Here are a few testimonials from people who have practiced Kendo at HMK.
When I signed up, I was asked why I was interested in this martial arts, kendo also known as Kumdo. I said I wanted to become physically fit, that I wanted to lose weight, and be healthier. I realize now those motivations, although valid, were insufficient. I'm not practicing Kumdo to improve my health. The real, root-cause reason I started Kumdo is because I want to be a better father. I want to be a better husband, a better employee, a better person.
Kumdo is teaching me how to take care of me. I have always walked slouched over like an old man, with my head down. Kumdo has improved my posture. I walk straighter. I'm becoming a stronger, healthier & better person because of Kumdo.
I was in sad shape when I started Kumdo. I was a 300lbs old man. I was wearing a back brace, and I had an injured toe. I was going to the Chiropractor all the time. All that ended with Kumdo. I'm stronger, I'm losing weight, I walk straighter and I have more energy.
Kumdo has also taught me I can't do everything all at once and that all things come with time. It's taught me patience and humility. It's also taught me confidence and discipline.
Unlike a conventional gym, our dojo is a band of brothers and sisters. It's more than a club, it's a surrogate family. I never expected that. I never expected that, and I never expected the level of acceptance and support I'd receive.
About 3 years ago, I was looking for a great, traditional Kendo/Kumdo Dojang. During a visit to Seoul, Korea, I visited Dojangs there and asked the highest ranking members who would be the best instructor for me in the NY/NJ Metroploitian area. They directed me to Master Jo and HMK and I have been a member here ever since.
I have studied and taught various martial arts for almost 15 years and this is the “purest” dojang/dojo I have ever witnessed. I cannot recommend HMK highly enough. By the way, I drive 75 minutes one way to train at this facility.
As I approach fifty-years of age I began to think about what type of exercise I could do that would allow me to continue training in a healthy way for the rest of my life. I am in fair health, slightly overweight with High Blood pressure and require medication to control my blood pressure. I wanted to find a form of exercise that could help me return to good health.
I had enjoyed learning and training in traditional Japanese karate in my youth but learned that as I age the strain that this type of training was a bit much for my joints to handle…no more spinning and jump kicks for me. So, I began to search for over a year the various styles of Martial Arts available in the New York and New Jersey area that fit my life Style and Temperament.
In my youth I had read the “Book of Five-Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi and often thought of training in Kendo. I visited several Philadelphia and New York Dojo’s, but my life style at the time was such that I never remained in one area long enough to commit to any particular school. When I finally decided to research Kendo again I chose ten local schools to visit. I also chose one Kumdo school to visit as well. When I visited the schools I had a list of questions for the head instructors and the students who were attending the schools. All of the kendo schools were impressive as were the instructors but I did not have “the feeling” that this was the place to train.
The last school I investigated was HMK Kumdo which teaches a Korean style of fencing and martial philosophy. Master Jo was very friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. I left the school with “the feeling” that this was the place I should train. After a week of researching Kumdo and asking more questions I returned to HMK and enrolled as a student.
I love every moment of training and my interaction with teachers and fellow students. I have been encouraged to make Kumdo a part of my life and not just to look at it as a form of exercise. I now see the practice of Kumdo as a life style and intend to live and practice as long as possible. I am grateful to have discovered this school and this style of martial art.
Ever since I first read the famous book by the great samurai warrior, Miyamoto Masashi,"The Five Rings," "the way of the sword," and what that really means has always been a path I wanted to travel.
A few years ago, I took a class in "Iaito," which is the art of drawing the "sword." Even though the class was very meaningful, there was something that I felt was still missing for me. I had done some research about Kumdo, and Kendo schools, but due to my age and my physical limitations, I wondered if I would be accepted, and I could endure the training that I knew would be intense.
Starting Kumdo, at the age of sixty, can be quite a challenge, but to start Kumdo at the age of sixty along with a physical disability like cerebral palsy, can make the training even more difficult. But being that I am no stranger to hard work and overcoming difficulties, I knew that Kumdo, was something I had to do in order to complete my life.
My deep interest in Kumdo, has always been about the development of the so called "warrior spirit," and how this martial art helps in developing this with in the human being. For this reason, among others, I knew that I, along with my family needed to enroll in a school. As far as my children are concerned, I wanted to introduce them to a world that they didn't know. A world they could get much benefit from if they continue to practice and apply what they are learning.
For my children, the study of Kumdo would help in strengthening them, not only physically but spiritually as well. My granddaughter Naeela, who is a very sweet and smart child, had a very timid spirit. But since she has been training under the teaching of Master Jo, we all can see the changes Kumdo is having on her concentration and confidence. I expect the more she trains, she will no longer be a timid little girl, but a very strong and confident woman.
