As some of you might remember, in the beginning of the autumn Otto, Saara and Merci travelled to Korea, to participate at the 17th World Kendo Championships. Saara and Otto were competing, and partly due to an injury Merci accompanied the team as a manager this time. What can we say? We had a blast!
It would be impossible to summarize everything that happened during the trip, so just to make things easier, here are Merci’s thoughts, from the managerial (fancy!) perspective:
It was the first time for me to take part at an international competition as a manager - until now, I have always been in the shoes of the competitors, and took my share from some of the managerial duties. I have to say that it was pretty exhausting! For those who are not familiar with the “regular WKC schedule”: the competition takes place on 3 consecutive days (Fri, Sat, Sun). Small details vary, but basically all the divisions where ladies are involved (individual and team competition) are held on one day, whereas the men’s individual and team competitions are separated to two different days. The whole event closes with a rather formal sayonara (or in this case, annyeong) party.
When you are a competitior, you have easier and lighter days, but of course when you are a manager/delegation leader/coach/cheerleader, you have to be present all the time, and try to make sense out of the often “chaotic” scene on sight, while supporting your team and inform them about all the info and potential changes that occur during the competition. So well, I don’t want to get much in details, but boy, it wasn’t easy! I have to say, I learned much more from this role than I expected and I also feel quite ignorant when as a competitior I have never really thought about the amount of work our “non-competing delegation members” put into the whole competition from their own free-time. So basically I would like to say thanks for all the work these guys have ever put into helping us, and would also like to say thanks in advance for all the upcoming dudes and dudettes, who will join the team delegation as non-competitors. <3
On the more general level, I think I can safely assume that I was not the only one, who was expecting this competition to be something “HUUUUUUGE”. Not in terms of size obviously. Most of you probably know, that the peak of the WKC is the men’s team final, where in 99% of the cases Japan faces Korea. Well, after the 16th WKC held in Tokio, most of the kendo world knew that the Korean team is going to put 150% of their efforts into the preparations for the competition that was organized in their own country, and well all I can say: they surely did live up to the expectations! I don’t really want to get into long lamentations about the men’s team finals (I am happy to do that in person, of course), but I think we have seen a crazy entertaining competition, where all the competitors truly wanted to win with every bits and pieces of their hearts. I don’t know how do other people feel, but I was very grateful for the experience, not only because the performance of all competitors was exceptional, but also because I have learned a lot both on the “to do” and on the “not to do” levels. I was also happy to see how much did kendo in general changed in the past few years (and also in the past decades) in Europe: some teams and some competitors truly showed us that everything is possible. Being home in Europe, it was amazing to see the development some European countries went through recently.
Talking of which - you probably know this, because I am pretty late with this article - the Finnish boys (with Captain Otto!) gained their place in the best 8 teams of the men’s division. They were amazing and their work truly showed in the competition. Joel Salmela from Tampere was awarded a fighting spirit award for his performance. The ladies team and its members were a little bit shy, but they had some really nice fight, and I think they did very well, especially given that with the exception of Saara, the rest of them were first-timers at WKC. So to sum-up this not super well-constructed article: it was a great experience, I learned a lot again, and Finland was great. Amen.
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As some of you might remember, in the beginning of the autumn Otto, Saara and Merci travelled to Korea, to participate at the 17th World Kendo Championships. Saara and Otto were competing, and partly due to an injury Merci accompanied the team as a manager this time. What can we say? We had a blast!
So there was a massive radio silence again. Sorry for that. Anyways, it’s time to catch up with all the happenings, let’s start with Helsinki Kendo Open 2018 (given that Helsinki Kendo Open 2019 is approaching…).
For those who don’t know, Helsinki Kendo Open has been held first in 2017. Of course there has been a very similar competition before (Dan Cup), but you know…everything is XYZ Open nowadays, so we had to join the “cool competition name gang”. The competition consists of both individual (ladies dan, open dan) and team (3 ppl team) divisions. Mixed teams are allowed, and encouraged.
