sparring without formal training

by Jessie
(Canoga Park, CA)

I live in Canoga Park which is in the San Fernando Valley. There is only one kendo dojo and that's in Van Nuys.

What makes things worse is that I can't afford formal training in a dojo so I learn though sparring with my friend who uses this staff martial arts style (I can't remember what it was called).

I'm really interested in kendo, but I wish I could afford a bogu set and a few shinais. I don't even know how to clean a shinai. I'm on my second shinai and I've been practicing kendo for maybe a year already.

I wouldn't really call my sparring kendo practice since I don't really know any techniques or anything I just learn from experience. I just want some helpful tips that would help me spar better against my friend (staff vs. 1h sword)

Oh and just so it's clear I'm not those types of people who just want to learn it since it's cool or I want to be a samurai. I really adore kendo and I wish I could make this hobby into a job someday...gah I'm sad now...

Answer: Thank you for your post. I am really sorry to hear that you cannot learn kendō form the dōjō. But if you really want to learn kendō, you should stop sparring with a different kind of martial arts. Why? Because currently you do not really know the kendō basics. You will keep practicing bad habits if you keep sparring like that.

I understand that money is the issue but if you really love kendō, you should concern to learn it from a good kendō instructor.

Start thinking how you can afford kendō. The issue won't go anywhere unless you come up with some kind of a money-earning plan. Save and earn money for your kendō!

Here is another idea. Offer the dōjō near you that you can do something for free. In other words, you can work for the dōjō.

Good luck!

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