Monday, July 20, 2015

12th Annual Michigan Family Tournament results

We had a great time at the annual Family tournament.  Thank you to everyone that came and participated.  Below are the results.

Non Bogu:

1. Ohno
2. Matsuura
3. Stolarski
3. Asaoka

Jr. Youth:

1. N. Choi
2. K. Choi
3. Shinohara
3. Arai

Sr. Youth:

1. Barrone
2. Sakuma
3. Ogita
3. M. Mori


1. Manome
2. Billich
3. Rieland
3. N. Motta


1. Sakuma
2. N. Motta
3. Choi
3. Y. Mori

Sho/Ni Dan:

1. Phillips
2. Barrone
3. Ware
3. Renardy

San dan and up:

1. Hill
2. Matsuuraa
3. Manome
3. Ohashi

Again, thank you to everyone for coming and see you next year.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Annual Michigan Family Tournament

The annual Family Tournament has been scheduled for Sunday July 19, 2015 at 11:00am in the Warner Gymnasium Gym of Eastern Michigan University.  An invite was sent to all dojos in Michigan.  Please return a list of participants no later than Monday July 13th.  Thank you and we are excited to host this event again. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Visit to Japan for the World Championships.

Over 10 days in June of this year I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Japan for the World Championships.  Ron Fox, Burm Kim, Joe Ponchart and I went to see the tournament and to practice every day.  We were very lucky to be invited and hosted by Hayashi Noburo sensei, Hachidan, at the Noma dojo, Mitsubishi dojo and his University kendo team practice.  Below are the links to the matches that we took part in against the college team.  There is also a link of myself practicing with Hayashi sensei.  More writing and videos and pics to come. 


Match one






Match 2:






Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rerouted posts and new site

Hello everyone,

I have just rerouted all of the posts since 2006 from the old blog to this new one.  What a time warp.  I suggest that you go through these, it is a great way to relive what Eastern Kendo has been through.  A great time.  This will be the new location for all things related to Eastern Kendo Club.  I look forward to writing more again.  See you soon. 

11th Annual Michigan Family Tournament

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's Family Tournament.  It was a great day.



1st: Mori
2nd: Fukuda
3rd: Onuma
3rd: Takei


1st: Kotani
2nd: Barrone
3rd: Sakuma
3rd: Ochi


1st: Takai
2nd: Sherrod
3rd: Mishina
3rd: Baker


1st: Barrone
2nd: Wesserling
3rd: Nishya
3rd: Sakuma

Sho/Ni dan:

1st: Sherrod
2nd: Takei
3rd: Holmgren
3rd: Miller

San dan and up:

1st: Hill
2nd: Matsuura
3rd: Chaffin
3rd: Burm
10th Annual Michigan Family Tournament
Below are the results for this year's tournament.  Thank you to eveyrone that came out and helped in making this a great 10th year event.  Special thanks to Matsuura sensei for his guidance and donation of the Women's cup and to Tagawa sensei for leading the family.  See you sonn at the dojo.


1st: Ogita
2nd: Matsuura
3rd: Kondek


1st: Sherrod
2nd: Sakuma
3rd: Wesserling
3rd: Kameyama Aoi


1st: Sherrod
2nd: Miller
3rd: Sakuma
3rd: Ledebuhr

Sho-Ni Dan:

1st: Chen
2nd: Renardy
3rd: Engling
3rd: Phillips

San dan and above:

1st: Hill
2nd: Matsuura
3rd: Kim
3rd: Thompson

Again, thank you to everyone that came and we cannot wait till next year. 
24th Midwest Championships
So we have just finished competing in the 24th annual Midwest Championships.  What a great time and a great finish for myself and Zakiah.  The only two who went.  Anyway, the week previously MSU hosted the founding senseis the Hayashi brothers  Hachidan kyoshi for a visit to the midwest.  This was one of the highlights of my kendo career.  Without these two senseis kendo would not have started at MSU and Ron would not have found it, then I would not have found it.  So I was looking forward to their vist.  For me it started on saturday as they visited Detroit Kendo Club.  They were amazing instructors and took the time to teach and fight harder then you could imagine for people in their 70s.  Next they visited the MSU club and those who went can share their stories.

After that they visited us at Eastern.  Now, running a dojo is one thing, when your kendo grandparents come to visit for the first time is an entirely different thing.  What a night.  From their comments on men to the jigeiko and then the daini dojo for discussion and fun, one of the best moments in my kendo life. 

Then it was on to the tournament in chicago.  After a 6 and a hlaf hour drive, normally 4, to chicago I got there in time for most of the practice they were hosting with the Hayashi brothers.  Another great practice and second dojo later it was time for the tournament on saturday. 

The taikai starts with sandan and above so we were up first.  I fought against Zhe from UofM and fought my way to a victory with a men.  Then I was up against an old friend of mine Okanda san from Chicago.  We have fought a good deal of times and I have always managed to get a point for victory.  This time I did get a men but it was not enough.  The shimpan were not as adept as usual for this level and missed a kaeshi men of his and a kote of mine.  But as it goes, that doesn't matter and when I dropped my guard he got a do.  Now I had to make it up and he got another do to end my matches in the divison.  It was a great fight.

Then shimpan all day.  At that point I saw some great matches from Zakiah who took home the gold in the Junior divison for teams and individuals.  Great job.

After lunch it was on to the teams.  Now, I was there alone so I was asked by Chicago to be a part of their team.  You have to understand that these are the people that I grew up in kendo with and always admired.  Being on their team was like your big brother asking you to go to the game with him or something. 

The team matches were awesome.  We fought against Detroit D first and I was able to get a men and then get my opponenet out of bounds twice.  Two points for me and we went on to win the rest of the matches.  Next up was Wisconsin A.  I was up against someone who was good but a strong pusher.  No big deal as I got his men and then threw his shinai out of his hands into the crowd.  After that we won the match and the court.  Third place guaranteed.  We were then up against Battle Creek.  Matsuura sensei and Travis Hill for a chance to be in the finals against Choyokan. 

First up it was Ronan vs. Matsuura.  Ronan did a great job of holding him off and then Matsuura got one point just before the whistle blew.  I was up next against Trusevich.  I knew he was going to try to hold and get a tie so I went hard.  So did he.  As the match went no one got ippon.  I went in for men and he ran his shinai into my chest.  This caused me to lose my breath and to have to ask for time.  I did and then got back up to fight.  After some more, not very clean kendo from either of us, the match ended in a tie.  Then Travis took out Condon and we were down by 3 points.  Shio was up next and she took care of her opponenet so we were down by 1 now.  It was Inoue vs Chaffin and I knew Chaffin would try to hold for the tie.  He did and that was the end of the match.  We took home third.  I later found out that my rib was factured from the missed tsuki but that's kendo.

After an extremely late night banquet the exam was the next day.  Zakiah passed his shodan exam and the ride home with a broken rib was lots of fun. 

Overall, it was like doing kendo when I started, fighting with my old friends, and visiting with the Hayashi senseis.  What a week of kendo.  I am now out for 2-3 weeks but cannot wait to get back on the floor.  Gambatte.
9th Annual Michigan Family Tournament
Thank you very much to everyone that participated this year. The results are below.
Non-Bogu: 1st: Wesserling 2nd: Baker 3rd: Kondek 3rd: Brynne

Youth: 1st: Phillips 2nd: Sakuma 3rd: Aki 3rd: Kameyama

Mudansha: 1st: Renardy 2nd: Chen 3rd: Phillips 3rd: Stevens

Women: 1st: Aki T. 2nd: Mishina 3rd: Fujisaki 3rd: Aki A.