We made some nice results: Otto became 1st in the open division, Thomas 3rd aaand Merci won the ladies division. Otto’s team also won the bronze medal, and the team in which Merci was ended up winning the competition. Yey!
First of all, we are all very sorry for not having posted anything for such a long time, but well you know - busy student life is busy (#deep).
How about we do a very brief catch-up? Don't worry, it's gonna be short!
1. The Board has changed (#allfemaleboard), and they came up with some pretty cool stuff (stay tuned!).
2. We got some new medals (all sortsa colours!).
3. We got some new grades (all sortsa levels!).
4. Some of our members were preparing (are preparing) for the 17th World Kendo Championships in Incheon, Korea next week + and some of our members were providing significant help in the preparations.
5. We went to the Opening Carnival of the University of Helsinki.
We promise to blog about all of these points and also to write some other articles!
9.-10.12.2017 @ Jyväskylä
We did good! Again!
The annual Finnish Champs were held this year at Jyväskylä and our five-member team packed itself into a car (yes, in one car) and drove to fight for glory and merit once more!
Some excitement was experienced even before the competitions began as one of our team member was registered for the Individual Competition only hours before the competition started!
On the spot, the weekend consisted of well fought matches of high level kendo + some refereeing in sweaty gear between the matches. (Important kendo accessory: wool socks!)
The Result of the Weekend:
1 gold for Merci (Women's Individual Competition)
1 silver for Otto (Men's Individual Competition)
2 bronzes for Saara and Jenni (Women's Individual Competition)
SILVER for the the whole awesome team of HY-KENDO!!
+ A little weird factoid: we all have long hair, ERGO:
(And some silver as well.)
PS: This year the team gold went to our arch enemy Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi. Well done, guys! (And see you next year!)
Welcome to start your way of the sword with us!
Our beginner's course starts on Tuesday September 19th along with our morning practice.
You can also join us afterwards!
What & Where: Tuesdays 8.00-9.00 and Fridays 7.00-8.00 @Unisport Töölö (Ilmarinkatu 1)
Price: 60e including membership and training fee + basic insurance (no need to pay beforehand)
What do I need: nothing really (gym clothes, water bottle and open mind suffice)
Questions? Ask me: jenni(dot)nissi(at)gmail(dot)com
I still remember the time I began my way of the sword. It was right after my freshman year and I was still quite oblivious to everything that studying at the university really meant. The same went with kendo and the beginner's course I took part in.
At the time our club had two asageikos per week. So, waking up at an ungodly hour and carrying my kendo stuff to the dojo was something I took for granted.
And it actually worked very well! I had to spend all my resources on staying awake so there was less time for complaining (though I can image myself trying to complain anyways). At the time I thought it was just weird and peculiar to start your day doing sports. Only later did I learn the full concept of asageiko.
When our club gave up on morning practices it was an end of an era for the club but also for me. Thank god, I said out loud but later on I really started to miss them. And I don't think I'm the only one!
Now we're back at square one, as once more we're going to have asageiko. Only time will tell whether the hours establish themselves like the ones we used to have, but if it's up to me, I do my best to contribute. I'm sure I'm not the only one excited to see how things work out!
If you're thinking that kendo is the sports for you but hesitate the early hours of practice let me assure you:
IT'S ONE OF THE BEST WAYS OF DOING KENDO!
Make sure to make it:
Tue 8.00-9.00 and Fri 7.00-8.00
Applies 1.9. onwards
See you at asageiko!
<3 Jenni, club president
You thought year 2016 has been bad?
No, it hasn’t!
Our club’s been doing great!
Finnish championships were held this weekend, Sat 26. – Sun 27.11.2016, at Kuopio and our club and members scored big time!
