What I’ve Learned Through One Month’s Kendo: A Beginner’s Reflection

Kenshi seated in seiza at the end of the practice

For the past forty days, I’ve immersed myself in the art of Japanese swordsmanship, known as Kendo, at the Helsinki University Kendo Club Team. Stepping into this world with zero prior experience, I was greeted by a team of seasoned practitioners—Félix, Merci, Sofia, and others. Their patient guidance has been invaluable as I’ve embarked on this journey of discovery.

From the outset, I was struck by the deep respect and discipline inherent in Kendo. Every movement, every strike, is infused with tradition and purpose. The sound of bamboo swords clashing, the intensity of focus in the dojo—it all creates an atmosphere that demands both physical and mental commitment.

Markus Frey and kendo practitioner kenshi in seiza position, beginners and advance sport in Helsinki Finland suomi

With each passing day, I’ve felt myself grow more attuned to the nuances of this ancient art form. Basic techniques, such as the proper grip of the shinai and footwork, have become second nature through repetitive practice. Yet, I know there is still so much to learn.

beginner training kendo in Helsinki club

One of the most enriching aspects of my training has been the opportunity to spar with my fellow club members. Félix, Merci, and Sofia, among others, have generously shared their expertise, offering feedback and encouragement every step of the way. Through these encounters, I’ve gained insights into timing, strategy, and the importance of maintaining composure under pressure.

On March 2nd, when I participated as a vounteer in the Capital Region Kendo League competition, I felt a surge of adrenaline unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Competition’s nerves threatened to overwhelm me even though I just the audience. The Competition was intense, each one a test of skill and spirit. While I didn’t attend as a player, the experience was invaluable—it encourged to me to attend next Spring if possible.

Looking ahead, I am eager to continue my journey in Kendo, to refine my technique, and deepen my understanding of this ancient martial art. With Félix, Merci, Sofia, Markus and the rest of the club by my side, I know that the path ahead will be challenging, but ultimately rewarding. As I continue to train and grow, I am grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in a tradition that spans centuries—a tradition that has not only sharpened my skills but enriched my spirit.

group of kenshi after morning martial art practice in Helsinki

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