Safety First

I am beginning to sound like a broken record when it comes to practice and venue safety. I have been repeatedly raising these two concerns for a long time:
1) lack of proper hydration during our kendo training and
2) the hazards some damaged parts of the flooring pose (as evidenced by a growing number of people who suffer from wounds after stepping on sharp edges on the floor)

There seems to be a recurring theme that comes up every time we discuss the said issues. I always hear that it is because we follow the “traditional martial arts” type of training. This has always left me stumped. The message I seem to be getting from it is that Traditional Martial Arts are not for wimps. And that those who practice it should get used it or unquestioningly endure.

I have no problem enduring hard training unquestioningly. But it becomes a concern for me if puts my health and safety at risk. I find the lack of sense of urgency to address these issues alarming. I believe that those who are in positions of authority at any sports club need to ensure the safety of their athletes.

I have been trying to understand what “traditional” training methods entail in their context. Most of the materials I found say something along these lines:

(Screenshot from
(Screenshot from

I haven’t found anything that says that:

1) We should not put strict safety measures in place
2) We should not take breaks for rest and hydration at appropriate intervals

What I find most alarming is that conditions are ripe for dehydration in the type of venue and training we do. The dojo itself has poor ventilation. And we sweat profusely, especially in bogus class. It is not usually because of the heat and humidity. The vigorous training that we do make us sweat a lot. Yet, we do not take enough breaks to rehydrate.

I really do not understand why we are doing it like this. Even the elite athletes I know observe safety practices in training. I wonder what is driving us to this extent when most of us are doing it for fitness and fun.

To be fair, there have been attempts to implement suggested hydration and safety checks after the issues were raised. But after a short while, it somehow reverts back to the old ways. I wish we could be more consistent on this.

Just recently, club members have been asked to sign a quitclaim. I have not received a copy of it yet so I  do not know what’s in it. But even with a waiver of liability, I think it is still the responsibility of any sports club to provide a safe training environment for its athletes.


UPDATE (03.09.2016, 16:37)

(Screenshot from I shared the BKA's Generic Risk Assessment Form to our officers. I hope that seeing that there's a established kendo association following health and safety protocols will convince them that it's about time our club addresses this.
(Screenshot from
I shared the BKA’s Generic Risk Assessment Form to our officers. I hope that seeing that there’s a established kendo association that have clear health and safety guidelines will convince them that it’s about time for the club to put similar measures in place.

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