Eastern Kendo

A blog on the Eastern Kendo Club and Kendo related issues.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Barany Sensei Visit at MSU

This sunday from 12:00-2:00 Barany sensei will be visiting MSU Kendo from Hungary. Please come out and practice with him if possible. He is a fantastic kendoist and a great teacher. I am sure there will be a get together afterward as well. Hope to see you all there.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Behold the Power of Tenouchi

See that purply splotch on my arm? That is a bruise from a blow to the kote. This either came from Abbey-sensei or our good friend Jordan "the Soviet" Bouchard. I'm pretty sure it was from Abbey-sensei when we were doing the kaeshi and nuki drills.

In those drills, recall, Abbey-sensei was emphasizing tenouchi - grip, snap - to make ippon. It's not enough to just cut, but to cut with tenouchi and zanshin. I think this one was from one of those exchanges, and it hit me right through a spot covered by kote, and it did so because of Abbey's tenouchi.

Am I saying we need to be leaving bruises on our opponents? Well, yes, if that opponent breaks in to our dojo waving a Soviet flag (kidding!). No, what I'm really saying is this simply demonstrates tenouchi in an illustrative way.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Please join us in welcoming the newest edition to the Engling family. Liam is the happy addition to Jason and Vicki and we wish all of you the best. See you soon. Another future kenshi. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

First Practice of the New Semester

We had a great first practice this year with a special guest all the way from Seattle. Durrell Rittenberg came to practice along with members of MSU. It is always great to have visitors and experience kendo with different people. Rittenberg sensei is a great kendoist that shared his love and spirit of kendo with everyone at Eastern. The first class of the fall semester started off great as well with 16 people all ready to begin the kendo journey. Thanks to everyone that came out last night and especially those that traveled far to practice. See you next week.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Miyahara-sensei Visit

The real hero of this story is my wife. At quarter to seven I said, "If I'm gonna go, I have to leave in 15 minutes or sooner." She took a look at our two crying children and said, "Go." Thanks, honey!

As some of you know, Miyahara-sensei, hachidan (I didn't catch his first name, but he teaches in Shizuoka) visited the Detroit dojo for a practice last night. I attended, at the Northville location. We had a small but vigorous group and a great practice with this fine teacher.

Miyahara-sensei spoke a little English but taught in Japanese. I followed most of it via demonstration and the few words I speak but had to have some of it translated for me by the multi-lingual practitioners present.

Basically, what we worked on was attacking, and Miayahara-sensei described four basic situations. One, where the opponent is standing still and open, and you penetrate (all the way to his doh, practically) and take men. Two, where the opponent is moving around, and you remain calm and undistracted and pick the right time to move in and take ippon (we did mostly men). Three, when the opponent has a good strong center that you have to break down, for example with harai attacks to ura and omote sides. And four, when the opponent is attacking, and you win with debana or ai-waza.

I'll have to demonstrate more of what he showed us but we drilled these concepts for a while. The fascinating thing for me was Miyahara-sensei showed us that when you penetrate the opponents defense, you can get your kensen right up to where it's just about touching the opponent's doh, and then snap up and down onto his men. He emphasized doing this with legs and hips in one or two strong, flowing-forward steps.

We all had jigeiko with him at the end of practice and it was as good as what you would expect: he was really holding back on us, let us get a few openings (made us work for them, though), and subtley, easily dodged our attacks or swatted them gently aside - then nailed us a few times to show us the ippon opportunities. Great practice, thanks to Detroit, thanks to Miyahara-sensei, and thanks most of all to my missus! *kiss*

Friday, September 01, 2006

Eric and Ken, you'll love this.

Top Ten No Sympathy Lines for college students.


This Course Covered Too Much Material...

Great! You got your money's worth! At over $100 a credit, you should complain about not getting a lot of information. If you take a three credit course and get $200 worth of information, you have a right to complain. If you get $500 worth, you got a bargain.

The Expected Grade Just for Coming to Class is a B

This belief seems to be making the rounds in some college circles. The expected grade for just coming to class and not doing anything else is a D or an F. The average grade is supposed to be C although grade inflation is a perennial problem.

Unlike Lake Wobegon, all the children in the real world are not above average.

I Disagreed With the Professor's Stand on ----

The time to deal with this issue is when it comes up in class. I have no respect for anyone who complains on the course questionnaires.

But the professor might put me down, or the students might laugh at me. Not too likely, but even if it happens, so what? If you don't have courage in the safe setting of a classroom, when exactly are you planning to develop it? When your boss asks you to falsify figures or lie under oath? When someone throws rocks through your minority neighbor's windows? When the local hate group burns the synagogue?

Some Topics in Class Weren't on the Exams

The point of a class is the material, not the exam. The exam is a check to see whether you learned the material.

Do You Give Out a Study Guide?

Hmm. The textbook simplifies a vast amount of material, then I simplify it more in lecture. Then you want me to extract the most important ten per cent of that and put it on a study guide, so if you know most of it you can get an A.

So what you're saying is the cutoff grade for an A should be 10%, right?