How to keep your body healthy as a martial artist

For you to become a great martial artist, you’ll have to undergo rigorous training for your body to reach its full potential. 

Get to know your body better when you enrol at Mississauga Kendo Club! Get started with basic martial arts training by reaching out to us on our official channels found on the homepage of this website

Dietary tips to keep your body healthy

There’s no specific diet that anyone can follow up to a tee. Keeping your body healthy often depends on a person’s genetics, body composition, age, goals, and day-to-day activities. What you can do as a martial artist is to find the right balance for you, especially with the help of an expert. 

With this said, it wouldn’t hurt to learn about a few tips and guidelines to jumpstart your healthy diet. Here are some of the tips by Mississauga Kendo Club to keep your body healthy: 

  1. Too much sugar isn’t good for the health

Although sugary food is delicious, it doesn’t really do anything good for your body. What makes it more alarming is that most food in the market sneak in unhealthy sugars that most people are unaware of. Sugar is highly addictive, and it’s hard to remove from your diet especially when your body craves for it. 

It’s best to check the nutritional content of your food purchases to see if it’s high in sugar. Avoid candies, sweets, sodas, ice cream, and some ‘sports drinks’ on the market as much as you can. You’ll be surprised at how much your energy will increase if you remove sugar from your diet.

  1. Eat food that’s rich in nutrients

Your body requires a lot of nutrients to function properly. When you’re a martial artist, these needs increase by a lot because you’re undergoing rigorous training which requires energy. For you to increase stamina, you’ll need to start eating healthier with the following food recommendations:

  • Lean proteins such as fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds
  • Lean and healthy meat such as poultry and red meat
  • Whole grain food
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Healthy fats such as omega-3 and avocados
  1. Avoid low-fat and low-carb labels

Keep your snacks healthy by eating cheese sticks, fruits, tree nuts, vegetables, and other nutritional food. Avoid low-fat and low-carb labels in the market as much as possible because these are as unhealthy as artificial food. Read the labels carefully on the things you buy to know the nutritional value of the product. 

  1. Trans fat is the enemy

Most food used in baking and fast-food restaurants are filled with trans fat. This is highly unhealthy when consumed because it’s made artificially to replace healthier fat alternatives that naturally occur in nature. Always check the nutritional content of the food you buy from the grocery store. If there’s a presence of trans fat, then you should reconsider buying it.

Mississauga Kendo Club: Improve your kendo with these helpful tips

Kendo is a lifelong training that requires discipline, patience and perseverance. Begin your journey to excellence with these useful tips:

Avoid gripping the sword too tightly

One of the most common mistakes that beginners make when learning kendo is that they tend to grip the sword too tightly as they execute the movements. 

Skilled instructors have pointed out that doing this tightens the muscles in the arms, resulting in a more difficult execution. In learning the proper gestures, keep your body relaxed. 

Learn how to control your body

To master kendo movements, you must know how to control your body. Instead of trying to control the sword in executing gestures, it’s more helpful to maintain your physical body so that the rest of your body follows suit.

Don’t overthink

In practising the movements, beginners often think too much about the next step that they’re going to take. This makes their steps look unsure and rigid, ruining the progression of the routine.

Allow your body to take the centre stage and do all the movement without the hindrance of your thoughts. With continued practice, you will get used to each movement so that you can control the sword and your body perfectly.

Determine your weaknesses

While it’s important to know the strengths that you can highlight as you perform, it is crucial to be aware of your weaknesses. Find out the areas that need improvements and work on them until each step in the routine is polished.

If you’re practising by yourself, it’s helpful to take a video recording as you execute the movements so you can see which parts have to be refined. 

Attend tournaments and seminars

You can learn a lot of tips and techniques from professional kendo players during matches. Watch closely how they execute their movements, as well as the defences that the opponent uses to counter them. 

Many kendo organisations hold seminars where they invite professional players and instructors to share their knowledge and experiences. 

Create a plan

Keep track of your progress by creating a realistic plan for your training sessions as well as the goals you wish to achieve. You can allot sufficient time for each movement or routine that you wish to polish.