Sho/Ni Dan: 1st: Minowa 2nd: Chen 3rd: Ha 3rd: Tagawa

San dan and up: 1st: Hill 2nd:Matsuura 3rd: Yoshida 3rd: Inoue
Congratulations to Travis Hill!
What an announcement. Travis Hill from Grand Rapids Kendo Club has just been named to the United States Team for the World Championships. This is by far the highest achievements to be had in US kendo. Competing and trying out amongst all of the kenshi in the US and then gaining a spot on the team is something to think about for all of us. It can happen with the proper training and guidance. Please congratulate him and Matsuura sensei for this remarkable accomplishment. Cheers!
8th Annual Michigan Family Tournament Results

Hello everyone,

Below please find the results to the Michigan Family Tournament. It was a great success and Eastern Kendo thanks everyone for coming.


1. Hasegawa
2. Phillips
3. Kohsuke
3. Sherrod


1. Fujisaki
2. Mishina
3. Kong
3. M. Sherrod


1. Han
2. Le
3. Ryal
3. Kern

Sho/ Ni dan:

1. Ha
2. Van Osch
3. Minowa
3. Fujisaki

San dan and up:

1. Hill
2. Matsuura
3. Kim
3. Chaffin

Congratulations to all of the competitors. See you at the dojo.
This post is way past due but in February of this year, Charlie Kondek passed his shinsa for the rank of Yon Dan!. The entire Eastern Kendo Club is honored to have him as a founding member and as a lead instructor and sensei. Congratulations Kondek sensei
Red/White Tournament 2011
So the year got off to a great start with our annual Red/White tournament. The first practice of the year saw a good deal of kenshi from around Michigan visiting and participating. Thansk to everyone for the hard practice and the good fights. The White team walked away victorious for the first time in a long time. Congratulations to everyone. A couple of points to remeber; be sure to create a goal for yourselves for the year. The club goal is that of tenouchi, or the actual cut. This si the focus for this year, cutting the aite not just hitting. Figure something out for yourselves as well. Also, dues are due to Charlie for the Midwest and All United States Kendo Federations. These are extremely minimal ammounts if you consider what other martial arts cost. The Detroit taikai is Feburary 13th witht he test on Feb. 12. Deadline for teststing if Jan 31st to me so please be sure I know if you are planning on testing or not. The videos of the Red White matches will be up shortly ont he you tube site. Haven't been there yet? Go to See you on the floor.
Congratulations to Travis Hill!
I received this this morning from Matsuura Sensei in Battle Creek and would like to share it with everyone. A great example of Midwest Kendo. Please be sure to congratulate Travis.

"Good morning,

I would like to report to the president of the MWKF as well as the rest of the member Dojos that Travis Hill of the Battle Creek Kendo Kai has made the first cut for a spot on Team USA which will compete at the World Championships in 2012.

Travis won his preliminary round robin to advance to the winners' round. In this round, he had to finish first to qualify automatically, but was defeated by Jason Brown. This placed him in the final consolation round. Only the first place finisher would become a Team USA prospect. Travis pulled this off and was amongst the top 7 finishers and did not have to depend on being a coaches' pick. 8 others were made coaches' picks for a total of 15 prospects.

These 15 prospects will now travel to monthly camps in California (flight paid for). The final roster for Team USA shall be announced in May.

Please wish Travis luck. He can be found on Facebook or his E-mail is:

travismichaelhill at gmail dot com

I hope that he will receive support from the federation and many of you will help him in his training. Thank you.
Tagawa sensei's Kanreki

So, last saturday everyone celebrated Tagawa sensei's Kanreki, or 60th birthday. What a great time to do kendo in Michigan. There were people there from Florida, Toronto, Boston and all around Michigan. It was a great chance to practice and party with everyone. I was very happy to see so many Eastern people there as well. I hope you all had a great time. There should be some video coming in soon. It will go up on our youtube site as soon as I get it. See you all at practice.
MWKF 2010 Taikai Results
Since the Midwest website is slow to update, here are the results from the taikai.

1. Umakoshi
2. Liang
3. Ponchart
3. Seo

1. Saathoff
2. Mishina
3. Shih
3. Tanzer

1. Antai
2. Walther
3. Ahn

Sho/Ni dan:
1. Goto
2. Kim
3. Thompson
3. Tamura

San dan and up:
1. Yoshida
2. Hill
3. Hori
3. Fukuma

1. Battle Creek A
2. Eastern A
3. University of Wisconsin A
3. Detroit A
MWKF 2010 Recap

Well, what can I say, except what a phenomenal weekend. The Eastern Kendo Club Hosted the event and it went without a hiccup at all! I can not even believe that I am saying that. Talk about a smoothly ran event, wow. We should all pat ourselves on the back and realize how much work we all did to make this happen. Jack took home second place in the youth division and Fukuma sensei took home third in the san dan and up division. On top of that Eastern A took home Second Place in the teams. This has never happened before and was a great showing. Personally, this is the best I have ever done as a team and it is because the tournament went so well that it was easy to compete withuot stess. Thank you to everyone who was a part of it. So, I will try to recount all of the matches, if you want to add please feel free. Anyone can comment on any part of the day. That is what this is for.

The team consisted of, in order: Engling, Ponchart (younger), Abbey, Kondek, Fukuma

The first team we faced was MSU B. We started with a hikiwake and then followed up with one point from Ponchart for the win. It was then that I faced Dawson from MSU. Many of you already know that she started at Eastern and it sucks to fight your student. I took two points for the win as well. Then Charlie was up and hikiwake again. We were up 2-0 and Fukuma sensei was on. He got one point and we were through to the next round. The next round, as the brackets told me, would probably be our hardest team. We faced Choyokan from Chicago. Now, this was momentus for me because, along with MSU, Choyokan and Sakamoto sensei were the first dojo's that I practiced with. So, we were up against some tough competition. I was facing Okada san, who I have fought at last year's midwest tournament. We went down one match and then Ponchart got two points so we were 1-1 but one point up. The match with Okada was great and I managed to get one point on him for the win. Then Kondek was up and he managed to hikiwake with Hori sensei (rokudan). That's right Charlie came through with the match of the day. Hikiwake with a rokudan. Fukuma sensei was up next and we were through to the court finals against UW/Minnehaha. What a match. So we are now up against a team that I think that we can beat. The first match we go down and then Ponchart comes through again to tie it up. Next, I face Stronarch and scored my favorite waza men, morote kote right off the bat. We needed a point so now we are up. Then I managed to oshiotoshi his shinai out of his hands out of tsubazareai and hit men. I thought that this would score since the timing was part of my waza but it was fine. I managed then to socre another men morote kote and we were up 2-1 then. Kondek gets up and gets another point for us and then Fukuma sensei scores as well. We were through to the finals. Man what a feeling. Can't describe it. Individually I have been there, but as a team meant so much. Damn. Anyway, first up Engling goes down to Hill by two points. So it is up to Ponchart again to make it up. Now, I see that we probably could make one loss up but it would be tough. Jack takes Chaffin down to the wire and then loses one point at the end. We are down 2-0 and I am up against Matsuura sensei. Now, I think right away, do not let him score do. The match is tight but I know he is keeping me inside because that is his strategy against me so I finally get him outside and as he is coming in I hit morote men and score. This is the first ippon I have got on him. It felt great. So now I just have to hold. Well, I start thinking and what do you know, hiki gyaku do. Ippon. We end up at hikiwake and it is now up to Charlie and Fukuma to save the day. Charlie is up against Mack and he gets two points right away, hell yes. So we are 2-1 and they are up on points. Fukuma needs two for us to tie. He is against Yoshida sensei and manages to lose one point. We take home the silver but what a match and what a day. Thanks to everyone that was a part of it. First timers, add your stories as comments. I want to hear about all of your matches. See you on the floor.
22nd Midwest Championship
Hello Everyone, Below is the first information on this year's taikai. More will follow.

