Fun way to teach beginners?

by Cederik
(Namur, Belgium)

I'm Cederik from a very young, (3 year old) dojo in Belgium. This year, it is the first time we have two classes a week, one with our Sensei, coming from another dojo about 30 miles away, and one where I am in charge of animating the group. (I'm the dojo's sempai although I only have 3 years of practice). Following Sensei's lesson templates so that we don't drift away isn't hard but I'm having a hard time finding fun ways for the people who started this year: the first-timers.

It seems that many people come to kendo to find something fun and they don't expect the beginning to be so difficult. I figured that if our dojo could focus on the quality of our welcome, and the consideration we have for beginners, the first-timers would come back. But I believe we could do more! I'd like to add some fun exercises into the mix to see this otherwise normal abandon rate diminish. I'm not going to lie to them, kendo is hard and can be frustrating but it has a lot to bring to people searching personal growth.

As a pedagogue, I am simply searching to buy them the few more training sessions it would take for them to realise what kendo has to offer. A few hours can make the crucial difference between abandon and commitment.

Any ideas?

Thank you
in advance.

Answer: Thank you for your question. And probably you wrote something in Japanese at the end but this system cannot display Japanese. I apologize for that.

I understand how hard it is to keep new members. Probably you should find out what they want, why they want to do kendō.

Most of people want to learn kendō because they want to learn…

- How to use a sword

- How to fight with a sword

- Mental aspects of kendō

- Cultural aspects of kendo

Or just because

- Kendō looks cool

- They are fans of Japanese anime

It is impossible to satisfy all of them at once but if you know what motivate them to come to the dōjō, you know how to approach them.

What you can do is

- Let them put bōgu on so they can feel "kendō"

- Talk about kendō etiquette along with Japanese culture

- Teach them bokutō kihon-ho

- Teach them kata

- Use foam swords to just play as they want and then teach them kendō (bokutō kihon-ho, kata and/or basics)

Also when you teach the basics, you can add some competition like who's the fastest suri-ashi person and so forth. Young practitioners like competitions.

If I think of something else, I will make sure to post here. And we can have more ideas too! We need to keep more beginners!


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Oct 21, 2011
Best idea
by: Tanno

By talking, I don't think they'll understand. If you give them some printings about what's anything relating to Kendo and the instructions of how to do what they're supposed to do, I’m sure they'll get used with it in no time.

If they read it, I'm sure they'll be bound to understand what's going on in the actual training. You can have them get used to the basics first, then try out the warm up program, and sometime later try the basic techniques. :)

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for sharing! Instructing in various ways is the best! Writings are very good approach too!

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