Kumdo is an art that helps to perfect the human being. What it is not, is a sport of "just hitting sticks".
I started training in martial arts 11 years ago because of my son Billy. I started to help him learn forms and practice with him at home. It brought us closer together.
Children learn more from our actions than our words. I could tell him martial arts are good for you, but it was better to show him what I believe. Training in martial arts takes discipline and motivation.
It is easy to sit at home in front of a T.V. or game system, but it takes work to get up and go train. If I am going to make my children do it, I better be doing the same. I am trying to teach my children by example, not by just words.
I decided to try Kumdo with my husband and son Robert because I missed our family training all together. It is important to me, that we do train together.
The time we spend training is important, but what is more important is showing the discipline it takes. Discipline is important in life because anything you want to do takes time and practice. You must practice and practice to be good at anything in life. You receive good things through hard work and discipline.
I also continue training in kumdo for myself I enjoy the physical work out. I do not like going to gym because you do not use your mind. At the gym my mind would wander. I cannot lose focus of my mind in kumdo. I focus on whatever move I am doing with my whole mind. If I lose focus, it is difficult to do the techniques. This is why I enjoy Kumdo so much; there is so much to focus on. I must focus on my strike, my step, my arms, my legs, breathing, and there is no time for outside thinking, such as, work, food shopping, things to do, I can only focus on the technique I am doing at that moment.
I believe this helps my mind to continue to grow and stay young. I also enjoy that Kumdo is safer martial art. I believe I will be able to do this into an older age than my previous martial art, Tang So Doo, it was taking a lot out of me physical to continue to train in it. I know I will always be doing a martial art until my body says “no”. I believe I have found the one I can grow old in and still do.
My body was not well for quite some time. Upon a medical examination from my doctor, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in tandem with high cholesterol levels. This gave me the motivation to start exercising again, and actively try to refine my body back to healthy levels.
However, my biggest concern was what kind of exercise or sport could I possibly do in my early 40s... Soon enough, through a lot of personal deliberation and consultations from friends and family I came to the conclusion that the intriguing and long-term potential sport of kendo would be right for me.
Upon just 4 months of starting kendo, I went back for my routine medical examination. To both the doctor's and my disbelief the improvements in my health were amazing. I went back to normal levels of blood pressure as well as cholesterol.
I was healthy again! At that moment, I came to realize that I made the right choice to start Kendo, and it will be a sport that I will enjoy and continually practice in order to maintain a healthy mind and body.
I started Kendo with my younger brother when I was 6th grade, and continued to practice it throughout College. In my 11th and 12th grade years, I was extremely busy with College applications, standardized tests, and sustaining high marks in academia. During this busy time period of my life I was diligent with both my academic duties as well as my commitment to Kendo. I made sure that I allocated enough time everyday to practice Kendo at HMK.
I still remember how I would always look forward to going to the dojo to practice, while afterwards I would go home to take a cold shower in order to prepare myself to study at a more high focus state. Kendo was not only a practice that was meant for physical exercise for me...I credit a lot of my success so far to its ability to refine my mental ability (focus, concentration, etc.) and build my discipline.
I have really reaped a lot benefits from the moment I started Kendo. Even for my college admissions essay, I think it really benefited me when I wrote about my commitment to kendo, the tournaments I participated in, how I first attained my black belt, and how it refined my mentality on things. Honestly, everything that goes into becoming successful in Kendo seems to be paralleled with how to succeed in the real world-perseverance, commitment, diligence, intelligence, team work, respect, and discipline.
I am presently studying in medical school, and unfortunately, due to the long distance I have been unable to practice Kendo regimentally. Regardless, I will continue practicing Kendo whenever I have the chance, and I am so thankful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to start Kendo.
Due to my work and social commitments, I was unable to partake in daily exercise or sports for quite some time. Accordingly, my lack of attention to my body led me to gain weight up to nearly 220 lbs. I knew something had to be done.
Kendo was a sport that I always wanted to start in the back of my mind, and since HMK was close to where I had lived and a colleague of mine was willing to start with me I decided to embark on Kendo.
In 3 months I had lost 30 pounds... people that had not seen me in a while were shocked when they saw me. People that I had met thereon are surprised at the "before and after" difference when my current physique is compared to that of my driver's license photo or past pictures. I credit all this to Kendo.
My work as a designer stipulates my sitting down and being in front of a computer all day. With such daily routines, there are many occupational injuries such as shoulder aches, back pains etc.