Hello and Greetings to everyone,

This is Eric Abbey from the Eastern Kendo Club at Eastern Michigan University. On behalf of the club and the Midwest Kendo Federation we are happy to announce the dates for this year's annual tournament. The full information packet will be sent shortly and any updates can be found at the below website. All emails were gathered from the Midwest Kendo Dojo Contact list so if this is not the right person to have this information please respond with the correct address. We look forward to seeing everyone this year and hope that summer camp goes extremely well. Have a great day.

Midwest Board Meeting- October 8, 2010

Midwest Tournament - October 9, 2010

Midwest Testing - October 10, 2010

The location for the Board Meeting is to be determined.

The Tournament and Test will take place on the campus of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI

More information will follow.


Eric Abbey

Eastern Kendo Club
Demo: Colors in Harmony
Video from our demo at the 2010 Colors in Harmony get-together! Which was a great time featuring a lot of demos by a lot of cultural groups, including Indian song and dance, Mongolian dance, Korean drumming, African dancing.

This turned out pretty well. If we were short on explanation, I have to shoulder that - we had very little time (supposed to be 5 minutes) so I thought we make the main points - rei, kendo is sword fighting - and let the waza speak for themselves. Also, did something a bit different with how everyone attacked and went back to the end of the line.

We take demoing very seriously, of course, but we're still getting better at it. Thanks so much to the participants: Mike, Jonathan, Stijn and Brian. You guys look great!
Jodan at the Family tournament

So this year's tournament was great and I felt that my jodan was ok. I was up against Takashima sensei first and have never fought him before. The match was tight and the balance was also pretty well towards the center. At one point he tried to strike men and missed and I stepped in and he fell to the ground. This then caused him to be a bit rattled. After that I thought that I could easily hit men, but he stood firm and finally, I saw an opening, but he threw tsuki and I hit men. Well, my men landed and the tsuki missed. I was through to the next roudn. The next round was against Murakami sensei, who is a dear frined of mine and someone that I would loev to land just one point on. The match was tight and I did not fall for how I had lost in the past by him freezing me. He finally landed kote on me but it was a great fight. Afterward, we had a great conversation about jodan and the godo keiko was great. Till next year. See you on the floor.
Family Tournament

This year's tournament was great. We had 60 people competing. From the first tournament that is double. This was the seventh year and it was a great success. I think I may be finally getting the hang of this. Anyway, eastern did great and I was proud of everyone who participated. The theme of the day was to focus on shimpan and boy did we focus on it. Tagawa sensei was on it and helped many people. The matches were great and the banquet was alsio a great succes. Eastern is hosting the Midwest Championships this year in October and we look forward to another great event. Picture and video to follow here and on the youtube site. Keep watching. See you in the dojo.
Michigan Family Taikai Results
Non Bogu

Han 1st
Sakuma D. 2nd


Umakoshi 1st
Inoe 2nd
Niwa 3rd
Yoshida K. 3rd


Mishina 1st
Wolfe 2nd
Tabia 3rd
Inoe 3rd


Xie 1st
Dunham 2nd
Yoshida K. 3rd
DenBesten 3rd


Chaffin 1st
Thompson 2nd
Holmgren 3rd
VanOsch 3rd

Sandan and Up

Yoshida 1st
Murakami 2nd
Matsuura 3rd
Morita 3rd
Demo at EMU JSA Dinner
Guys, someone at the JSA demo captured video. Looks pretty good! The stage was quite small and very shaky but you can't tell.

Part three (part one was history, rei, kata) is here - jigeiko with me and Mishina. Watch it so you can see how bad ass Mishina-san is, especially with the doh that made everybody clap!

Wer'e going to be doing a lot more demos and I think we will tighten the demo - rei, history, kata, waza, jigeiko. Great job by everyone and thanks for stepping up: Mike and Jonathan Helmstadter, Brian Betts, Stijn Van Osch and Mikuni Mishina!
RIP: Dr. Gordon Warner

Gordon Warner, co-author of This is Kendo, died March 5, 2010 at the age of 97.

An excellent write up of him here at Kenshi 24/7.
Jodan in Detroit

So, another Detroit tournament has passed and with it more improvement and need to improve. To begin, the seminar with Funatsu sensei and Migita sensei was great. More stress on the basics with some new drills from the police department. Then it was on to the practice. I found myself in front of Migita sensei, and knowing that both senseis are jodan players I decided to take jodan after some chudan. Migita sensei just smiled that smile and then we fought. It was a lot of fun and he let me cut men on him once, my taiatari sent him to the ground. I was a bit concerned here but he got up smiling and said good cut. Now, that was a huge lift to my jodan. The next day it was on to the tournament. at the smeinar I found out I was up first against my old friend Condon. Ai jodan again. We decided to fight for a shot and a beer and it was on. The smack talk began. After shimpanning all morning we were the second match after lunch. I decided that I was going to focus on pushing in, because I had a feeling I could overtake his maai. Well, it worked and I felt that I had the upper hand from the beginning. Jon and I have known each other since we started doing kendo and are great friends so this match was a lot of fun. We were pretty even until I saw his kote open with a big target on it. I stepped in and took it for the ippon. Now the time was about half over and I knew that I could not just delay. He hit men but was too close to me and at that point I knew I had the maai and proceeded to take the match with the one ippon. Talisker and guiness for me. It was a great match. Next up was S. Asa sensei from Canada. Another person that I have seen and known for a long time. His kendo is great and I was determined to not be intimidated by him. The match began and I felt that I had a bit more control of the match then him so I hit men, the pop was there but no flags. At that point he smiled, that smile, and started to take it up a bit. Well he hit my kote as I was hitting men, the pop was there but no flags. As we collided and were in tusbzereai we both smiled at each other knowing that that was ippon. The next hit he took my kote again and no flags. At this point I knew that the match would be won by men or nothing. So we played with the maai a bit I forced him back with my seme and took his men. The flags went up but for him and they called a kote. Both of us were pretty confused at this, because I had not felt a cut and he too thought that it was not in. The time ran out and I lost to a kote call that did not hit. I was upset but determined not to show it. After the match Condon and many opther people were as shocked as I was with the call. It is importnat for shimpan at the yondan and up level to know what ippon is. So it goes. Ont o the teams, where we faced Battle Creek. I was up against Yoshida sensei, my friend and mentor. We fought a good clean match and he got my kote. The day had already been lost. Overall it was a great tournament and one that I was very happy with. Basics will always prevail and it is on to more practice. A small anecdote that is a great start. My wife and two boys came up to visit in the morning. as they were there Funatsu sensei waled by and said hi to my boys. Owen was great and stood up tall and said hello. After that they had a box of Girl scout cookies that we were going to give away. At lunch, I gave the cookines to Funatsu sensei from my boys. He returend the favor, which I told him was not neccessary, by giving Owen his first tenugui and Brendan a small kendo toy. I love kendo. See you on the floor.
Detroit Taikai and Shinsa