Ask your instructors for feedback

Consult your instructors occasionally to ask for feedback about your performance. They have enough knowledge and skills in the field to easily determine which aspects of your performance can be improved. 

You can also ask for advice on how to better execute the kendo movements, as well as good habits that can help you acquire a positive attitude and mindset.

Enjoy the process

Although you are working hard to develop your skills in kendo, do not forget to have fun along the way. You will be better at retaining information if you’re enjoying each training session instead of forcing yourself to learn. 

Moreover, avoid pushing yourself too hard and remember to take breaks so that you don’t burn yourself out in the process.

Tips to improve your kendo skills

Tips to improve your kendo skills 

Kendo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. Also known as the ‘sword way’, Kendo is a modern form of martial arts that originated in Japan where two people will face each other using two bamboo swords.

It was inspired by Kenjutus and Shinai. Participants can also wear a protective armour called a Bogu. What makes kendo popular is that it’s an activity that marries concepts of martial arts along with movements that are beneficial to the body. 

Kendo began in Japan when swordsmen established kenjutsu schools. For years, this form of swords activity has been used as the basis of modern kendo. However, there were a few modifications as the years passed. 

Kendo may seem like an easy activity but it requires a lot of patience, determination, and practise before you master the craft. So, if you’re curious to know more about kendo and how you can master it, here are a few tips we can give you. 

Practise your moves 

Just like with any craft, you need to practise your skills in kendo to be able to master it. After taking your kendo class, make time for it when you go home and go back to the moves you learned. 

Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, practising a ritual is a good way to exercise your kendo nerves. You may not notice the changes right away, but over time you will see how swift your movements have become over time. 

Focus on your movements 

Mastering kendo means you need to focus on all the movements being taught to you. 

While practising your moves, give all your attention to your movements and the movements of your opponents. Always anticipate your rival’s movements and so you won’t be caught off guard. 

Practise discipline

Learning kendo means you have to be disciplined with your movements, routine, and how you accept the techniques being taught to you. Practise discipline early on so you can easily adjust and apply it to your kendo. 

Don’t restrict your practice inside the dojo  

One of the most common mistakes of kendo learners is that they leave their learning behind once they leave the dojo. Always remember that kendo is an art you need to learn by practising it on a regular basis. 

Make time for your kendo outside the classroom and you’ll be surprised at how fast you will pick up your techniques. 

Enrol in our kendo classes now 

If you’re interested in learning kendo, we offer a wide range of classes that you can enrol in. Just submit to us an application form that we’ve provided on our website. Once you filled out the information needed, submit it to the email address below and wait for a confirmation. After receiving the verification email, check the requirements you need to fulfil for your kendo classes. 

The Basics of Kendo and How to Execute Them

The Basics of Kendo and How to Execute Them

Exchanging blows, fighting to the death and taking your opponents seriously, are one of the common ethics that samurais and swordsmen alike apply back when invasions and wars are widespread. May it be an enemy or an ally, showing your true skills to an opponent is a way of respecting their culture, tradition and their status as a swordsman. This way of living leads to famous swordsmen to have rivals that they look forward to facing every time.

You can’t just take away something from a person that has devoted their whole life to. This leads to the improvisation of sword fighting to kendo in Japan. Kendo is known for disciplining the human’s body, soul and mind.

On March 20, 1975, the All Japan Kendo Federation or Zen Nihon Kendō Renmei published ‘The Concept and Purpose of Kendo’ which is as stated below.

‘To mould the mind and body,

To cultivate a vigorous spirit,

And through correct and rigid training,

To strive for improvement in the art of kendo,

To hold in esteem human courtesy and honour,

To associate with others with sincerity,

And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

This will make one be able:

To love his/her country and society,

To contribute to the development of culture,

And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.’

Here at Mississauga Kendo Club, or whatever country, dojo or club you are in, we respect every culture and tradition. We know that every martial art and culture was influenced by their needs and hardships. Here, kendo connects us with all the people who share the same love for kendo.

