New Beginnings, Part I

After the difficult training for Cornell, the focus of the club returned to training this year’s new recruits for them to take the rite of passage known as the Bogu Exam. For the uninitiated, the equipment used in Kendo is known as Bogu, and the Bogu Exam is a test of skills that the captain and coaches use to judge who is ready for competition. In simple terms: this is the official tryout for the club’s competitive side.

The Bogu Exam consists of a comprehensive review of all that the beginners have learned over the semester. This means every technique, every training drill, every command, and overall comfort with all of these is observed. There are 3 basic hits in Kendo: men (head), kote (wrist), and do (body). The variations of these hits, as well as the numerous drills involved in utilizing them, are tested along with other crucial aspects of kendo including suriyashi (footwork) and, most importantly, kiai (spirit breath or fighting spirit).

This year, the Exam was proctored by Coaches Alex Eitoku and Eugenia Yang, as well as Captain John Yi. There were 13 members taking the exam, and after two months of preparation and anxiety, their progress was judged today within two hours of demonstration.

Out of the 13, only 5 passed this first exam. As such, I would like to officially welcome Michaella Chung, Kayla Gillespie, Taryn Ross, Renee Wang and Erica Wiener to the ranks of the bogu members. This means that the road ahead will be harder than before, but the five of you have shown perseverance and comfort with the techniques thus far. Congratulations!

To those who did not pass, please be advised: This is not the end. There will be a second exam on December 8th. Continue to practice, and I am confident that your hard work will be rewarded in due time.

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