Episode 56: Why Do People Quit Kendo?

In this episode, I would like to talk about why people quit kendo. Is it because they realise that kendo was not for them? Is it because of instructors?  Have you ever thought quitting kendo? Please share your thoughts. I said “Episode 54” in the episode, but it is wrong 🙂 Sorry about that!

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8 thoughts on “Episode 56: Why Do People Quit Kendo?

  1. Dear Sensei
    thank you very much for this podcast

    please forgive me if I’m rude
    I’m now 53 years old, I practice karate Shotoksn for more than 20 years,
    Iaido for more than 12 years, 4 years in Kenjutsu and Kendo 4 years.
    actually I practice Iaido and Kendo

    You are a very good teacher, there id nothing wrong with the way you practice, share and teach Kendo

    Kendo is not a sport like karate, and that’s one of the reason people don’t like or understand kendo
    Kendo is not an anime, and neither a way of self defense

    Kendo belongs to Bushido
    Kendo is a way of life
    The other reason why people quite kendo is Shikai, you wrote a wonderful article
    prople are like the waves in the ocean and it must be so, only a few stays and begin this hard way of training and experience the large road of Kendo, it begins with etiquette and ends with etiquette.
    To understand Kendo firstly you must empty your cup and receive the new instructions, if you do not have the right purpose your kendo stuck

    Don’t worry if you live in Indiana and you see the same faces, Kendo is a way of life as you always say: Kendo for Life

    thank you very much for your work and enthusiasm, Keep going!!!

    • Thank you very much!

      When people leave, I always think, “I couldn’t show them what kendo really is.” So I always think how I can give them a reason to stay.
      But again that is up to them. And when they don’t see what they want to do, they will leave anyway.

      It is hard. Yes, it is because it is a way of life 🙂

  2. As soon as I read this title (on Google Plus) a thought from the tradition of Soto Zen came to mind, probably because I know you have the master’s generous and skillful consideration of the student’s well being first and foremost. (Upaya, yes?)

    As is so often true with things Zen, so simple! so hard to convey! So I will spare you my clumsy / inept / over-long attempt at a meaningful essay.

    What if we change 1 word?
    Why did X quit (either KenDo or Zen)? why did Y leave in defeat? why did Z abandon it? why did J set it aside for an indeterminate period of time?

    The point is how we relate to our experience of this very moment, no?
    So … a change of course … I can imagine 42,000 Buddhas cheering in appreciation! 🙂


    p.s. the “website” link I included is from 2007, the penultimate post on one of the blogs that then went dusty.

    • Thank you very much!
      It is true what you said, “so simple so hard to convey”.
      I heard from one of my friends, a nun, that even they try to apply many different ways to reach people.
      It is not because they want more members but it is to show the teachings of Buddhism.
      Just a touch of it. Just a touch.

      I think I really think to start thinking how we can show a touch of kendo in different ways.
      Now I have to think out of the box, really really away from the box!

  3. Aside from old age or injury / illness, the only reasons I could think of are economic ones: time, money, work commitments. Otherwise, there is no reason to quit.

  4. I’m not sure I can give any insight into why people as a whole quite kendo, I think the reasons are often too individual to make any broad statements. I think I can however say something about why people choose to stay.
    Good teaching helps but most of all I think that people stay at kendo and commit for the long term because of the community of people they find by practicing. If that is a community which is helpful and supportive, where people are made to feel welcomed regardless of how experienced they are then they are more likely to stay.
    I myself took an 8 month break from Kendo that ended about a year ago, not because I didn’t enjoy kendo, but because of the atmosphere at the club I had been attending. I started again because I found a club where I felt welcomed and part of a community. However as I was experienced, I knew that there were more supportive dojos out there. If I had been a beginner I might have thought “This is what all kendo people are like” and stopped altogether.
    To this end, I have always made it a particular priority to be welcoming and friendly to new members, especially beginners. Kendo is hard work and I think many beginners would be more willing and able to push through the low points if they felt supported by their seniors.
    As a female kendoka, I think it is particularly important that new women who join are made to feel welcome. It takes quite a strong personality to be comfortable as a woman in such a male dominated field as kendo. As such, I go out of my way to take new women under my wing and I hope this has helped them persevere.
    Basically my point is that what goes on around and outside the dojo is as important as what goes on inside it. Do you all practice kendo and then go home or do you go for a drink or a meal? Do established members make a point of introducing themselves and talking to new joiners? Are seniors willing to take the time to answer questions and show beginners how to do things? Are senior members willing to listen if beginners have concerns or worries? If your club does do these things, then people are more likely to stay.

    • Thank you for your great input. I agree with the atmosphere of the dojo/members playing a great role to keep the students longer.
      After all, it is us, people, who share the knowledge of kendo. If we act bad, no one wants to do kendo.

      Thanks, Oniyuri!

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