Thank you to everyone from Detroit. Tagawa sensei and crew through another great tournament, test and seminar. The senseis from Japan, Funatsu sensei and Migita Sensei were amazing to watch. I would like to congratulate everyone that passed their shinsa exam this year!! Way to go Jack Ponchart and Stein who each passed Ni-Dan. Also, to everyone from U of M that passed, there are way too many of you. Congrats!! It was awesome to see this year. As for the tournament. Joe Ponchart from U of M kicked the hell out of the san dan division and took third place. Congrats on the nito. Thank you to everyone that helped out and came to the tournament. See you at practice soon. The Family Tournament is slated for May 16 so get ready.
New videos are up from last night's practice!
Guys, got some new videos up at EMU's YouTube channel. These are from last night's Red-White practice. Got the final match and several of the godo keiko. See if you can spot yourself! I think in future instead of wandering the floor filming everybody I should just find a few matches to film and concentrate on those. Well, hope you like 'em. Here's Engling vs. Abbey and the rest are here.

Happy Holidays all!
From Eastern Kendo to whomever reads this thing. Cheers! Our last practice for the year is this tuesday. Have a great New Year's eve and we will see you in 2010. Cheers!
Jodan at the 2009 Midwest Taikai

This year was by far the most interesting year for me as a kenshi. With my foot injured, I had to rethink how to do Jodan with less fumikomi and more suri ashi. This tournament was the first attempt at fighting like this. Well, the practice paid off and the success was great. I was able to control my aite much more effectively to the point that I beat people that have destroyed me before. I strongly believe that going back to the basics again helped. Comments at the baquent later were more then I could handle as this was the first time that my jodan was complemented and actually critized by Tagawa sensei in a good light. Damn, I must have done something right. Well, let me try to tell you all what happened...

Sandan and up went first in the whole tournament so we could shimpan. That is no big deal and I was aware of it from the beginning, the big deal was that, when I looked at the brackets, I was the first match. Always fun to be the first match of the day after sleeping on a couch. Anyway, I was first up against Okada from Chicago Kendo Dojo. His seme was very good but his defensive kamai left his kote open and I was able to score men morote kote twice. I was able to get through that round and had a small rest while the rest of the round completed. The next match saw me facing my favorite sensei in Detroit Tani sensei. Now when Tani sensei came over here I was always impressed by the cleanliness and strength of his kendo. If you have read previous posts you can see that he has beaten me in the past as well. This time, with the new stance I beat him and it was one of the highlights of my kendo career. The match was very intense, but I was able to control some of the flow of the match and managed to make him miss a couple of times. I was throwing all of my ki and seme at him knowing that I had to beat him this time. As the match progressed I was not getting tired, which is odd for me, and realized that I could control a bit more. I pushed forard and he threw tsuki. Because I had control of the maai I was able to rock back out of the distance from the tsuki and land a powerful and resonating men. The match then ran out of time and I was onto the court semis. After some time, I was up against Inoue sensei from Chicago Kendo Dojo, most known for his purple do and his shiai kendo. It was the first time I have fought him since we were kids coming up in kendo. I knew it would be a tough match and it was. I decided to play a bit more with the seme and maai that had served me well against Tani sensei. The only issue this time was that he landed three hiki do that were not scored. I felt that I had two kote and a men but to no avail. He was off balance at a point and I hit men and "threw" him into the bleachers for hansoku against him. This was a continuation of my waza so no fault was given to me. After 4 minutes we were both even with nothing socred and went to encho. Now I knew he was tired and thought that I had the match won. I went for a kote morote men and I let the shinai go at the kote, as I tried to pull it back he tapped my men. This was called ippon. I, as well as Inoue sensei, were shocked that they called that and none of the dos earlier. I lost but was extremley happy about the matches.

It was then onto the teams.

We were a mixed bunch from Eastern, Detroit and Cleveland but happy to fight. We drew Cleveland first and managed to get through. The most interesting thing was my match against a nito kenshi as taisho. Agian, jodan verse nito. The only difference this time was that it ended in hikiwake because he knew what he was doing and we had the match won already so I was pushing but also pushing for the hikiwake. This was the first nito kenshi that actullay had an idea of seme that I had fought since nationals. The next team match was against Detroit A who won the whole thing. I was up against my old friend Morita sensei, the elder, and was excited to face him again. If you do not know Morita sensei he is 6' 2" and large like I am so the match was very strong. We had lost by then so the match was just a grudge math between him and I. It was a great match and I managed to get men on him. At one point we both hit men and collided. Well, when you have two people of that size colliding, well think about it, he wound up on the floor and I wound up standing against the other side of the court. What a match.

Overall my jodan felt completely different this time and it all has to do with going back to the basics. At the banquet Tagawa sensei pulled me aside and suggested that I work on more katate attacks. A great suggestion as long as I can force people to stay in my maai and not theirs. Tani sensei, Yoshida sensei, Murakami sensei and others all made comment that my jodan was strong which left me utterly speechless and the night ended on a high. Thanks to eveyrone in Chicago, particularly Andy for giving me a couch. See you next year at our place.
Club Update, September 2009
Hello, everybody! This is from a club email, cross posted here at the EMU blog and I'll reference it verbally at practice. If I do not have the correct email for you, let me know.

So next week, September 15, marks the official beginning of Fall Semester classes at EMU. Abbey-sensei and I hope you've had a great summer. Some of you we've seen and practiced with, some of you we haven't seen so much for the usual reasons - work, family, school, the crap economy that has you either hunting for a job or working in remote locatons. Some of you are aware that I've been traveling for work a lot more and that Abbey-sensei has been injured, so it's been a crazy summer!

I want to let you know that we will be doing a lot more to attract students to the club, keep them, and get them involved. This has always been our intention at EMU Kendo but something we need to recommit ourselves to as best as possible. Having stated that I have a few policy items that I will address below. The short of it is, please help us meet our goal of making EMU Kendo the great place it's been and refresh it's goal to grow its membership. I've always been proud of the fact that EMU is very commuter friendly, a dojo that you can always come back to even if work or school or other things take you away for a while. I just want to up our game in terms of making it more involved in the campus that has been so good to us. Plus, I think I got this parenting thing down, so I have a bit more energy for this project. heh!

Next item: the annual Midwest Kendo Tournament will be in Chicago on November 13-15. If you're interested in competing, testing or both, please let Abbey-sensei and I know as soon as you can.

Next item: this weekend, 8/12 is U of M's first official practice of the new semester. I'll be there! Who's with me? Don't forget we can also be visiting the kendo clubs at Detroit, MSU, Battle Creek etc.

Right, some policy notes.

