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Aug 09, 2011
trust in your instructor
by: Matt

There is a phenomenon in kendo that is often called the 'bogu kiss of death'. People very frequently quit kendo within a week of being put in bogu.

Kendo changes dramatically once you are put in bogu and it is like starting all over and learning again. Additionally the physical roughness is often a shock for people.

If you talk to anyone who has done kendo long enough, they will probably agree that they wish that had more time to practice and master basics before putting bogu on.

Don't be too discouraged, trust in your instructor to know when you are ready, kendo is a lifelong journey, and it is likely your teacher is considering your long term kendo growth and development by holding you back.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Well said, Matt!

Aug 08, 2011
Feelings of being held back
by: Chris G

I had to take the 1st kyu and 1st dan exams three times each before I passed them, so I can understand some of the feelings that you're having on a personal level.

The best thing for you to do in this situation is to find out exactly why you failed the exam. Saying that you were just under the bar doesn't really say all that much, so you should try to seek more specific information. Then you'll know what they are looking for and you can provide that to them the next time you are up for your exam.

I'll admit that I've also had similar feelings of being different and whether or not it was a factor in determining my successes and failures, especially when I've experienced preset expectations on how I should live my daily life, with me being a black male.

One thing you'll quickly realize is that just about everyone will prize your abilities over your gender or race. The people on the testing board are looking for reasons to pass you, as that's what they want. You should define yourself by what you can do, not by your gender, race and upbringing and things should go smoother.

And for your personal problems, I can agree that the stress can get to you and affect your Kendo. If there's some friction going on between your personal feelings and your performance, you can probably explain your problems to your sensei where he or she can give you some more guidance. You don't need to be specific if you're not comfortable.

I hope my post helped and I wish you luck in passing into the bogu class the next time you're able to!

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chris G! It is true that grading panels are looking for reason to pass the applicants, especially ky? level.

And gender and race should have nothing to do with who gets what rank.

I really admire and have respect to the attitudes of Chris G towards kend?. I see him as one of the leaders for the future kend?. And there is a girl, D.S., I am seeing as one of the leaders for the future kend?.

After all, what kendoists should see is what?s inside like in people based on what kend? teaches. When your mind is clouded, so is your kend?. If your life affects your kend?, your kend? can affect your life too.

Working on your kiai is probably the best way. You can release stress too :).

Chris G, thanks for your post, mate!

Aug 08, 2011
by: Z

I would shy away from thinking that your physical strength is a hindrance. If your sensei(s) decided that you're not ready for bogu, I doubt it was because of your physical strength.

I do believe there is a minimum requirement. For example, being able to hold a shinai in kamae without being completely exhausted, but other than that...

One of the 'stronger' kendoka that I know, at 21, has the upper-body strength of a 15 year-old, I hope that gives you an idea of what I'm talking about.

Think about other reasons as to why your sensei(s) said no. Questioning your own kiai is a good start.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Z!

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