Rules and Objectives in Kendo

Kendo matches and training is noisy compared to other martial arts. Kendoists or Kendoka, one who practises kendo, are required to shout or kiai in Japanese to express their willpower when attacking an opponent. At the same time, they execute fumikomi-ashi which is to stomp the front foot every time they strike.

Kendokas are trained to fight barefoot, this way they could feel the ground beneath them which they say helps them analyze what the enemy is planning. In tournaments, kendo is held at venues with wooden sprung floors.

In a match of kendo, two kendoka are made to brawl with each other. The match would be concluded when either of the two scores at least two points or until time runs out. Matches in the competition are judged by three of those in the higher rank. 

There are four valid targets for a kendoka to score a point. In college level, only three are allowed; the men, dou and kote which is the upper, left and right side of the body, all of which are protected by the armour. Tsuki, which is to thrust the throat, is not allowed due to the danger the move carries.

Penalties in Kendo

Since kendo is an activity that forms etiquette and morals, there are rules that can’t be violated during training and official matches.

Some of them are:

  1. Intentional pushing of an opponent

There is a proper time and way of pushing your opponent, one example is when a blade lock happened.

  1. Tripping your opponent

The only targets in kendo are the upper body, it’s disrespectful as a kendoka to target a body part that doesn’t give you points.

  1. Dropping your shinai

Since kendo originated from samurai fights, the intentional dropping of your weapon means that you gave up on your life.

  1. Calling for a timeout

Never call a timeout unless there is an emergency or valid reason. However, matches in the upper ranking call for a timeout whenever no valid points were hit after a long time.

  1. Leaving the court without permission

Always respect your referee or opponent, a true kendoka shows his moral after any matches.

  1. Targeting your opponent’s handle

Matches don’t allow athletes to deliberately knock down an opponent’s weapon, remember this is a sport not a fight to the death.

  1. Raising of your forearm

Assuming an overly defensive position is not allowed because it doesn’t leave any target areas hittable, a good kendoka can react quickly to an opponent’s attack leaving him with no opening. 

Proper Posture in Kendo

In every sport, there are proper postures that need to be applied if you want to bring out the best in you.

Kendo prioritizes that you sync your strikes with your kiai in order to score a point, so how can we maximize our power output while synchronizing this?

  1. Relax your shoulder and straighten your back

In kendo, you can’t raise your forearms to assume defensive posture all the time. You must learn how to observe your opponent. If you have a relaxed shoulder, you can block them on time.

  1. Align your neck proportional with your back

When you fix your neck, you can see the opponent’s moves more clearly, at the same time fix your breathing techniques

  1. Assume a proper and comfortable standing position

Don’t put your feet too far or near each other, putting your feet together could end up tripping yourself. Also, putting it too far would make you too slow to react with your opponent’s move.

  1. Plant your feet on the ground

By putting weight in your heels and slightly shifting your centre of gravity in front, you assume a stance where you will not fall when struck or pushed by an opponent.

  1. Look straightforward

Don’t be conscious about how you look, remember you are in a match. You’ll get hurt if you give your opponent a chance to strike you while you are out of focus.

Here are the exercises that you need to do in order to assume the proper posture.

  1. Train your core muscles

By burning fats and exercising your core daily, it gives you a chance to assume proper posture all the time because of the strain you put into it.

  1. Proper breathing technique

While in training, tighten your abdominal muscles and butt while breathing through your diaphragm. This way you won’t get tired easily in tournaments and at the same time build up your stamina.

  1. Shout

By assuming your proper breathing technique, you now have the appropriate stamina that can be used in actual matches. Try shouting the loudest kiai, while squeezing your abs and you’ll feel the power surging through your body.

You’ll know you’re doing your exercise right when you feel your abdominal muscles burning hot. You’ll feel contraction and shaking of your entire body. Along with your core, some of your back muscles will also feel strained. This is an indication that you are doing the exercise right.

Techniques in Kendo

The techniques in kendo are divided into two categories; Shikake waza or the attacks, and Oji waza or the counterattacks.