On Saturday Saara Pöyhönen won ladies' individuals and Otto Seppänen won men’s individuals. Merci Czimbalmos had bronze in ladies and Heikka Valja and Tuomas Lehto almost got to semifinals (Tuomas lost to Otto). Jenni Nissi got Fighting Spirit in ladies.
On Sunday our club team won gold in team championships. The final match against Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi team was loaded with action and suspense, last-minute surprises and diamond-hard hits.
Most of the matches are coming up on Youtube, stay tuned!
Otto wrote a nice and helpful article slash overly long column about passing his godan exam and I felt like I wanted to write a response of some sort.
Otto’s article came out about a week before I was going to attend my own grading event at Helsinki Autumn Seminar. So all the helpful advice came a bit too late for me. But maybe it’s safe to state that sandan isn’t quite exactly godan, so I didn’t feel so necessary to dwell in kendo and the spirit of budo so deeply –not yet at sandan level at least.
A year before being ”ripe” for sandan I couldn’t care less about grading, though partially due to other things in my life. So maybe, about a month or two before the event it hit me that I could start going to practices more often and try to do my very best, not just the usual.
A week before the grading event I had injured my right thigh, and my left knee was playing tricks on me once again. (In the grading ji-geiko I also fell to the floor and hurt my bum which was ironically hilarious.)
I also had huge issues with kata as I started practicing kodachi kata way too late - just a month or two before the grading. I usually like to be thorough and master the things I set my mind to accomplish. But due to different things in my life I couldn’t make it to all the kata practices at Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi I had promised myself I would attend. (Once I overslept. Yes, this can happen.)
So a day before the grading event I was nervous and not at all confident about my future performance – a new feeling I hadn’t experienced while doing my nidan. In the national team group we did shiai quite a lot and I was afraid that the “ippon over the form” which is peculiar to shiai would worsen my performance.
The day of the gradings the best thing ever happened. We did a variation of kubun-keiko in the national team group and it really took all the juice out of me. I probably was one of the slowest, and the last kubun-keiko went quite silently for me. But I liked it and it was exactly what I needed to relax my muscles. After the practice I almost felt happy. “When you don’t set your goals too high you may pass them,” I though and stayed grateful for not quitting in the middle of practice.
The grading event itself went well for me. I knew my “opponents” beforehand and was ready to face them. I thought I had some good men strikes and was quite confident I would be approved for kata which was the part that scared me the most.
During kata I was very nervous. I had silently wished that I could be shidachi as I was afraid of a total meltdown and that I would forget all the kamae. But these wishes didn’t come true. Nevertheless, it went well in the end. My kata probably wasn't excellent but it was enough and I’m so totally fine with that. I’m not a perfectionist.
But why I wanted to write about my experiences in the first place is that the biggest help I got for my preparations for sandan was the help of my peers. With peers I mean people higher and lower in dan-level than me.
As my biggest issue was insecurity it felt good to do ji-geiko with people of my own level and higher. I was very grateful to have concrete feedback from those ji-geiko. Otto’s points are very important but honestly speaking the best support I got didn’t come from the senseis this time. Even though on Saturday the senseis were very helpful and gave me very good and couraging advice I felt like I already had built up my confidence to be ready for grading. Senseis advice boosted the feelings I already had.
I think I’ve been quite blessed to have found such a wonderful sport in which I also have some very good friends. I’d like to thank Jukka in particular who was so helpful as to do kata with me on his own spare time. Also, Otto himself, as always, was very helpful among many others from my own club and Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi. Thank you all so much!
A week before the grading event one sensei at Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi gave me an advice I wish I could have followed more thoroughly. He adviced me to do ji-geiko with people that make me happy and confident in kendo.
For the next three years I’m going to do just that. And with that, to hell with yondan!
A bit over a year ago I had an idea of reviving our blog with some posts about getting ready for my godan exam. I never wrote a word but I made the mistake of telling my friends about the idea. Heikka hasn't let me of the hook, so hopefully my post-exam post will offer some consolation.
