FAQ / Common Questions

New Member FAQ

I watched kendo practice at another dojo. Can I join immediately?

Every dojo practices differently, so we require those interested to observe before joining.

Can I have a free trial lesson before joining?

Due to a number of factors, primarily insurance, we do not offer trial lessons.

Do you offer private lessons?

West LA Kendo Dojo is a non-profit organization led by sensei (teachers) on a voluntary basis. Therefore, we only offer classes at regularly scheduled times.

Can I buy a bogu (kendo armor), uniform, or a shinai (bamboo sword) so I can be ready for beginner classes?

Beginners should NOT buy these items prior to joining. Beginner students require our head instructor's approval to wear a uniform or bogu at practice. Shinai is sold at the dojo for $30. Shinai bought a while ago, without proper maintenance, become unsafe for use during practice.

Parents FAQ

What is the youngest age to join?

Kids between the ages of 5 to 7 are usually ready to join. The key factor is whether the child can follow basic instructions like moving left and right.

Are there classes for only kids?

All beginners, including kids, are taught separately from the sparring side. After transitioning to the sparring side, adults are instructed to either strike kids lightly or not at all.

After joining, my child may be unable to complete a full practice due to a condition or a scheduling issue. What are my options?

Please discuss this with our Head Instructor before joining. Situations like this will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

After my child joins, would it be okay if I leave the dojo and return when practice ends?

Parents (or a legally designated guardian) must remain at the dojo with their child.

Media FAQ

May I visit your dojo to take photos or record video during a practice?

Visitors are welcome to take photos or record video from a distance. 

I am interested in filming something more extensive.  For example, a documentary.  May I come by to film, take photos, or conduct interviews?

Please contact us via the Contact Page with details.  We accommodated some past inquiries, notably student projects, but in a very limited capacity.  Please note our instructors and members are at the dojo with a focus on practicing.

I need a kendo expert/instructor/student for a paid project/interview/event.  Can your dojo help?

Our instructors and members will be unable to assist.  Thank you in advance for your understanding.

I am organizing an event for a local school, non-profit, cultural association, or community group.  Can you provide a short demonstration?

Please contact us with details as soon as possible, and we can let you know whether we have availability.  Our dojo has demonstrated for local schools and local festivals, and is open to promoting kendo to the area.

Kendo Pracitioner Visitor FAQ

I practice kendo, and will be in the Los Angeles area for a short visit.  This will be my first practice at your West LA Kendo Dojo -or- haven't visited in a while.  Can I join your practice while I'm in Los Angeles?

Visitors are always welcome to practice.  Please contact us via the Contact Page to let us know of your upcoming visit and any questions you may have.  If this is your first visit, please bring the following to practice:

If you are a returning visitor who hasn't visited within a few months, we would be appreciative if you can give us advance notice of your visit by contacting us using the information in the Contact Page.  If you already provided the above information to our dojo, you will not be required to resubmit.

During my short visit, I will not have some of my equipment with me.  Do you have some equipment I can borrow during my visit?

Please let us know via the Contact Page.  Generally speaking:

I practice kendo, and will be in the Los Angeles area for a few months, a season, or a year.  I would like to attend your practices during my stay.  How can I participate with your dojo during my stay?

Extended stay visitors are welcome to practice with us.  Please contact us via the Contact Page for details.

Membership Transfer & Returning Member FAQ

I practiced kendo at another dojo.  I relocated to the Los Angeles area.  I am interested in joining your dojo.  What do I need to do?

All interested in joining are asked to observe at least one practice before joining.  As a practitioner, you also have the option to practice with us once before deciding to join.  See the Kendo Practioner Visitor FAQ for more information.

I practiced kendo at another dojo.  I visited your dojo and would like to join.  What are the next steps?  

The instructions on the Membership Page includes the required forms and payment to join.  The below question and answer on registration fees will also be helpful.  

To ensure your rank remains in place, those from AUSKF dojos will need to provide their AUSKF ID in the registration form.  Those who are from a FIK dojo outside AUSKF will need to provide a scan of their most recent rank certificate and member ID.

I practiced kendo at another dojo, and now live in the Los Angeles area.  I am actively registered with them as of this year.  Am I responsible for paying the same registration fees as a new student?

You will be responsible for paying the fees listed in the Membership Page. If you are actively registered with another dojo this year, the following exceptions will be made:

I previously practiced at West LA Kendo Dojo and didn't practice for more than a couple years.  I would like to return.  What are the steps to return?

You will need to re-register and pay the one-time registration.  If someone has been away for a few years, we are asking them the fill out the registration form and pay the one-time fee.