Shikake waza

Besides the 4 vital targets that use basic attacks like men, dou, kote and tsuki, there are still ‘special attacks’ used to strike your opponent. Training with a dummy and a human being is different. All humans react when threatened.

Renzoku waza

Renzoku waza is a consecutive attack used because we usually can’t strike a point at first hit. Your opponent is also a trained athlete, never belittle them because it means you’re looking down on their hard work. Consecutive attacks are done so that you can create an opening for points to score. Athletes utilize combos in order for them to create their momentum.

Harai waza

Harai waza is to parry your opponent’s shinai to create an opening. It is similar with the sheath and slash technique with katana users

Debana waza

Debana waza is to strike when your opponent is about to attack. As a kendoka trains, their intuition also grows with them, giving them the ability to predict their opponent’s movement.

Hiki waza

Hiki waza is to strike then step backwards, this is usually done so that you can give yourself time to breath after a strenuous rally.

Katsugi waza

Katsugi waza is a surprise attack done when you can’t find an opening to your enemy. You can execute the move by lifting your shinai to your dominant shoulder rather than the typical above your head strike.

Maki waza

Maki waza is when you locked blade with your opponent then you try to remove the shinai from their hands using a circular momentum.

Oji waza

Oji waza is to counterattack, kendoka bait their opponent to strike in areas that they have already anticipated then proceed on striking them after the move is executed.

Nuki waza

Nuki waza is to avoid your opponent’s strike then hit them afterwards.

Suriage waza

It is simply strike, block and hit again.

Kaeshi waza

Kaeshi waza is the strike after blocking where you rotate your wrist to an opening leading to a hit.

Uchiotosh waza

It is to strike an enemy at the same time but you must execute it faster and with more power.

Want to watch an actual training? Visit our club now and we’ll show you how we do it.

Kendo Ranking System and How to Reach Them

Kendo Ranking System and How to Reach Them

Kendo practitioners are known for their diligence, patience and etiquette. No matter where you are, kendoka always wear just one uniform with no identification of their rank or whatever. So how does one identify them? Simple, by observing how they interact with people and the difference of skills in their swordplay.

Mississauga Kendo Club Instructors

Here at our kendo club, we pride ourselves with instructors that lead their students to show qualities that follow the ‘The Concept and Purpose of Kendo’. Below are our great instructors who will train and work with you to achieve your goal of learning kendo.

Yukio Yamada (Godan)

Yukio Yamada, or Yamada-sensei as what we call him, is one of the first students of Shigeo Kimura at Takubukan dojo during the late seventies. Takubukan dojo is now known as the Toronto Kendo Club. In 1996, he founded the Mississauga Kendo Club with Kimura-sensei. Yamada-sensei is still an instructor at Mississauga Kendo Club and now the head instructor of Hamilton Kendo Dojo.

Shigeo Kimura (Kyoshi – Shichidan)

Shigeo Kimura or Kimura-sensei was born in Sendai, Japan. He attended Takushoku University, a popular martial arts school in Tokyo. After 40 years, he migrated to Canada where he raised his family. After meeting Yamada-sensei, and Richard Tizzard, they founded the Mississauga Kendo Club. Kimura-sensei competed for Canada and served as a referee at the World Kendo Championship.

Kendo Grading System

Back in the mid 1800s, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department implemented a ranking system for the police officer’s ability in martial arts. They were trained in judo, karate and kendo then ranked through the kyu system, the first system was ranked from 8th to 1st. Then in the 1890s, the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai or Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society incorporated these ranking systems to various martial arts found in the country.

In kendo, practitioners are not distinguished by the colour of their belt, like in taekwondo or karate or a badge as a symbol of their status. Kendo only uses one kind of uniform no matter how long you are practising it.

Kendo has a ranking system no matter what country you are. In Japan, kendo practitioners are classified through a kyu/dan system. Beginners usually start from a no kyu to the Rokkyu or the 6th kyu then gradually make their way to Nikyu or the 2nd kyu. 