In May I attended a seminar called "Kendo Master Course". A bit pompous name for a very helpful seminar focused only on exams, some mock exams and a lot of feedback. In this seminar Markus Frey introduced a nice of planning a timeline; what happens a year, a month, a week, a day and an hour before the exam. Also Mikko Salonen pointed out that it might be useful to make a schedule for the exam day just to make things clear and focus on the things that matter. In this blog post I present my timeline, show videos of my exam that Akseli so kindly recorded and give some general tips for in the end.
A YEAR BEFORE (more or less)
I did my yondan in the World Championships in Italy and thought that it would be a good idea to see the godan grading in the WKC in Tokyo. If you're unfamiliar with the WKC schedule the exams are usually on Monday morning after the sayonara party. I had a great time at the party. But still I'm 100% sure that the last thing I did before going to bed after the sayonara party, karaoke party, Atom Club and a desperate walk towards the Olympic Village was setting up an alarm at 9 am. Well, I woke up at 11 am and the whole thing was over. Mia passed so great for her, all I got was a sunny and hilarious day with other Finns and Kouros in a park in Daimon.
The next time I was going to witness the godan exam was in Brussels in February. Well, it happened that I had to leave for the airport before seeing any of this action so that went well. Again.
A MONTH BEFORE
So the earliest possible timing I could have gone for the exam was in May. Godan exams are rare in Finland, in the last five years there have been two chances to take the test. Long story short, I planned going to three different seminars in Europe but every time my plans failed miserably by overlapping with work or seminars in Finland. The only chance for godan in Finland was in the 30th Anniversary Seminar of the Finnish Kendo Association but that then overlapped with a unique family trip. So I missed yet again a chance for the exam.
The good thing about that anniversary seminar was that later I saw videos of the exam. I was studying the videos for what was needed for passing the exam and which mistakes could lead to a failure. From the screen the results seemed confusing and eventually I gave up trying to learn anything from them. Believe me, I tried.
Eventually I cleared my schedule and decided I have to get to Belgrade in October. A big incentive was the fact that there were no godan exams coming in Finland by the end of the year.
A WEEK BEFORE
I found out that I had wrong results of the godan exam in the videos. I rewatched the videos but I was a bit tired of those after watching them already a couple of times. I missed seeing the grading live twice when I had the chance, the one time I saw anything from a grading probably did not do me any good.
A DAY BEFORE
Like I mentioned, I attended the Belgrade Kendo Trophy so the day before I was in a shiai. Concentrating on the shiai was difficult and doing it felt almost counterproductive for the exam. Anyway, the day went okay and two or three beers in the sayonara dinner would put me to sleep and I could get some rest for the big day.
THE EXAM DAY
The plan was to sleep almost until 8 am, have breakfast, do some shiai, have lunch, relax and take the exam.
Woke up at 5 am. Did I need to? No. Turns out I get stressed out. The last couple nights had been quite short so I felt sleep deprived. What a start for the day. I had not planned this for the schedule but I guess getting up earlier is better.
Getting ready for the team shiai was a burden. My teammates noted that I was a bit tense and Joonas told me to think happy thoughts. Before that I was grumpy, after that I was utterly infuriated. Like I mentioned, turns out I get stressed out.
I hadn't gotten lunch for me that day so turns out I'm a bad planner also. Like that would be a big surprise for you at this point…
I was so tired the whole day but my shiai performance was surprisingly good and eventually we picked up the bronze medals from the award ceremony. Couldn't have done that without Lisa who told me to be a great taisho and win matches. Can't imagine why she was saying stuff like that. We won her team mainly because of that.
A MINUTE BEFORE
Ambjörn: "You look pale even for a Finn."
