PostHeaderIcon The Comfort of Reading a Book

Reading is a passionate hobby of mine. Ever since I was given the Kindle as a present for my birthday, I have been knee deep with the likes of Jim Butcher, Miles Cameron, R.A Salvatore and G.R.R Martin. There’s nothing like spending an entire day lost in the fantasy worlds that these incredible authors manage to bring to life through words alone. One of my only issues with the Kindle, and books, is my inability to read comfortably at night! That all changed when my girlfriend gave me some LED reading lights for the bed. I have no idea why I never thought to look for something like this on my own!

These strips install right above the bed, or wherever you want them, casting the perfect level of light for your reading needs. Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon An Introduction to Kendo

Kendo is a Japanese martial art form using swords or more accurately, bamboo sticks designed to be used like swords. It is, if you like, a form of fencing. Kendo is derived from the martial art of Kenjutsu, the sword training regime of the Japanese samurai. The popularity of modern Kendo has spread well beyond the boundaries of Japan, where it is of course a national sport. The world Kendo championship for example, comprises participants or kendoka from around 40 different countries.

Kendo: The Sport and the Equipment

As a sport, kendo is full contact, one on one battle between two combatants using bamboo shinai. The shinai is a sword made from four strips of bamboo, bound together by leather, with a leather handle. While the shinai is obviously a much safer weapon than a razor sharp katana sword, kendoka suffer their share of pain when struck by a shinai blow.

In fact, such is the damage that can be done by a well-wielded shinai, that kendoka must wear a number of heavy protective clothing items, making the sport a very hot and sweaty activity. However while kendo is a very physical and loud sport, mental training plays a large part in developing the skills required to become a winning kendoka.

The protective clothing items worn by kendoka are collectively known as “bogu”. The bogu consists of the following four items of apparel:

  • The men – This is the helmet which is worn to protect the face, head, neck, throat and shoulders
  • The kote – The kote is a thick pair of gauntlets which soften blows to the hands and wrists
  • The do – The do is a breastplate which protects the chest and stomach
  • The tare – This is a thick, padded apron worn around the hips to protect thighs and groin

The kendoka’s outfit is completed by a heavy jacket called a kendogi and trousers which are known as hakama. As a beginner your club or school should have bogu and shinai which you can use. When you are ready you can of course, buy your own at a specialist kendo store. Shinai are also available to buy at online outlets such as Swords of the East.

Kendo Training

If you decide to take up kendo, the first thing you will learn is how to execute the foot and body movements, then you will pick up a shinai and learn how to control it.  Shinai training is mostly done by attacking thin air, although occasionally a mannequin will be used.

After the basics have been learned, you will don the bogu and begin training in the necessary attacking and counter-attacking techniques. There is no such thing as defense in kendo. If you block a blow from your opponent you must immediately turn it into a counter-attack.

The Kendo Match

A kendo match lasts for 5 minutes, uninterrupted. During this time each opponent tries to be the first to score the two points required for victory. Any unimpeded direct hit on your opponent scores one point. You may strike at the throat, torso, head and wrists. A hit can be made by slicing, striking, thrusting or cutting action. If neither opponent scores two points by the end of the match, the winner is the opponent who is ahead on points. If the match is drawn, it goes into unlimited extra time until one of the combatants scores the necessary two points.

If you think you would like to improve your mental and physical agility and fitness in sport which involves sweating, shouting, pain and prowess with a sword, welcome to the world of kendo.

PostHeaderIcon Your Home Needs a Solid Roof

Sometimes, being a homeowner can be a little more work than what we thought we were getting ourselves into. There are heating and plumbing problems that are going to be an issue. This is only the beginning. It is extremely important for every homeowner to hire someone to do a roof inspection on a frequent basis. The reason behind this is because you may not be aware of whether or not there are any roofing repairs that need to be done. Usually, this isn’t something that can be determined unless you are on top of the house.

Even if you were to climb on top of your home to search for potential problems, you probably wouldn’t know what to look for. Rather than wasting your time, spend some time on the website today. This will put you in touch with roofing contractors who would be happy to come to your home and carefully inspect your situation. They are going to give you their honest opinion as to whether or not any repairs need to be done.

Maybe you have recently had some bad weather in your area. You may not realize how easy it is for shingles to blow away during a windstorm. Any time that you have had bad weather, always make sure that your roof has been inspected afterwards. You never know, you may end up saving yourself a lot of trouble by not having to worry about a leak inside your home.

If it was bad weather that caused these problems for you, your homeowners insurance company will most likely take care of any repairs. Check with them today so that you know before the problems begin to start. This is your home and you need to take good care of it so that it will be strong enough to withstand even the worst weather. No matter what the problem happens to be with your roof, your roofing contractor will take care of it. Set up an appointment today and they will get started with an inspection so that they can help you to decide what steps to take next.

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