You can rank up as long as you passed every promotional examination that would show your knowledge and application of your basics. Various exams are held to judge your skills when you rank up from the lowest to the 2nd kyu depending on the federation that you are in. As for the promotion of Ikkyu or 1st kyu and dan, the exam should be in the same standard set by the International Kendo Federation.

After you have passed your 1st kyu examination, you are now eligible to become a Shodan or 1st dan. A practitioner trains and hones his skills as soon as he was given the status of a dan. Dans are a bit different compared to ranking up in kyu. You are only allowed to take an advancement exam after a year that is equivalent to your position. For example, if you are a first dan, you need to wait for a year, 2nd dan for 2 years and so on.

Along with the long years of waiting before advancing to a higher position, the exams are different compared to ranking up in kyu. In dan, you don’t show the basics. You must be able to beat or show that you are comparable to someone a rank higher than you.

In addition to the kyu/dan ranking system, there are three titles that you can rank up to; the Hanshi or the highest rank; Kyoshi, one who holds the prestigious title; and Renshi, a senior teacher. However, not everyone can acquire it instantly. The kendoka must be at least a Rokudan or 6th dan to Judan or 10th dan. At the same time, the candidate must be recommended by the federation they are affiliated with. After passing the exam, they can put the title before their dan statuses like ‘Renshi-Rokudan’ or ‘Hanshi-Rokudan’.

Kendo Competitions

Kendo competitions are held in all parts of the world, different federations hold each championship depending on the region they are competing on. Some of the renowned competitions are as stated below. 

The World Kendo Championship

The World Kendo Championship is a competition organized by the International Kendo Federation or FIK. It is held every three years since its establishment in 1970. Contestants who would like to qualify for the tournament compete at respective clubs or dojos affiliated with FIK.

The assembling and organizing of the World Kendo Championship rotates through the three FIK affiliated continents; Asia, America and Europe. The contest is classified into four categories; Men’s Team, Men’s Individual, Women’s Team and Women’s Individual.

European Kendo Federation

The European Kendo Federation or EKF is a federation affiliated with FIK. They oversee all Japanese martial arts which include kendo, judo and iaido in the European region. EKF championships have been ongoing every year since 1974, except for the years when an international championship is taking place.

World Combat Games

The World Combat Games are international championship games that feature combat sports and martial arts.They features sports like karate, kendo, aikido, and many more.

The World Combat Games was inaugurated in 2010, were started by the SportAccord, an organization associated with international organizations that arrange sports events. The World Combat Games was initially started to bring combat sports and martial arts of different countries to the public. At the same time, they want to showcase to the world how we could preserve and pursue the values of combat sports to the world as it is now.

All Japan Kendo Championship

The All Japan Kendo Championship is known as the most prestigious championship. Practitioners from every part of the world even considered it as kendo with the highest level of competitiveness.

To compete in the All Japan Kendo Championship, a qualification exam is conducted in each region. Each federation has its own type of qualification round. Most of the time, only the winner of the exam could proceed to the tournament. However, in some big Japanese prefectures, the runner up and the 3rd place are also qualified to enter the tournament.

Japan is known as the most competitive kendo tournament in the entire federation. The All Japan Kendo Championship consists of a winner takes all system. The contestants need to win all of their matches before being crowned with the title of ‘Emperor’s cup’. 

How to score points in Kendo tournaments

To score a point in a kendo competition, the contestant must be able to ‘tai-kai’ or strike an opponent’s ‘datotsu-bui’ or the target armour accompanied by a kiai. Below are some of the techniques used to score points during a competition.

Datotsu-bui

Datotsu-bui are the targets that a kendoka must be able to accurately strike. There are different targets that a contestant can strike:

  • Men-bu – the head protector, the top is sho-men and sides are called sayu-men.
  • Kote-bu – the padded area surrounds the right or left wrist, migi-kote for left and hidari-kote for right.
  • Do-bu – the armour that protects the torso, migi-do for the right side and hidari-do for the left side.
  • Tsuki-bu – the area protecting the throat
  • Monouchi – the top side of your shinai

In a competition, three referees or shinpan are mediating a match. Each referee holds a red or white flag in each hand. The referee raises a flag that corresponds to the colour that is representing the competitor. At least two shinpan must agree for a point to be awarded to a contestant.