Funny, after being so tense and tired I felt ready when doing the first bow. The first match wasn't perfect for me but I guess my performance was adequate. It felt relieving to get an ippon with the last second in the first match, even if the suriage was a bit lousy. That men got me some confidence for the second match and I would say that it went better for me than the first one. Not to brag, but during the second match there was a moment when I realized I was going for kata. I don't remember much from the matches because the adrenaline kicked in but I remember that feeling. In lack of a better word it was simply awesome. This gave me even more energy to show my best kendo until the last yame was shouted.
Of course I was nervous doing kata in the exam but I wasn't worried. Our techniques and timings weren't always perfect but there wasn't any bigger mistakes.
As you may have figured out the exam itself was the only thing that went according to my plans. Still I don't think that the "effort" was in vain: during that planning period I was actively preparing myself mentally for the exam. I believe this had a huge impact on my performance during those few minutes.
All funny business aside I thought I could share some steps that helped me pass the exam. You might notice some things that could have been in the timeline but a compact list might be more effective
1. Talk with your sensei. Talk a lot. I asked for feedback in every keiko during the last month.
2. Train so much that you are confident taking the exam. Its possible to fail even if you have all the confidence in the world but its really difficult to pass if you have none. If you doubt yourself, go back to step 1 and repeat steps 1 and 2 until ready.
3. "Think that every keiko is your exam." This small but powerful piece of advice was given in the Kendo Master Course. At least for me it was useful in the weeks before the exam.
4. Attend a mock exam. Demand for feedback after one if you don't get it for some reason. The more you can do this the better.
5. Make sure your equipment is okay. You don't want to be dealing with holes in your kote palms or replacing your men himo the minute before the exam. Make sure you wear your bogu correctly. You can make the first impression only once. If you're unsure about something go back to step 1.
These are some general steps that helped me during my preparation. Hopefully they are useful for others too. You can find a lot of tips for the exams in different books and blogs but I can't stress enough that the thing that helped me the most was step 1.
A relieved godan who has to do this again in five years which is practically forever.
PERUSKURSSI ALKAA SYYSKUUSSA 2016!
Kurssi alkaa 27.9.
Kurssin treeniajat ovat tiistaisin 18-19.30 ja torstaisin 17-18.15 Normaalilyseolla
Normaalilyseon osoite on Ratakatu 6.
Kurssimaksu on 60 euroa (jouduimme nostamaan hintaa liiton maksun noustessa), joka sisältää kaiken: harjoitusmaksun loppuvuodelle, seuran jäsenmaksun, Suomen kendoliiton jäsenmaksun ja vakuutuksen (ilmoitattehan kurssin alussa mikäli teillä on oma kendon kattava tapaturmavakuutus). Kurssilla harjoitellaan verkkareissa ja t-paidassa paljain jaloin. Kurssimaksu sisältää myös loppuvuoden harjoittelumaksun!
BASIC COURSE STARTS ON SEPTEMBER 29TH!
The training times are Tuesdays 18-19:30 and Thursdays 17-18:15
Training is The Normal Lyceum of Helsinki (Ratakatu 6)
Course fee is 60 euros (we had to raise the price because of the association fee rised) which covers everything: practice fee for the end of the spring season, club membership, Finnish kendo association membership and insurance (please tell us if you have your own insurance that covers kendo). All you need for the course is sweat pants and a t-shirt.
The course lasts about a month and after that training continues with the same schedule.
More info on the Basic Course page
After the first 2 months of swinging my shinai all around the dojo, I got a great opportunity to attend the Finnish Individuals´ Championship in Helsinki and see what Kendo actually looks like outside the practice zone. Being just a “fresh” kendoka and still having a long way ahead to masterskills of the Championship participants, I joined in just as a spectator. I was genuinely excited about it given I had never been to such an event before. Although I didn't know what exactly I should expect, I had a feeling it would be an awesome experience so I decided to ask my friend to come, too, and join me in cheering for my fellow club members.