I visited many chiropractors, massage specialists, acupuncture, nearly everywhere so that I could find some form of treatment that could appease the injuries that developed from my work. Although a lot of these methods brought about short-term relief the pain always seemed to come back to haunt me.
Since my husband started Kendo and had always made high remarks of the practice, I decided to try it out for exercise. Upon every practice, I would come home and there would no longer be the lingering pain in my back or shoulders. I decided that I needed to continue practicing Kendo in order to sustain this peace from my long suffered back and shoulder pains. Kendo was the treatment that my body needed.
Life in society and work always brings about built up stress which leads to a lot of mental and physical problems as one ages. I decided that I will try my best to counter balance these negative effects in my life and started Kendo with strong determination.
I believe strongly that my lower stress levels and healthier physique can be mostly attributed to my practice of Kendo. For someone that goes on business trips and is away quite often, the start of a dedicated practice like Kendo seems burdensome and troublesome so more often than not you end up not starting it.
However, I told my colleagues and people that live similar lifestyles as myself to consider try Kendo with the good experience that I have had so far. Even though many of us will not be national team members or make a living out of Kendo, the dedicated practice of Kendo to the best of our ability, I believe, is something deserving of equal praise.
It is difficult to balance our careers and someone that also requires the same commitment, however with Kendo I always find a way to do so. I won't say I am stress-free or that live is more peaceful per se, but I definitely have improved mentally and physically than before.
Around 1-2 times a week I make a personal investment in Kendo. There are many dojos that I could go to around my area in Pennsylvania, however there is a upward growth potential that is attainable at HMK that cannot be ignored for someone like me.
I drive approximately 2 hours to the HMK dojo, practice for about an hour and a half, then drive back home for another 2 hours, totaling an investment of about 6 hours in Kendo a day!
However, I believe that time is not wasted. On my way to HMK my 2 hour drive is mainly filled with my deliberation and collection of thoughts on how I will practice, what I will focus on to improve, and how I could make the best out of the time there. Then the 2 hour drive back is filled more recollection of my thoughts, what I could improve next time, and all the new things that I had learned that day.
I believe I have and am continually making a worthwhile investment in Kendo.
People have asked me in a worried manner on why I chose to start Kendo at the late age of 67. I mean, it's true, younger more stronger students of Kendo will learn much quicker and have much more speed than I have, however I am not trying to become a Kendo competitor.
I always wanted to try Kendo, however I just never really had the chance. Soon enough as I began to have a bit more leisure in my daily schedules, I found a dojo near where I lived and decided to start Kendo. In the beginning, trying to make sure I learned all the basics and the standard conditioning work outs of Kendo were a bit hard for me, however the Master made sure that he accommodated the work outs for me so it was bearable and something I was able to work through.
Although I do not improve as quickly as the younger students that I practice with, however I have grown to enjoy Kendo so I will continue to practice it. I believe that age is only a number if you put your mind and heart to something.
My daily schedule usually consisted of finishing work and occasionally meeting up with friends and colleagues-this usually meant that I would come home late at night which slowly took a toll on my mind and body.
I knew that I had to start exercising to counter balance my lifestyle. That is how I found kendo. Kendo allowed me to enjoy a sport that I grew to love which also helped me live a more controlled and healthier lifestyle.
I started Kendo when I was 7 years old. Today marks the 10th year of my participation in the sport. Soon I will be heading to College, and it seems that my chance to continue the sport appears a bit glim. However, if I get into the College of choice, there may be Kendo clubs established that I could partake in which would allow me to continue on with the sport.
I believe that through Kendo my academic grades and my character have all been progressive in the past years. In addition, I have the happy memories with fellow friends from HMK, traveling together and competing at tournaments. Something I came to realize is that Kendo does not only improve my physical growth but also my maturity and discipline.
I started Kendo in my 50s, thus I had a lot of doubts whether my body would allow me to fully participate in the sport. However, I soon came to realize that many people at HMK whom were older than I am, were still practicing the sport with the same passion and energy as those who were much younger.
I was happy that I made the right decision to start Kendo, and it proved to just give me better motivation. Due to other obligations my commitment to the sport at times faces a few hinderances, however once I get back I train right back into the pace of HMK, and while I compete with those younger than I am...funny enough I feel younger myself.
Through Kendo I believe that my life became much more easy and enjoyable. I met a lot of great people through my participation at the HMK dojo, and they soon enough became my peers and good friends.
I also feel that as I travel and compete in tournaments all across the nation I become acquinted with a various different places and my outlook on society and life also broadens. What really motivates me is the passion to train harder in Kendo so that I may be able to travel world-wide to compete and take the true tour of Kendo.
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