In May 2021 I decided it might be beneficial to have more knowledge about physical training so I enrolled in a course to become a Personal Training Specialist (PTS) through the canfitpro organization. I passed the theory portion in May. In hindsight, I should have booked my practical exam at that time but didn’t.

Fast forward to November 2021. I remembered I had 6 months in which to complete my practical test, so I booked it and did a virtual exam this past weekend. I had to create a workout program based on the goals of a sample client, then demonstrate how I would run the initial class with said client. My daughter Emily stepped in as the client. She must have made me look good because I passed with an 89%. (80% was the minimum passing grade.)

So yay, I’m a certified PTS 🙂

What does that mean for the Niagara Kendo Club? For starters, I’ve designed a new warmup for the start of class and will be implementing a new stretching session at the end. I led a few of these for U of T Alumni practices (because we’re all old now LOL) but I think everyone will benefit from a stretch post-workout.

What’s Wrong with the Existing Warm Ups?

A warm up should prepare the body for the activity to come. The traditional warmups are a mix of static and dynamic stretching with some suburi (swings of the shinai/bokuto) at the end to get the heart going. It’s okay, but I think it could be better.

It’s generally accepted that dynamic stretching should be done pre-workout and static stretches should come at the end. Static stretches before a workout when the body is still cold is not as effective and could cause harm. Dynamic stretching should also be done when the body’s been warmed up a little.

In 2014, either Kendo Ontario or CKF held a seminar that introduced the warm up routine that Team Canada (TC) was using. It featured a short (very short) cardiorespiratory warm up and then a group of dynamic stretches and exercises followed by suburi. I took notes and we adopted it as our club’s warm up routine. Interestingly, we were the only club to do so that I know of.

I like the TC warm up more than the traditional one but feel it has some shortcomings. It was designed for Team Canada members who are all generally young and fit. That doesn’t describe the average kendo population. Well, not in our club, at least. I’ve designed a warm up that I think is more appropriate for an average kendo player. It’s a low load, low impact cardiorespiratory warm up with dynamic stretches for most of the major muscle groups, plus suburi (of course).

I’ll be introducing the warmup and stretches at tonight’s class so we’ll see how it goes. If it goes well, I’m sure we’ll make a video of it to share with others. I hope it will be successful!