This is a blog that I started in April 2006, just after I first put on my bogu (kendo armour). It collects the advices given by more experienced kendo practitioners as well as those from my own experiences. Both technical and the mental aspects of kendo are written in the blog. I hope someone will find them useful or interesting at least!
After the training today Stephan, Georg and I were talking about the beginners, who are more talented and who are less talented. During the conversation I suddenly started to wonder if I was once the subject the that discussion, haha.
Went to the training at Budo Club Dresden today, where Georg lead the session. I didn't eat anything before, so after we finished warming up I felt my energy was draining very fast. We did some Kihon-keiko and then kote-suriage-men, which was nice to practise, before finally the Jigeiko. Well, couldn't really make any waza to work which was frustrating. But this, I guess, is something I have to keep practising and practising.
Hiki-waza: do not push the opponent too hard while trying to get the distance. Push sideways (or upwards for hiki-do) requires only little force. Agility is the key here.
I had a great fun at Kendo training today. Despite the othorpaedic surgeon saying that I should stop kendo for 3 weeks and start physiotherapy on my left little finger, where I have the trigger, I still practised. I hope I can relax my grip during my training so that it can slowing get better, at least not worst. Stoping kendo for at least another 3 weeks is just out of the question for me.. Unless if it's really getting worse and worse.
There are a lot of people training today, about 12 keshi with bogu and 12 without. We spent about 1 1/2 hours on the basics and half an hour on Jigeiko. Here are the tips I got today:
Debana-kote: when turning sidways going to the right, one should not have his back facing the opponent completely. Eyes should be still looking at the opponent during Zanshin.
Use shikake-waza more instead of simple uchi.
My kaeshi-men has improved. I can controll the shinai better so that it lands on target.
Today is again the Dresden league. I lost to Tino 1:2. He got Ippon first with a Hiki-men, followed by my Hiki-men. Then as I faked a men in order to hit his Kote, he striked a Men-Uchi while my strike missed the Kote. My Kote has to be faster and faster Zanshin. I turned sideways but didn't do it fast enough. Afterwards Stephan told me that he was impressed and suprised by my kaeshi-do which nearly got an Ippon.
The worst of all was that my Ki was very weak. Maybe due to the lack of sleep last night?? My muscle and my bones felt light and empty. My toe might also hindered my spirit. This is unfortunatly what I have to learn to overcome. When one fights one has to give it all no matter what happened to him/her earlier that day - be strong.
After the shiai we had free-jigeiko as usual. I fought with David, Stephan and Jan. Stephan gave me a few tips, namely:
For Harai-waza one has to do it at issoku itto no maai distance. From chikama it's too close to the opponent.
Touch the opponent's shinai to see what his/her response.
Jan told me:
not to drop the shinai after uchi. I didn't use to do that before. I think I still need to adjust myself a bit from the 3 weeks of absence.
have a stronger Ki. (for example the kaeshi-do during the shiai.)
This time I felt there is a gap between my kendo and Jan and Stephan's. I was much slower, and my centerline is not strong enough.
Uni Training The session at Uni took place an hour after we finished training at the Dresden Budo Club. There were, however, only 4 people - 3 beginners and Yoda, a japanese Exchange student. So Yoda lead the session with me explaining and elaborate the techniques from time to time.
No Jigeiko. We practised some basic uchi's, and lots of time on Hiki-waza. Then we did Kakari-geiko. New things I learned included:
Zanshin for Hiki-do is similar to Chudan no kamae.
I felt disappointed of loosing to Tino, but it's also part of the game. I have to be strong mentally as well, and recover quickly. I really enjoyed the uni session, as I could make sure that I can do the basics.
Went to training this evening for the first time since my toe injury 3 weeks ago. It was good to see the kendo friends again. Fortunately no one stepped on my foot during the training, which would have been a total disaster..
It's nearly the end of the semester, and I was suprised to find out that about 7 beginners from the uni club stayed, two more than when we were beginners.
When I arrived in the middle of the beginners training they were learning how to disassemble and reassemble the shinais. So I just did some kihon myself with the column as target.
In the advanced session, we did kihon geiko and then practised waza's of one's choice to counter Men- and Kote- strikes. My repertoire were:
To counter Men-strike: suriage-men, debana-kote, and kaeshi-do.
To counter Kote-strike: suriage-men, kote-men.
suriage-men: upward brushing and downard strike should be fluent and fast, otherwise the opponent gets too close. Therefore, one should also be careful about the distance when striking.
debena-kote: aim to get that nice popping sound. Watch the posture during the Zanshin. I have the tendency to quench my back when turning sideways. :((
kaeshi-do: from Miyazaki's shiai with Eiga (not sure which year, see below), whereby he finished with a kaeshi-do, I noticed that he stepped to the front-right and blocked, then without stepping further forwards he reversed and striked do. more practise, more practise...
During the jigeiko I fought with David, and Elisa, after which we did a shiai-like practise, where only one pair fights. If one gets Ippon within 30 seconds then he/she stays on, if no one then both people are replaced by two new people. I didn't get any Ippon, and was forced off by the time limit. While I think if more time is allowed then I can do it, it clearly reflects the efficiency of my strikes -- should work towards a perfect strike every time.
All in all, I feel great to be back in the dojo again. Clearly there're lots of things to improve, but at least I could pick up the level of my kendo where I left it, and the suburi's at home in the past 3 weeks improved my kirikaeshi.