Kendo competitions are usually the best of three matches. The first competitor to score two points wins the match. However, if only one point has been scored throughout the match, the contestant with the point wins the game.

There are some cases where no points are awarded to both competitors. The referees have three options they can choose from to how the match would be pursued.

  • Hiki-wake – the match is declared a draw, junior competitors would usually end up with this conclusion when both sides are too tired to continue the match.
  • Encho – the match is continued until either of the competitors is awarded a point. In high ranked matches, competitors are equally skilled to the point that timeouts are required for them to strategize their approach of the match
  • Hantei – the winning side, is decided by the three referees. The referees would raise the winner’s flag at the same time to prevent biased decisions.

In every match, there is always an unpredictable outcome. Sometimes the skill is not the only basis of a match, but the way an athlete approaches and assesses their enemy. Every kendoka can learn this through hard work and proper training. What are you waiting for? Join us now!

The Importance of Basics

Hi All,

I’m going to try my hand at a blog-like post here, so please bear with me. I’ll try and post something on a semi-regular basis – so please check back!

Okay, I thought I would start with something we keep talking about, but often forget in the heat of battle … the basics. The basics of footwork, posture, how to hold the shinai, etc.  These are the foundations of our kendo, and are things we learn from the moment we step into the dojo for the first time. Yes, we learn reji, waza, kiai, etc., but the basics are there throughout.  Kimura Sensei noted this during a recent practice, and that the basics of our footwork is what is holding us back (among oh so many other things).

So how to fix?

Well, the only way we can fix our basics is by doing the basics, and not allowing ourselves to rush through something just because we want to try something fancy.  And footwork is something that we can actually do outside the dojo at home.  What we can do is even that basic “compass” drill we do – front, back, left right etc.  And by keeping our posture upright and footwork correct, we can build that muscle memory. That way, when we get to practice, we can have that muscle memory remind us of how that motion should feel, and move from there.

The basics are our foundation.  We build our kendo from there. There is nothing magical about it … we fight like we practice, and the more we practice proper basics, the better we can make the rest of our kendo. Quality over quantity (and a quantity of quality) lets us improve!

So let’s try and remember our basics.

Audette Sensei

The MKC at Japan Festival 2018

The Mississauga Kendo Club will be giving a demonstration Japan Festival Canada (https://japanfestivalcanada.com/) again this year.  We are scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, August 26th at around 3pm.  We encourage all members to come out and cheer us on. Please contact Audette-Sensei if you are able to help out at the demonstration.

The first practice of the Spring Session is This Friday

The first practice of the Spring session is Friday, May 4, 2018.  As usual, we start at 7pm with basics practice.  And it is the first keiko of the month, so that means kata and/or bokuto waza.

Practices for the Spring session are as usual – Wednesdays from 7-9pm and Fridays from 7-10pm.

Hope to see you there!

Practice Details for January – April 2018

Practices for the Winter 2018 term begin on January 10/18 (Wednesday) and run until April 6/18 (Friday).

As always, Wednesday practices are 7-9pm and Fridays are 7-10pm, with the first hour being dedicated to basics.

Hope to see you there!

End of Fall 2017 Session & Club Christmas Party

A reminder to all members that the last practice of the Fall 2017 term will be Friday, December 8th. We will be starting back up in early January 2018, so stay tuned for the start date!

We are also having a Club Christmas Party on the evening of Saturday, December 9th, starting at 6pm.  The party is being held at Audette-Sensei’s house, 3808 Tacc Drive, Mississauga.  The event is pot-luck with some club-supplied goodies from Ginko.  Please let Audette-Sensei know if you will be coming by Wednesday, November 29th, and if you have any dietary requirements.

We look forward to seeing you at the club’s 2017 Christmas Party!