The first kendo practice I ever joined

Shamu-san, Kawahara Dojo’s latest member and a complete beginner wrote an essay after his first practice. Here he shares his thoughts and impressions as an almost complete beginner. We all say:

– Warmly welcome to the Kendo Family!

– I’m Shyam Bhardwa and I’m blue like a smurf, Blue Man Group or Avatar. Kendo does strange things to you 🙂

So, for me, picking up Kendo was at first very nerve-wracking – It was a whole new world of sorts. Luckily, I found everyone at Kawahara dojo to be incredibly friendly and helpful, and after a small shopping splurge on some Kendo equipment, it was time for my first real practice on Saturday!

The shopping trip was quite an experience. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many shinai, gi and hakama in one place before! I walked in and was completely lost, but thankfully Stefan was there to point me in the right direction. It was great to finally try a shinai of my own, and trying on the gi felt refreshing in the heat – which was probably a good thing with summer coming up! Getting my name embroidered in teal was the last step, and everything was done quickly and efficiently for a very reasonable price. Now I was suited and booted, it was time to learn!

So, lesson one, when I arrived at the dojo, with everyone pumped and ready to go – how to put on my Hakama. I reckon I might have got a C if I was lucky – my first attempt was very difficult, but luckily Stefan and Mori sensei were kind enough to walk me through it once each, and I got there in the end. I was practicing with the children, who were full of energy, and it was a very welcoming environment to start in. We started with my footwork and movement, with both Sensei’s being quick to offer suggestions and demonstrations. After a few false starts, I started to get the hang of it, and from there on things went smoothly.

After some time practicing my footwork and shouting, it was nice to grab a drink of water and watch the kids spar. Their energy hadn’t gone anywhere, and they went flying for each other – it was amazing to watch. That about wrapped things up for my first practice, but the Sensei’s gave me some last tips to focus on taking forwards that I made sure to keep in mind.

So overall, I don’t think I could have asked for a better first practice – I learned a lot of good basics to get me started, and everyone was helpful and friendly, helping me pick things up much faster. I’m hoping I will be able to learn quickly and well in my future practices at Kawahara dojo!

Shyam Bhardwa, beginner at Kawahara Dojo