End of an Era?

I’ve been a huge fan of the kendo scene in Helsinki. Let me tell you why this city has been an excellent place to do kendo for students and people with some flexibility in their work schedule. The main reason is that there are three kendo clubs in Helsinki so there’s a pretty impressive amount of keiko you can join. The University Kendo Club and Helsinki Kendo Club Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi (KKTI) have their dojo in downtown so coming and going has been quite easy

If I’m not too busy with work, here’s how my normal kendo schedule goes: the week starts with Monday evening keiko with KKTI, the main reason to wake up on Tuesday is the University morning keiko, then again keiko with KKTI on Wednesday evening, again waking up for the morning keiko on Thursday and then joining the national team keiko in the evening, then starting the weekend with the Friday evening keiko with KKTI and ending the whole week in our late Sunday evening keiko at the University dojo. As you can see, there is a lot to choose from. Especially if you add Tapanila’s training hours to the mix or take a short trip to visit Lebudo in Espoo.

Like the title hints there are some changes coming. Our dojo, our home for years is going under renovation so we have to move before the end of this year. Similarly, the city of Helsinki is proceeding with the renovation of the Olympic Stadium and KKTI is forced to leave the dojo that has been their base for a decade.

Helsinki dojo -support t-shirts

Helsinki dojo -support t-shirts

Most likely we are going to continue training in downtown at some school while KKTI is moving to their new nice dojo in Myllypuro. We haven’t received an official schedule from Unisport and KKTI is still working their training hours for the spring season but I’m convinced that my personal finely tuned kendo week might be the third thing going “under renovation”. At least we already know that there won’t be any morning keiko in Helsinki, so the tradition of kendo breakfast is lost.

So, is all hope lost and is 2016 full with sadness? Heck no! First of all, we’ve been working with KKTI to ensure that there is not much overlapping in our schedules. Second, while I’m weeping for losing the morning training hours I can see that those are not really beginner friendly. In previous years we have had some new members joining our basic courses but still we are quite small though a very active club. The truth is that we are practicing a strange martial art with extreme training hours. Kendo might not be changing its nature next year but I’m guessing our new training hours may seem more attractive for beginners and therefore our club has a good chance to grow. This is why I see only good things coming for the University Kendo Club and for the whole kendo scene in Helsinki.

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