners from all over the region, and in some cases from other states and countries.

There are 14 Kendo regions in the USA, the Pacific Northwest being one of them. Each region develops its own team for the national championship, which is held every three years. Spokane Kendo Club has members who compete as part of the Pacific Northwest Kendo Federation team. The International Kendo Federation holds the World Kendo Championships every three years.

Do I have to compete in tournaments?
No. There are three training programs at Spokane Kendo Club that are all happening simultaneously:
1. General training for people who enjoy the matches that are part of each training session, but who DO NOT want to participate in Kendo tournaments.
2. General training for people who enjoy the matches that are part of each training session, and who DO want to participate in Kendo tournaments.
3. Training for those who, in addition to the general training, want to prepare for upper level competition at a national level. These members undergo a much higher level of training intensity.

Is Kendo a Self-Defense Martial Art?
No, unless you plan on carrying a 4 foot stick around with you! Kendo does, however, develop some important skills that can serve as a very real foundation for self defense. Kendo practitioners develop, to a very high degree, the skills of reading an opponentís attacks and openings, as well as distancing, timing, strong spirit, confidence, agressiveness, fighting strategies, etc. These also happen to be some of the most important basics of effective self defense. After some Kendo experience, an individual can combine these skills with some simple, specific self defense techniques, and can quickly develop effective self defense skills.

Our chef instructor, Russ Sinclair, is also Renshi 7th Dan in traditional Karatedo, which includes realistic self defense methods. He has offered self defense courses for men and boys and for law enforcement officers. He and his wife Wendy have also offered a very popular womenís self defense course called FIGHT LIKE A GIRL! Contact Russ for more information about self defense training.

Contact Us:
Russ or Wendy Sinclair
Email: Russ or Wendy Sinclair
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