So we got on the train and hit the road, heading to Leppaväära where the Championship was being held. One of the things I learned in the past 2 months is that kendokas are very determined and never give up easily when achieving their goals. I decided to stick with this when my inner GPS let me down once again while looking for the entrance. Yet I was determined to find my way to dojo, no matter what, until I finally found it and realized it was worth searching for.
We took seats behind the board of referees so I could both cheer for HY kendo club and observe sword fighting and footwork techniques of the participants. This way I could not only improve my own skills and techniques but also learn the rules of Kendo championships enthusiastically explained to me by my fellow club members. But what I appreciated the most was to see the Kendo team spirit: cheering for each other, being happy for one´s own success as well as for the success of other club members, supporting each each other when things don't work out as wished and, of course, ever-present strive for improvement typical for the martial arts.
Ever since I left that dojo, I feel inspired and strongly motivated to keep returning to the dojo, work hard and get better so one day, I can be one of the Championship participants, too. Can't wait to put my own bogu on!
I’ve been a huge fan of the kendo scene in Helsinki. Let me tell you why this city has been an excellent place to do kendo for students and people with some flexibility in their work schedule. The main reason is that there are three kendo clubs in Helsinki so there’s a pretty impressive amount of keiko you can join. The University Kendo Club and Helsinki Kendo Club Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi (KKTI) have their dojo in downtown so coming and going has been quite easy
If I’m not too busy with work, here’s how my normal kendo schedule goes: the week starts with Monday evening keiko with KKTI, the main reason to wake up on Tuesday is the University morning keiko, then again keiko with KKTI on Wednesday evening, again waking up for the morning keiko on Thursday and then joining the national team keiko in the evening, then starting the weekend with the Friday evening keiko with KKTI and ending the whole week in our late Sunday evening keiko at the University dojo. As you can see, there is a lot to choose from. Especially if you add Tapanila’s training hours to the mix or take a short trip to visit Lebudo in Espoo.
Like the title hints there are some changes coming. Our dojo, our home for years is going under renovation so we have to move before the end of this year. Similarly, the city of Helsinki is proceeding with the renovation of the Olympic Stadium and KKTI is forced to leave the dojo that has been their base for a decade.
Most likely we are going to continue training in downtown at some school while KKTI is moving to their new nice dojo in Myllypuro. We haven’t received an official schedule from Unisport and KKTI is still working their training hours for the spring season but I’m convinced that my personal finely tuned kendo week might be the third thing going “under renovation”. At least we already know that there won’t be any morning keiko in Helsinki, so the tradition of kendo breakfast is lost.
So, is all hope lost and is 2016 full with sadness? Heck no! First of all, we’ve been working with KKTI to ensure that there is not much overlapping in our schedules. Second, while I’m weeping for losing the morning training hours I can see that those are not really beginner friendly. In previous years we have had some new members joining our basic courses but still we are quite small though a very active club. The truth is that we are practicing a strange martial art with extreme training hours. Kendo might not be changing its nature next year but I’m guessing our new training hours may seem more attractive for beginners and therefore our club has a good chance to grow. This is why I see only good things coming for the University Kendo Club and for the whole kendo scene in Helsinki.
As of today, it has been only 3 months since I've held a shinai for the first time in my life and I've already participated in one of the biggest kendo camps in Pori, Finland. Still being very new to the bogu, I was feeling nervous about going. Later on, thanks to the encouragement from my fellow club members, I decided to delete that negative voice in my mind and go anyway as I refuse to let fear prevent me from making changes in my life.
During these four days, I got more comfortable with the added weight on my body, got a chance to relearn the basic strikes and even summoned up the courage to line up for the main sensei (more than once!). Whenever that negative voice tried to speak, I took a look around me at the other hundred kenshi and finally found a way to silence it for good. Most people won't spend their weekend waking up at ungodly hours to sweat and get blisters on purpose. This is the very reason why people who do kendo are special. Each person is aiming to better themselves and by doing so, they also help the others to achieve their goals. This selfless act of teaching provides a very nice environment for long-lasting friendships. The walls of the dojos witness more than the motivated kiai of the students; they also contain many heartwarming stories, inside jokes and sometimes tears...and in the end, it is all worth it.
