About Me

Short version:

I. Am. Robot. Seriously, fucking read the long version. Make me feel important.

PS – that’s me in the middle, as chuken.


Long version:

The about page of a blog is so.. I don’t quite know what to call it. The thought process of “what the fuck do I write?” (oh yes, I have quite the nasty tongue… y’all should get used to seeing curse words in my pieces… consider it the side effect of being an English literature and Chemical Biology double major) run the gamut from psychotic questioning to a full blown identity crisis – how personal should I get? Who’s going to read it? What do I write about in the about? How can I describe my entire self on a single page and not sound like a ego-maniac? How can I talk about myself if it sometimes feels like I’m the person most foreign to myself? Why the fuck does this sound like the angst-ridden diary of a teenager???

But despite the crazy inside, I will attempt to give this a shot. I suspect this “About” page will change around quite a bit (depending on how long I am active on keeping this thing updated…), and in such cases, I will make sure to note where, when , what, and perhaps even why.

Why the name, Jodan-sae Kendo? 

Jodan-sae kendo. Looking at its components, the meaning apparent is… well… apparent.

  • Jodan: Referring to the Kendo term “Jodan no kamae”, a stance in which the shinai, bokken, ken, kum, or whatever is held above one’s head.
  • -Sae: the Korean word for kamae. Jodan-no-kamae in Korean is called 상단세 (sang-dan-sae), so I just combined them.
  • Kendo: the martial art where we liken our pursuit to katana swinging samurai, not unlike LARPers, fencers, and HEMA-ists do with knights in shining armor (I hope you get my humour here… if not, then… ah well, perhaps you are one who is not as jaded as I… or just don’t like this particular brand of humour… hold your peace… or don’t, who the fuck is you, I don’t fucking care, FUCKING COME AT ME, LET’S GO, U WOT M8!?!?!?!!!!! …No? Still not funny? Ah… you’re taking out brass knuckles and sharpening your shinai into spears…. I see… tough crowd…)

But there are other layers to the whole – perhaps not as clever as I would like, but enough to satisfy me. Naturally, there is the “sae kendo”, which become “Say Can Do”! HAHA! (crickets…) I quite like this, however lame. It is the motto of many 1st and 1.5 generation Asian-Americans. “Say Can Do!” my father once said, but while he is the phrase incarnate, it is a phrase that I aspire to. It is a rallying call of sorts for those filled with and paralyzed by self-doubt, anxiety, and timidity, such as I… and so, I say “Can Do!” in the hopes of convincing myself. In light of this, “jodan” seems rather one-dimensional, does it not? But the answer to “Say Can Do!” is the jodan mindset, no? If one indeed says “can do”, they must approach their goals like a jodan user – let it consume you, strike with abandon and with authority, with conviction, deliverance from the high heavens… so, while one-dimensional, not such a hollow and wasted thought after all… perhaps.

So who the fuck is you, mate? 

Call me Phillip (or Phil). I was born in Korea, an only son, and moved to the States when I was 8.

With regards to kendo:

I started kendo at the age of 9 at Hong Moo Kwan (HMK) in Bergen County, NJ, under the tutelage of Master Jo. I am currently a ni-dan (2 dan) with 14 years of experience, though fairly spotty for ~2 years in college with an injury to the left shoulder and elbow during a home-alone haya-suburi (haya suburi is called bba-reun dong-jak 빠른 동작 – literally means fast motion/movement) session. I haven’t taken a grading exam in the past… 7 years. I don’t know why, but grading really feels pointless for me at the moment. It will, undoubtedly, change, and when it does, I will update this portion. Anyways, I am currently obsessed with jodan kendo and have been pursuing this form since the April of 2015. My favorite kendoka are Teramoto, Chiba, Shodai (his kendo, not his person…), Ogata Shigeru, Kim Tae Hyun, Kawazoe, Yamamoto, and my personal sensei (and semi-uncle/big brother figure), Jo Sabumnim of HMK (sabumnim means sensei in Korean). I currently practice at HMK when I am in NJ and Cleveland Kendo Association / CWRU Kendo Club when I am in Cleveland.

Why I started jodan

It was all with this video of Ogata Shigeru:

After that… yeah. Turns out, it’s surprised all my senseis how quickly I’ve taken to it. Apparently, it’s the only time where I actually seem to have a presence and significant seme with. Good shit, bro, right?

Lifting and Fitness

After my injury [to be cont.]

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