-Going forward, EMU kenshi must be responsible for running the practice. If Abbey or Kondek are not there, the ranking EMU kenshi must start and stop the practice and must be the principle instructor for beginners. Training in instructing beginners will be provided although a certain freedom (and responsibility) in instruction will also be assumed. If Abbey or Kondek are not there and the ranking EMU person is busy instructing beginners, leadership of the mawari-geiko, the rotation practice, should be extended to visiting sensei (usually Ponchart and Ken though this will not always be the case; could be visitors from Detroit or whomever). One reason for this is that U of M kenshi - and others, but especially U of M - are part of our family and such frequent visitors that we don't even think of them as guests - but they are guests, and as such should not have to address running practice. That goes for everybody. Moving forward, Kondek will be much more long-view in planning practices and will make use of a monthly calendar to help recognize when EMU kenshi will be in attendance.

-Any new beginner must first watch a practice before deciding whether to join EMU kendo. This has been our policy in the past and we've bent on this one quite a bit but I think we should stick to it. You come, you watch your first practice, you decide if it's what you really want. Then, if you come back - and we hope you do - you get on the floor with shinai.

-No beginner can start without Abbey or Kondek in attendance. Abbey or Kondek should be the one to give them their first lesson and start their expectations. Other EMU kenshi should be prepared to do this as well but we'll visit it over time. We will also put together a one pager of what to expect at EMU kendo, as well as some terms and resources online.

Guys, that's it for now. Hope this finds you well and we'll see you soon!
14th World Kendo Championships Results
By Charlie

Guys, the results of the 14th WKC have been known for a few days but details on them are still emerging. You can see a snapshot of them here. Thanks Neil Gendzwil-sensei! All these matches are important but I'll just paste the men's team results here because this was such a story at the last WKC.

1st Place: JAPAN (JPN 1 - Ryoichi Uchimura; JPN 2 - Daiki Kiwada; JPN 3 - Kenji Shodai; JPN 4 - Sussumu Takanabe; JPN 5 - Shoji Teramoto; JPN 8 - Tadaomi Hojo; JPN 9 - Shinsuke Matsuwaki)
2nd Place: USA
(USA 1 - Christopher Yang; USA 2 - Daniel Yang; USA 3 - Marvin Kawabata; USA 4 - Brandon Harada; USA 5 - Sandy Maruyama; USA 6 - Kevin Huh; USA 7 - Simon Yoo)
3rd Place: BRAZIL
(BRA 1 - Jogi Sato; BRA 2 - Julio Kenji Toida; BRA 3 - Ernesto Eisaku Onaka; BRA 4 - Vitor Zen Moreno Tachibana; BRA 5 - Coichi Urano; BRA 6 - Heiji Kariya; BRA 7 - Alberto Massumi Takayama)
3rd Place: Korea
(KOR 1 - Sung-Hong Jang; KOR 2 - Kang-Ho Lee; KOR 4 - Du-Hwan Baek; KOR 5 - Wan-Soo Kim; KOR 7 - Yong-Chul Kim; KOR 9 - Chul-Kyu Choi; KOR 10 - Jin-Yong Jo)

So it was Japan and Korea for one side of the final and USA vs. Brazil for the other. According to the news coming in at Kendo World, this is how it went down:

Japan beats Korea 2-1-2
USA beats Brazil 4-1-0
Japan beats USA 4-1.

KW's Michael Komoto said the nail biter match of the day was Japan and Korea for the tie-breaker. Videos starting to appear at Kendo World's YouTube channel here.
2009, The Summer of Aggression
By Charlie

Well, we've all been busy, and I'm sorry I haven't been updating the blog as frequently as I should. Gonna be a nice hot summer of good training, we hope. And we have a theme.

Coach Abbey said a couple weeks ago that he wants us all pissed off in our training, asserting aggression, going after ippon with everything we've got, with a feeling of "I'm gonna put this damn shinai through your skull." When sensei lays down a theme like that, you've got to pick it up and run with it, I feel, so I've been calling this The Summer of Aggression. By that I mean this summer, our training focus is going to be on fighting aggressively, on taking ippon.

I think the drills that will best help us train toward that goal - and I articulated this on a couple of occasions - are:

-uchikomigeiko and kakarigeiko

And of course spirited jigeiko. Fundamentals, basically, but with this particular emphasis and goal in mind. I'm sure Abbey-sensei's words will be interpreted by everyone individually, but I wanted to articulate this here so you could keep in mind during the summer.

As always, don't forget to hydrate properly! See you on the floor.
Family Tournament

Thank you to everyone that came to the annual Family Tournament. It was our sith one and iit was a great turn out and event. Here is just one pic from the banquet. See anyone you know? More are available online at

Thanks to Ken and Matt for taking the pics. A full recap will follow shortly. Results are below.
Family Tournment Results

1. Chen
2. Tasahiro
3. Niwa
3. Ito


1. Morita
2. Umakoshi
3. Ponchart
3. Watanabe


1. Mishina
2. Hadano
3. Kong
3. Naomi


1. Trusevich
2. Hoang
3. Motta
3. Kozai

Sho dan/ Ni dan

1. Holmgren
2. Hill
3. Tamura
3. Chaffin

Sandan and up

1. Murakami
2. Ryota
3. Abbey
3. Tani
Cleveland Tournament
Hello everyone. It will be a bit before I can get back to practice but I am working hard at home warming up for the Cleveland tournament. The dates are April 17, 18 and 19 and all of the forms and info are available at the link below. Please let us know if you are planning on attending.
Jodan At Detroit 2009
What a great year for the Detroit tournament. After being out of practice (out of shape) because of Brendan coming into the world I was very concerned about my Jodan showing up this year. The individual matches saw me matched up against Matsushita sensei (7 dan) and, if I made it Tani sensei from Detroit. If you have never fought against Tani sensei, I can just say one word, damn. The man has good kendo. Anyway, My first match I intended to dominate from the start because what else can you do from Jodan. It worked and I controlled the match from the beginning. Matsushita sensei's attack was even controlled a little by my seme but I could not find a way to score. Until, I pulled my, now go to waza, men morote kote and scored ippon. It was a great feeling and Matsushita sensei just smiled and shook his hand. I continued on to win the match and was immediately, with no break, up against Tani sensei. Now the no break thing is usually no big deal for me, but I have been out of practice (shape) and it showed. I held my own against Tani sensei and I thought I had at least one men on him, but it was not called. I was told later that my hasugi was a bit off on the strike, again out of practice. He got a hiki men on me when I let my guard down and the match was over. I hate losing out to hiki waza but what can you say. As for the team matches, my stamina was drained. The first match had me up against my old student Amy Dawson. Sugawara sensei was training her how to fight up to the moment before the match and she was a great opponent. Then we were up against Battle Creek. I was up against someone new that I should have wiped the floor with but my mental stamina was down and he got my kote at a lapse. It was not one of my finer fights but the overall day was great. Another Detroit tournament down, this is now there 11th and I have been to every one of them. It is great to see how many people turn out and to really test my jodan at the 4 dan and above level. I am always honored to be at that level and fight with so may great kenshi. Ippon is always the goal and now it is on from there. More practice. Cheers!
Detroit Kendo Tournament 2009
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone at Detroit Kendo for hosting another great event. Eastern was again very successful at the tournament. Our individual matches all saw points being gained and wins, including Ichiki san who made it to the final in the nidan division and lost out to our good friend Travis Hill from Battle Creek. The team matches were agian awesome and we should have made it to the court final but lost out to Battle Creek. The first match had us up against a mixed up team consisting of Sugawara sensei and our former member Amy Dawson. The matches were very good and we squeaked through to face Battle Creek. It was another great year that saw Narumoto sensei take the championship again. Thanks to everyone that came out and to our newest member Arif for volunteering. See you all at practice soon. Cheers!
1/27 Practice and the Next Couple Weeks to Taikai
Great practice last night, you guys, with visitors from Detroit Kendo Dojo. These visitors will visit again and as often as they can so stay on your toes and be ready for them!