Eikö mitään tekemistä kesällä? Onko töitä muttei sitten mitään muuta? Oletko aamuvirkku?
Kokeile kendoa, japanilaista miekkailua!
Helsingin Yliopiston Kendoseura Ry. järjestää intensiivi-peruskurssin elokuussa 4.8. alkaen. Kehonhallintaa ja keskittymistä kehittävä budo-laji sopii jokaiselle, joka haluaa liikunnaltaan muutakin kuin pelkkää hikeä.
Aika: 4.8. – 28.8. tiistaisin ja torstaisin klo 8:00-9:00
Paikka: Unisportin Hallintorakennuksen liikuntasali
Lisätietoja ja ilmoittautumiset: email@example.com
Yleistietoa kendosta: hy-kendo.com
Etkö ehdi elokuussa? Ei hätää. Seuraava kurssi alkaa jo syyskuussa!
Nothing to do in summer? Are you an early bird? Then try kendo, Japanese fencing! University of Helsinki Kendo Club organizes an intensive beginner’s course in August.
Time: 4.8. – 28.8. Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00- 9:00
Place: Unisport, Hallintorakennus
Wanna join? For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can't make it in August? No problemo. Next course starts already in September!
If you're curious about kendo and what happens if you take it up, then you've come to the right place. I graded to 1 dan last week so it's a good opportunity to reflect on my journey. (Budo people like journeys...)
We all have our own preferences when choosing a hobby. I myself look for activities with a club atmosphere where I can exercise and develop some skills. Kendo offered this and it always looked like fun, so in autumn 2011 I signed up for the (very reasonably priced!) beginners course at the University of Helsinki Kendo Club. To be honest, I had no idea back then how far I would take kendo, but I knew the only way to find out was to give it a bash.
Training was three times a week for a semester where we practiced the basics under high-level and patient sensei ("you must unlearn what you have learnt!"). I also felt very welcome in the club.
The end of the beginners course was marked by grading for the first "coloured" belt and at this point I already knew kendo was for me. Naturally I needed the outfit and armour, which of course I hadn't a clue about, but some senior members advised on what to buy and then on how to put it all on!
This is when the real fun began since it was possible to take a full part in training. Which is another reason kendo suits me, training is not about prearranged patterns with a passive partner, it's full contact where an active opponent really tries to score points.
I continued training three times a week (well most weeks!), enjoying a good workout while learning and perfecting kendo techniques. Other highlights during this time include weekend training camps with visiting Japanese sensei, competing in a couple of tournaments, grading up and of course a few parties on the way!
Which has led me here. Achieving 1 dan seemed very far away when I began but there's no trick to it, progress comes automatically through regular training. Which sounds very dull, I know, but believe me training is always enjoyable and even more so when techniques start to work.
So what next? There's still lots to learn and improve in my kendo so the journey continues. Next year I will try for 2 dan and hopefully take part in a few competitions. There's also talk of a club party soon :)
(photos: Heikka Valja)
The year 2015 brought some changes for HYkendo, the most wonderful of which is the start of Jenni Nissi’s presidency. Here is a small interview introducing Jenni to all of you!
Hey, Jenni! How has your presidency started?
– So good so far. I continue from where my predecessor left things standing.
Why did you become the president of Helsinki University kendo club?
– I was asked to. Twice.
What is your greatest challenge as a president? Any special goals for your term?
– I wish I could inspire more people to give kendo a try. I want to be remembered for all the awesome crazy parties I held.
Is there something that needs fixing or improving in the club?
– We are quite a small club and I’d like to make people more aware of our wonderful group. Everybody needs budo in their lives!
What is the best thing in acting in a student organization? What about the worst?
