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Kendo-Guide.Com Newsletter, Issue #029 - Good preparation, good products and customer satisfaction
December 09, 2009

Kendo for LIFE

Kendo-Guide.Com Newsletter, Issue #029 - Good preparation, good products and customer satisfaction in kendo

Thank you for reading the Kendo-Guide.Com Newsletter, Issue #029.

Had snow on the ground on Monday! Last year, I went back to New Zealand for the 20th anniversary of Sei Tou Ken Yu Kai Kendo Club two days after I slid off highway and destroyed the car (no one got hurt). Amazing how quickly time goes by.

In this issue, I will share what I have been talking to my students with you. It is about the process in kendo. I tried to use a new analogy to make it more understandable in this issue. Hope you enjoy the article. Tell me what you think.

Hope you enjoy this issue!


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Now enjoy the updates!


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What we have in this issue is shown below. Enjoy this Newsletter!

Table of Content

- Kendo Q & A -

- Kendo Work Shop -

- Good preparation, good products and customer satisfaction in kendo - - Comments or Questions -

There are links to change your email address for the newsletter or unsubscribe at the bottom of every newsletter. Thanks!

- Kendo Q & A -

- How effective is kendo?

- What happens if the shinai falls down in a match?

- Kendo Work Shop -

- Tension in the Upper Body

- Good preparation, good products and customer satisfaction in kendo -

It looks like kendo fascinates many because it is Japanese sword fighting.

A reason to start kendo does not really matter as long as it does not get in the way of your kendo learning process. But sometimes it slows you down, especially if you think kendo is a game to hit others or targets.

Maybe you do not think kendo is a game to hit others. But if you want to learn different kinds of techniques and thinking how you can strike a target faster, I have a suggestion for you.

Preparation in kendo is to make an opening

Techniques are important. But as long as you learned the basics well, you do not really have to learn them from your teachers. You can actually watch others and learn. Of course, you may have to learn the names of the techniques, but by watching others, you can learn a lot.

As a matter of fact, my teachers never taught us any techniques at my dōjō in Japan. We learned most of the techniques by watching and through jigeiko with senseis. We never practiced techniques at my dōjō in Japan.

But one thing we were always told to do is to make an opening. We were still around 10 years old but we were told not to strike when the shinai of our opponent is in our way, i.e. our opponent takes the centre of our body.

I vividly remember that we got mukae-zuki from senseis if we tried to strike while their shinai was still in the centre of our body.

Mukae-zuki is a tsuki technique. If you strike a men when your opponent's shinai is still in the centre of your body, you tend to get a tsuki because your opponent's shinai is pointing at your throat.

In other words, your opponent does not have to do anything to tsuki you, but you are going forwards right at the opponent's shinai.

As you know, tsuki is prohibited in primary school kendo. Of course, the mukae-zuki we got as children were not really hard ones. Most of the times, it was a tap. So we could learn that we should've done something before we struck.

Do something before you strike

By getting mukae-zuki, we learned that we had to do something before we executed strikes. We had to do something to get our opponent's shinai away from the centre of our body.

In other words, it does not matter how fast you can strike or how many techniques you learn, if your opponent's shinai is in your way, you cannot strike them.

Of course, striking fast and many techniques are also important. But I want you to know that the process before striking is one of the best parts of kendo.

The process before striking is strongly related to seme and san sappo.

You may want to think it as preparation before strike. You have to prepare yourself, situation and your opponent for your strike.

It sounds funny to say "prepare your opponent for your strike". What I mean here is that your opponent must feel some kind of pressure from you i.e. he/she cannot counterattack you (ki wo korosu in san sappo).

Strikes are our products

To create a product, we have to prepare well. This is an easy concept to understand, right? I am not sure if you are in sales, marketing or service. But let me put kendo in this way.

To produce the best product or service, we must prepare as well as we can. Once our products are released, it is too late to fix. So the process to make products is very important.

We really want to impress our customers with the best products/services at the first time they receive our products/services. Correct? Otherwise, they will not come back to us.

Every effort we make is for customer satisfaction. To make our customers happy. Your customers must be touched by your products/services.

Now in kendo, our products are our strikes. In order to create our best strikes, we must prepare well; we must train hard (No.1 condition to product the best products), must be in good condition, must apply good seme and san sappo. Then, finally execute our strikes.

Opponent satisfaction

What does it mean "customer satisfaction" in kendo? How do we satisfy our opponents?

Your opponents really thank you for striking them. They will not get mad because you strike them. They will appreciate you for striking them because your strikes touched them. They learned something from you.

The true ippon (valid cut) makes us very humble and appreciate our opponents. Isn't it true that good senseis make you feel like going back to them and training with them over and over? Don't you feel satisfied after training with them?

That is "customer satisfaction" in kendo.

It is also true that our level has to be high to understand the true ippon. Most of beginners think that as long as they hit targets, it does not matter how they hit. That is why most of beginners cannot tell good strikes from bad ones.

In these days, we do not care about the process of how products are made.  As long as the products are reasonably priced and usable, we feel OK about the products. Correct?

So if you are an instructor, please explain how preparation is important in kendo. If you are a beginner or below 1-dan (1st black belt level), start watching the process before striking.

Kendo should not be that way. We should not be satisfied because we hit a target. We should not be happy because we know more techniques than others.  We should not be result-oriented.

Good preparation, good strikes and opponent satisfaction.  If you don't have a New Year resolution for the next year, I recommend that.

- Comments or Questions -

If you have a kendo related question, please go to Kendo Q&A and use a special form for that.

If you want to contact me personally, please use a contact form.

If you do not send me email through the form, my email system does not pass through your emails. That means I never get your email.

Please do not use the email address I used to use at The Cyber Dojo either. It will not be used for communication purpose. This is the main website. Click here to contact us...

Thank you for reading the newsletter. See you in the next issue!

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