You'll be getting an email from me, too, with these same updates. I want to let you know that for the next couple of weeks there will be opportunities to practice specifically for shiai. We will run some shiai matches at Eastern and our friends at U of M will be running shiai practice on Saturday mornings. Please also find opportunities in jigeiko or by asking the people you train with to help you prepare for your shinsa, too.

Also, we need volunteers to help at the Detroit taikai on 2/15! If you are planning to attend the tournament but not compete, please consider being a volunteer! It's an excellent way to get close to the action, helping run the courts and get the fighters ready for their matches, etc. You may even get fed with the extra bento boxes that sometimes are available! Let me know ASAP if you can commit to being a volunteer so I can get a head count. You can carpool with me, too.

Talk to you soon!
The Annual Detroit Tournament, or, "Valentine's Day Massacre"
By Charlie

Guys, sorry it's been so long since we (I) updated the blog. I wanted to let you know that despite the awful weather and roads, practice is still happening every Tuesday from 7-9:00 at Warner Hall. Last week's Above and Beyond Award goes to Mike Hemstadter, whose 20 minute commute after practice was.... two hours. Ya gotta love 23 sometimes. Thank you, Mike.

All right, the big news is that the annual Detroit Tournament is February 14. Testing is that weekend also. If you are interested in participating in the tournament and testing, and I hope you are, you need to:

1) See me and get your dues in by end of January. We're getting the proper dues forms still but I will have all info.

2) Download or obtain from me or Eric or representative of Detroit kendo the tournament entry form. Fill it out and send it in with entry money ASAP.

3) If you want to test, you must see Eric,-sensei, get his permission and have him sign your form. You have to mail this in with entry money ASAP also.

The forms for items 2 and 3 are downloadable here.

Hope to see you all soon, hope you are well in all your endeavors. Practice is still happening at our sister club at U of M. We'll also be visiting Detroit on Thursdays and Saturdays so stay in touch with me or Eric about those opportunities.

Oh, yeah, and I haven't even mentioned that BRENDAN ERIC ABBEY came into the world last week. At this rate, EMU Kendo may have enough for TWO kids teams!!
It's been a while
Hello everyone, sorry for the delay and all. It is the end of the year and it gets hectic as all get out. Anyway, we have been preparing for the tournament in Detroit and I wanted to just reflect on some comments that have been made. We really need to become more aggressive in our kendo at Eastern. It is extremely important to develop this through becoming confident in "your own" waza whatever that may be. We have been working on a couple of different waza that are importnat as we continue to focus on the taikai. While doing so the concept of sutemi and tanden are extremely important. If we do not conduct these waza with sutemi they become null and void. Please make sure as you continue your practice to focus on the development of these two concepts. If you need help with them please do not hesitate to ask. I will hopefully be healed soon and back at practice. Have a great hoiliday season and remember how important kendo is to getting through the pressure and stress of the holidays. Cheers!
Jack is in Japan!!!
This is just to let everyone know that our youngest kenshi is currently on a trip with members of the AUSKF to Japan. What a great experience and one that we are very jealous of. Can't wait to fight him when he gets back. Here is a pic from the airport in Japan. If you would like more pics visit samuraijoe at flickr.

(Jack is second from the right in the first row)

Birthday Keiko
By Charlie

Guys, thank you again so much for a great practice. This week, on the day of practice, I turned 36. We celebrated with a pretty hard practice that culminated in a string of jigeiko rounds for me and then repaired to second dojo for some biiru. I had a great time, you guys. Thank you. It's always great to practice with you but it's also great to hang out and chat over some food, which we - and I - get to do far too seldom.

I got pictures at my Flickr account here, and will be putting the jigeiko vids on YouTube here (I only have one up so far; I'm going to try to get a friend to edit them all together for me). I'll also get these vids to each of you individually.

Hope you're all having a good summer!
2008 Nationals
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! The Midwest Kendo Team has taken third place at this year's All United States Kendo Championship. Under Matsuura sensei's coaching the team rose to the highest level that it has ever reached. The midwest also shown through by taking second place in the men's individual competition. Narumoto sensei from Minnehaha kendo lost to Hatakeyama sensei in the finals. What an exciting weekend for everyone in the midwest. Congratulations to all that competed and keep working, only three year's to train for the next one. Full results are at the below link. - a kendo equipment retailer to check out!
I know most of us have had good experiences buying kendo equipment from e-Bogu, Eguchi, Mugendo, Kendoshop and others, but I want to introduce you to a kendo supplier that's not new but new to me,

We are becoming an affiliate marketer with, which means if you click the link above and buy something, we'll get a percentage of the sale above a certain amount. We'll add this link to the blog and to our main page as well.

Truthfully, I would encourage you to click over and check out the company's inventory anyway, since I feel it is important to support all of these suppliers, which are a valuable part of the national and international kendo community as well as businesses. Here, for example, is a standard beginner's shinai I'd like to try.

We'll be getting some samples of OnlineKendo's stuff and we'll let you know our experiences with them. For now, we just say, Welcome,!
2008 Family Tournament
Thank you to all of the competitors and volunteers that made this year's tournament the most successful yet. It was a great turnout with a great practice afterward as well. The banquet was not bad either. Eastern did extremely well by placing in Sandan and up and Shodan/Nidan. Congratulations to Fukuma sesnei for placing 2nd in the Sandan and up division, Jack Ponchart for placing third in the Shodan/Nidan divison, and myself, I was lucky enough to place third in the Sandan and up divison. Hopefully everyone had a great time and learned something about their kendo. The Michigan family gets better and better every year. See you soon. Results are below.

Non Bogu:

1st- Mangus
2nd- Tamai
3rd- Terasawa
3rd- S. Suzuki


1st- Motta
2nd- Trusevich
3rd- Noonan
3rd- Hsu


1st- Mishina
2nd- Arai
3rd- Dawson
3rd- Hadano


1st- Hill
2nd- Chaffin
3rd- Holmgren
3rd- Ponchart

Sandan and up:

1st- Murakami
2nd- Fukuma
3rd- Abbey
3rd- Yoshida
Jodan at the Family Tournament
This year's Family Tournament was a great time and it was the first time that I have had good success with jodan. I wound up taking third place at this year's tournament by beating two very strong Detroit senseis. I was one match away from making it to the finals and lost to the eventual champion Murakami sensei. My first match was against Morita sensei and if you know him he is a firece competitor. The match was very tight and I could not seem to get an opening until I found one and scored hiki men. This has become a very good waza for me because of the thought that jodan competitiors are not very good at hiki waza. Anyway, he then got a kote on me and the match was all tied up. We went into encho and were both pretty tired but my jodan overcame his seme and I scored a katate men for the win. I was then up, immedieately against Takahashi sensei, the older one. I have always enjoyed practicing with him but had never fought with him before. This was another tight match and I wound up scoring a katate men and holding him off for the win. Then I had a break until the bottom round finished. The winner of that bracket was Murakami sensei, so it was him and I in the court final. I was prepared and ready for the match. The first point he got was a basic kote on me which was very frustrating. Then, for what has now become my focal point, he forze me with a kote, kote and scored the second point. I had lost, fairly quickly, because I let him into my maai. I have got to work on maintianing pressure on smaller kenshi in order to dominate them. The other thing that I have gained from this shiai is the fact that my waza has improved, but my seme now needs more work. That's the beauty of kendo, when you think you have something down and go onto the next thing, you usually realize that you didn't really have the previous down. Always learning, that's kendo for ya. I am very happy to have placed in this tournament and have not done so since I started kendo. Hopefully this is the start of some more medals. Cheers!
Club Updates for Week of 4/28/08
Hey, guys. Missed you at The Tower last night after practice but we'll get the chance to have some brews again soon. Just a quick couple of updates for the club.

