Fourth Dojo in Seven Months

Some of us from our fledgling Kendo club have been busy the past weeks trying to look for a new training venue. This was following the complaint we received in December last year from the neighbors of the building where we train. They said we were too noisy. Considering that we train fairly early in the evening (from 6:00-8:00pm), I was sort of stumped why it was such a big deal. We may have made more noise than the regular basketball games scheduled there, but we were not doing those sharp kiai shouts at ungodly hours.

But out of respect to their wishes and to prevent the problem from escalating, we decided to start looking for an alternative venue.

In the seven months since the club was formed, we have already practiced at three different places:

After keiko at Planet Infinity
After keiko at Planet Infinity (photo from the Davao Kendo Club Facebook page)

1. Planet Infinity – This fitness center is easily my favorite for a lot of reasons. Foremost of which is its close proximity to our place. I also like that the facility has clean and well-maintained toilets/changing rooms. There’s also a water dispenser at the area where we train. The aircon’s temperature was set just right in those days we practiced there. The practice area has mirrors around it which I found helpful when I want to check my forms during kihon training. But despite all these advantages, there’s one thing the facility doesn’t have – a wooden floor suitable for kendo. Our teacher doesn’t like it there saying it’s not good for our knees and feet given all the stomping we do. I fully understand his concern given that the impact could be jarring. We are more vulnerable to injuries if we continue training there.

At Ladislawa Gym
At Ladislawa Gym (photo credit Ruby Lardera)

2. Ladislawa Gym – We moved to Ladislawa Gym around middle of August last year. It is located inside one of Davao’s most exclusive subdivisions. The basketball court where we trained has a wooden floor although our teacher says it’s still a bit hard. I did not like training there because it was far from my place. The gym’s part of the country club, which was some distance away from the village gates so it’s always quite a trip going there. The ladies’ toilet’s floor also often has puddles of water. I frequently had a hard time changing into my hakama because I had to avoid getting the hem and himo wet. Suffice to say, I was really glad when we moved to another place again.

At Blue Gym
At Blue Gym

3. Blue Gym – Ladislawa gym was not available in October last year so we ended up moving to Blue Gym which is located at the 3rd floor of a building in Obrero. The ground floor of the said building serves as a warehouse while the top floor is rented out mostly for basketball games and the occasional school varsity training. The place is often busy with different groups playing before and after our schedule. Despite the noise from these basketball games, it seems that the neighbors find ours more bothersome.

Next training day, however, we are finally moving again to our new “home”…

A glimpse of our new training venue (photo credit: Johnny Lardera, Jr.)
A glimpse of our new training venue (photo credit: Johnny Lardera, Jr.)

4. Fair Lanes
Fair Lanes is a bowling center that has an area that functions as a dojo for different martial arts groups like Judo, Jiu-jitsu, Karatedo, and Taekwondo. Based from the pictures our club manager took, it seems like a good place for us to do keiko. I hope we won’t have any more trouble with the “noise” thing. I’m hopeful that as the other users are martial artists as well, they would be more tolerant of whatever noise we make.

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