– I’ve got to know many amazing people and I’m extremely grateful for that. I started out in the board by writing our documents which I gather not so many wanted to do. As a student of literature my comprehension of numbers limits to dates of births and deaths and first publications. So I gladly let somebody else take care of the financial stuff.
Have you been involved in other student organizations?
– Actually no! Never. Maybe it’s the power of kendo and friends?
What is your your major and how do you feel kendo has affected your student life?
– I study comparative literature. Kendo brings very much needed diversity to my life. It’s important to exercise when you’d otherwise just sit still and read all day long.
How many study credits do you have? How many student allowance months left?
– As I stated earlier I’m not good with numbers.
Have you already spent your student loan on a new bogu set?
– This is a political question. I am against all manipulative government actions that are designed to destroy the (financial) wellbeing of Finnish, already poverty-stricken students!
How and when did you start practicing kendo? How often do you train?
– It was January 2011 when I took part in HYKendo’s beginner’s course. Nowadays I practice kendo 2 to 3 times a week. Before my nidan grading last year, I practiced more and tried to improve my kata.
Have you set any goals for your ”kendo career”? What motivates you to train?
– I don’t have any particular goals. I do kendo as long as it’s fun.
You have arrived to HYY’s chairperson seminar where salad and wine is served. Are you having the salad because you thought that there would be food available or because you don’t dare to take just the wine?
– Last time I was hungry. I never have scruples about free alcohol.
Helsinki University Kendo Club did it again. Club’s team 1 won the championship!
Merci also won bronze in the Dan Cup.
Club participated to this year’s Team Championship with two teams. The other one led this year by Heikka, the other one by Thomas. Team 2 fought hard in the pools and all the players got valuable shiai-experience.
Team 1 won all the games in the tournament. The final was against Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi’s team 1, with high level kendoka, all current or former members of the national team ring. The final started with Merci wrestling a draw with an opponent twice her size. On the second round Saara fought hard, but lost by 1 point to KKTI’s other jodan-player Toni. Our club’s most advanced player, Sakari, took a 2-point victory with two men-strikes. Heikka was switched to play the fourth position, hoping to get a jodan-player to the opposite side. The switch was a success and Heikka won 2-0 with a dramatic ippon-point after the time had stopped. Tuomas fought a draw, so the win was definite.
Here is some pictures, taken by Otto (who couldn’t participate because of an illness)
Peruskurssi alkaa tammikuun sunnuntaina. Ai minä sunnuntaina? No jokaisena! Harjoitukset klo 19:45-21:15 Hallintorakennuksella UniSportin tiloissa osoitteessa Fabianinkatu 20 C. Muut harjoitusajat tiistaisin ja torstaisin klo 8:00-9:00. Lisätietoja saat ottamalla yhteyttä seuraan tämän sivun kautta. Tervetuloa!
Beginners' course starts on Sunday in January. Which Sunday you may ask? Well, any one of them! Join us on Sundays 19:45-21:15 at Unisport in Fabianinkatu 20 C. Other training hours during the week are Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00-9:00. Contact the club via this page for more details. Welcome!
Peruskurssi alkaa syyskuun sunnuntaina. Ai minä sunnuntaina? No jokaisena! Harjoitukset klo 19:45-21:15 Hallintorakennuksella UniSportin tiloissa osoitteessa Fabianinkatu 20 C. Muut harjoitusajat tiistaisin ja torstaisin klo 8:00-9:00. Lisätietoja saat ottamalla yhteyttä seuraan tämän sivun kautta. Tervetuloa!
Beginners' course starts on Sunday in September. Which Sunday you may ask? Well, any one of them! Join us on Sundays 19:45-21:15 at Unisport in Fabianinkatu 20 C. Other training hours during the week are Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00-9:00. Contact the club via this page for more details. Welcome!
Our new site is now online.
You can find the most important information in English.
Please be in contact if you have any questions concerning the club or the site.