-There is no practice on 4/29 due to spring semester break at EMU. I am going to try to go to Detroit that Thursday for their practice. If anyone can join me, let me know!

-UM's first practice of the Spring/Summer semester is Saturday morning, 5/3. I am going. Who will join me - maybe coffee and juice at Dom Bakery and then we'll all roll over to UM together? Lemme know!

As I have often said, UM is our sister club and we should all try to practice there as often as possible, especially at milestone practices - first and last practice of the semester or new year, someone from the club leaving to return to Japan (keep watching this space) etc.
Family Tournament
Come one, come all to the annual Michigan Family Tournament. Find out who is the best in the mitten. Sunday May 18th, 2008 at Eastern. See you all there.
National Team Tryouts
This past weekend I went down to Chicago to tryout for the Midwest team that attends the National kendo tournament this summer. I was a part of the team in the goodwill division at the last Nationals and was excited to try out again. I did not make it this time but will try harder at th enext tryouts. The set up was a round robin with four groupings. My group contained 7 people so we had 6 matches each. It was a great opportunity to test out my level of kendo against many different opponenets. Each match was scored with two points max and the points were totalled along with the win loss record to get a place in the group. My group contained, Murakami sensei (Detroit), Hanaki sensei (Detroit), Lin sensei(not sure), Tagawa the younger (Detroit), Wilson(Minnehana), Nori (Chicago) and me. My first two matches I went into way too tense and was beaten pretty easily by going in too early. Lin sensei got two points on me and then Murakami sensei scored two as well. I was not very happy with the two fights but kept going and made sure to do better. The next match was against Nori and I got two points with men to end the match. I was very happy at this point and felt that I could at least get the points back. Then I was up against Hanaki sensei. He was very strong and would not let me in but I managed to attack, and thought I had at least one kote. He managed to get ippon and then I let my guard down again and he scored. Now I was down to two fights left and pretty low on the scoring. I needed to get four points to even have a shot at feeling good. I was up against Tagawa and got two men and felt really good. Then I was up against Wilson, who was taller than me, and got two men on him as well. It was great to finish off the round that way and I felt very confident in my kendo at that point. After the matches, which Sugawara sensei was watching the entire time, I got some very good advice on the fact that I am sitting back too much and need to be more forceful in my seme. Driving home I felt very good to have finnished tied for third in points with Hanaki sensei with 6 points. I had three wins and three losses at the tryouts. I did not make the team but the tryout felt great and I was very happy with my kendo at points. I also feel that I need to continue to practice with people who are more advanced then myself in order to progress. This becomes harder and harder all of the time. Overall, the tryout was great and it was great to see my friends in Chicago and from elsewhere in the midwest and do kendo with everyone. See you all on the floor. Cheers!
Spring Break? Not for us!
Hey, guys. Just a quick note to say we should be unaffected by EMU's spring break, with runs 2/27 to 3/1. HOWEVER, if you show up at the gym and the facilities are closed for some unforeseen reason, we'll meet over at the Tower Inn for some biiru-geiko. Sound good? Get my cell number and Abbey-sensei's cell number if you don't have it.

Also, I wanted to let you know that there's a great online resource for kendo info called The Cyber Dojo. It's run by Hiro Imafuji, a godan from Japan-Australia who also practiced in Latin America and is now in Indiana. A lot of good info for beginners and advanced people alike - if you're not a subscriber, think about becoming one, because there are benefits to being a subscriber, some great content. I know I frequently give the noobs "homework" and this site can help with that. I get a lot out of it.
Detroit 2008
Photo taken by Wakabyashi san

The detroit tournament was another great success. The seminar before hand was also wonderful. Teramoto sensei was absolutely wonderful to watch. As the All-Japan Champion it was great to see a taller person move so quickly. I have to figure out how to move that quickly with such grace. Also, congratulations go to John Ellison on passing shodan and our old member Amy Dawson for passing shodan as well. Uetake sensei from UofM must be congratulated as well for passing his Yondan exam, as well as Joe Ponchart on passing Sandan. Onto the matches. I was feeling pretty confident with my jodan again this year and faced an old rival of mine from Ken Zen in NYC Takahashi sensei in the individuals, which were yondan and up. The match was very evenly matched and I felt that I could have won but he got me to commit too quickly and scored with a men kaeshi men for the first ippon. After that point I was determined to get one back and rushed again into another men kaeshi men attack. This match was very frustrating for me but showed me that I need to continue working on paitence on the attack. The comments afterward from Takahasi sensei were that my jodan had improved since the last time we had fought, so that was a good thing. Onto the teams. Eastern had one of the strongest teams we have ever had this year and we did extremely well. The order was Kondek, Ichiki, Myself, Ellison, Fukuma sensei. The first match had Charlie score two ippon and Ichiki scoring two one as well. Then it was me up against another nito kenshi. What is it with nito these days. Anyway, I took the match to him and made him attempt to strike targets that I wanted him to hit. He tried to hit do and I took his shinai out of his hand for hansoku. Then he tried it again and, again, his shinai went to the ground. Hansoku number two and a point for us. Now, I really do not like getting points ths way but if you can not hold onto your shinai you deserve it. We were through to the next match. The next match had us up against Ken Zen with Takahashi sensei as Taisho. Charlie got one point and lost one point for Hiki wake and then Ichiki lost two points and we were down a point. I was up against someone I had not fought before and got him to raise his hands and struck kote for ippon number one. Then, as he dropped his attention I got a hiki men for ippon number two. We were now up by one point. Ellison was next and went up against a sandan who got a kote, that really should not have counted, but he got the point back with a kote nuki men. Very big point. We were still up by one and it was Fukuma sensei against Takahashi sensei. Great match where Fukuma sensei scored two points. We were through to one match before the court final against JCCC. We started off this match down three points and it was me against an old friend of Ichiki's. I went down a point because my men fell short and stuck into my aite's keikogi and I stopped, never stop, I was pissed at myself and quickly tried to gain the point back only to lose another one to kote nuki men, my nemisis. All and all we did very well and it was a great success for Eastern Kendo. We have to figure out a way to get past that level in the teams. It has now been four tournaments of reaching that level. Thanks to everyone in Detroit for a great tournament and we'll see you all soon. Cheers!
Superbowl Sunday at Battle Creek

I went to Battle Creek for practice on Sunday. It was well worth it, always is, and I encourage all of you to do so as well - I'd definitely like to go again as often as possible (which, admittedly, isn't very often for me). Props to John Ellison: he was going to come up from South Bend but blew out a tire and had to change that bad boy while wearing hakama, keikogi and winter coat. Then he limped home while his adopted Pats lost the Superbowl. Argh! Sorry, John.

We had a great practice lead by Matsuura-sensei and also Yoshida-sensei and Suganara-sensei. We covered basics, some advanced waza (including debana waza and tsuki-men) and did a lot of intense jigeiko - everybody had keiko with everybody. I got to fight the afore-mentioned sensei and the hard hitting drew of Stephen Chaffin, Bob Mack and Travis Hill.

Here in Michigan all the kendo clubs have an open invite to each other to attend practice and if you can take advantage of that to practice with this great, diverse body of people, you should. Definitely write or call ahead to let them know you're coming and have at it. Very valuable.

Detroit, Detroit, Detroit!
Only a few weeks away. It's time to find that inner fight and prepare for the shiai and shinsa. Detroit is one of the largest tournaments in our area and everyone needs to be prepared to face extremely tough competition. Whatever you need to do to find that inner fight do it. Sutemi Sutemi and more sutemi are the key. Get ippon at whatever cost. Eastern will be represented well this year and we will all have a great time. The test and seminar starts at 4:30 on saturday Feb 16th and the tournament is sunday Feb 17th. Hope to see everyone there. Gambatte!
Couple of Quick Updates, Practice and Detroit Tournament
Guys, just a couple of quick updates. I also sent this out as an email. Let me know if you're noy getting emails from me: charliekondek at yahoo dot com

Practice Location

If practice is not in the usual room, we will be next door in the IM building, either in the utility gym (second floor) or one of the racquetball courts. Sorry about that, it's due to a temporary scheduling snafu and will not go on past February. Until then, we may have to move our room. More on that to come.

Detroit Tournament

By now, you should have the forms you need to enter the tournament. We also have to update our yearly dues, which will probably be around $60, to participate. The yearly fdues orms have not yet been made available, but as soon as they are, I will email everyone and we will organize getting our dues paid at practice. We have to give one big check to the federation for dues, so please see Abbey-sensei or myself with any questions.

Also, we still need volunteers for the Detroit tournament (non competitors). This is an excellent, fun way for new people to get to know kendo. You don't have to know a thing about running a court, just show up, get assigned to a court, and do what they tell you. It's fun, and they'll feed you. Please let me know if you're interesting in volunteering; it can be very helpful and inspiring to a beginner and earn you big points with the teachers!
Kamata sensei visits
Last night we had a great practice with the full contingent of Eastern kendo there to practice with Kamata sensei from Etobikoke. Kamata sensei is a Canadian team member and we worked very hard on hiiting from the tanden and going through with sutemi and good zanshin. It is always a great practice when he visits. Thanks must go out to him for travelling all the way from outside Toronto, yes for work first, but then kendo. See you all at the next practice. Be sure to note that we may be in the utility gym in the rec/im building. See you there.
Kickoff party

The start of the year party was great and I think that everyone who attended woudl agree. The Wii and chess boards were flying as was the sake. Thanks to everyone for making the drive. It is always great to see people out of bogu. Cheers!

First Practice of the New Year and Red/White Tournament
This year's first practice was a great success with a good re/white tournament as well. For the first time, in a while, white finally took the win. We then proceeded to hold a last man standing competition where you stayed until you lost. This was extremely enjoyable and Joe and his nito held the court beating Ichiki san until he came up against Brian. Now, Brian was in bogu for the first time and we all know how that is and he managed to get a kote on Joe and was up for the king of the court against me where he proceeded to score a big men to win the day. Congratulations to Brain who is our newest champion. As for the rest of practice, we had a good turnout with two more new members starting up. Happy New Year to everyone and hopefully we I will see you all at the party this weekend. If not, next week Kamata sensei from Etobikoke is planning on attending practice with Ichiki san so please plan on coming if possible. A large Detroit practice is also planned for Saturday January 19th at Birmingham Seaholm if you are interested in attending please do so as well. See you all soon. Pictures and Video from the tournament to come shortly, stay tuned. Cheers!

Pic 1- The starting group for the year
Pic 2- Abbey sensei and Ponchart san face off
Pic 3- Brian the first timer and new king fights old champion Ichiki san
In Conclusion...

A handful of us got together last night for a "secret practice." It was one of the world's worst-kept secrets because we told everybody last week that we'd meet at the gym and, if it was open, practice. If it was closed, go to the bar. Either way, go to the bar.

Well, guess what? It was open! So, I, Wakabayashi-san, Ellison-san and Brian-san practiced hard for an hour and then went to EMU's pretty much official second dojo, The Tower Inn for a couple of pops. (Joe Ponchart strained his back shoveling snow and couldn't make it - get better, Joe!) Great practice, great conversation afterwards. One topic: will modern China ever experience a political revolution and how would it compare to revolutions in France, Russia and the United States? Other topics: marriage and children, suriashi and balance, and bogu (Brian got three versions of "the bogu hump talk," all at once!).

It also marked one of the last times we'll be seeing Ellison for a while, as the chap is getting married and moving to South Bend. Don't cross him off your list yet, though, as he will be appearing at various get-togethers at EMU, Battle Creek, Detroit and who-knows-where. I don't know if you know this, but John and I have an ongoing rivalry. It seems when one of us beats the other for an evening's or morning's ippon shobu, that lasts about a week before the other wins the honor back. Over time we have come to jokingly imagine that we are trading back and forth a private trophy that we call "the dirty cup" or "the spitoon of destiny" or "the ash tray of victory" and whatnot. Well, I have to confess that Ellison and I had it out for the last time in 2007 and he currently holds the Grail of Debauchery. Guard it well, John! It's a great honor - but a heavy responsibility. And meanwhile I'll be training like Mr. T in Rocky III to get it back.

Anywho, have a great holiday everybody. Stay active, practicing if you can or hitting the track, the weights, callisthenics, etc. Let's come back soaring in Ought-Eight.
Beginning of the year
Happy holidays everyone and I hope that you have a great New Year's Eve. The first practice of the new year will be our annual red/white tournament and practice. Please be sure that you are prepared to practice hard this first practice. The first practice of the year will be on Tuesday January 8th at our normal practice facility. Also, the kick off party will take place on Saturday January 12th at my house. Details will be available at the first practice or through the email list. If you are not on the list please email me at ericabbey at hotmail dot com to be included on the list. Until then, Happy Holidays and have a Great New Year! Cheers!!
Student Tournament
There has been a new tournament announced that is being sponsored by the Midwest Kendo Association and being held in Chicago on March 15th. This tournament is called the Student tournament and is open only to those in middle school, high school and undergraduate institutions. We have a few of those and I would like to make sure that everyone who fits into this category cal attend. March 15, 2008 in Chicago. See you all tonight.
End of the year events
Hello everyone. Our last practice of the year will be this upcoming Tuesday. The University will close down until the third week of January. Please come on out to this final practice. Also, UofMs final practice of the year will take this Saturday along with Detroit kendo's practice. Hopefully we can have some people attend. In the new year we have the Ontario University Taikai in January and the Detroit Open taikai on February 15th and 16th. Please be prepared to attend the Detroit taikai especially and if you can volunteer to help please let me know. Also, be on the lookout for our start of the year party so that we can begin the year right. All Eastern and UofM participants are welcomed. Over the break please be sure to focus on movement from the Hara(center) and focusing on attacking with conviction (sutemi). The beginning of the year starts very quickly and this will be the focus at the start. Have a great holiday and remember that Kendo will always be here. Cheers!