a MMB! Kendo Blog: Good Exercise to Practice Powering the Body Forward

MMB! Kendo Blog

Monday, February 07, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Good Exercise to Practice Powering the Body Forward

Tonight I went to train in Master Kim's dojo. It was a hot and humid day, so Master Kim told us that tonight we would have a compact training.

There were 6 people training tonight - Master Kim, Jimmy Kim, Andrew Tan, me and two Korean kids. After the stretching and suburi sessions, we were splitted into two groups with Master Kim and Jimmy as motodachi. I was in Jimmy's line.

The first waza session was on kirikaeshi, uchikomi-geiko and kakari-geiko. Master Kim repeatedly pointed out that we were not powering our body forward when cutting. Master Kim then demonstrated on Jimmy how to propel and power the body forward both with and without the shinai. It was when he demonstrated without shinai that it gave me the exact idea of what kind of feeling I should expect and aim for when moving my body forward. The way Master Kim demonstrated was like this: In chudan no kamae, he propelled forward as if he was doing a men cut but without actually cutting. Instead, he pushed powerfully forward into Jimmy's body and at that same instant, his right foot fumikomi. This demonstration made it very clear how the body was supposed to move forward. The correct body movement would give the body maximum power to push the opponent back.

We swapped the queues and I did some more kakari-geiko with Master Kim. Again, Master Kim was encouraging me to cut with my whole body while I was executing my kakari-geiko. It was exhausting but I could feel that I had much more power in my forward momentum after carrying the idea of Master Kim's earlier demonstration of aiming to push into my opponent's body.

Jimmy, Andrew and myself then practiced seme-men. We were told to focus on pushing the body in and cutting as soon as there was a slight deviation of the opponent's shinai from the centre.

During the training, Master Kim pointed out the followings regarding my techniques:

  • Straight through after men cut. I was moving side-way after men cut. I was too carried away with the thought of avoiding to bump into my opponent after a men cut by moving side-way. With this worry in mind, it weakened my intention to power forward. I should not worry about bumping into my opponent and should concentrate on power my body forward. If my opponent did not move, tai-atari into my opponent.
  • Snappy Men. It was not snappy enough, probably due to the lack of forward momentum when cutting the men. As a result, the shinai could not bounce off the men. The root cure for this problem - power my body forward. Simple.
  • Watch the right foot! My right foot was lifting up when launching for men cut (toes pointing upwards). The correct way should be with the foot parallel to the floor, with minimal foot lifting.
  • One men cut movement. My seme-men cut was executed in two separate movements instead of one quick movement. As a result, it took too long to move in from isoku-ito-no-maai to men. I think that to correct this problem, my footwork should always be ready to launch forward with maximum momentum.

Towards the end of the training, Master Kim explained that there were different foot stance for different cut just before launching the attack. For example, a shorter foot stance for men cut, whereas a longer foot stance for kote cut. I gathered that's because men is further in distance than kote. So the rear leg should bring closer to the front leg in order to gain distance. In the case of kote, the distance was much closer to men. Therefore, the rear leg could be further away from the front leg. This allowed enough distance for the rear leg to push forward at maximum power without closing into the opponent too much.

Master Kim said it was possible to tell which type of players just by looking at their foot stance.

I told Master Kim that his demonstration of moving the body in (without shinai) by pushing into the opponent's body had helped me understand what I should by striving for when launching men cut. He then told us that back in his Korean high school and uni trainings, it was normal routine for them to practice 100 times of that body push exercise per training session. Master Kim told us that all the cuts, whether it's men, kote, doh and tsuki, should cut with the body powering in. The power does not come from the hand and arm but the body. He then demonstrated a few more of that exercise and we tried them against each other. I found that, to have strength in my push, I need to get the distance right. The push must be done at the same time as my right foot land. And, more importantly, I must push my body with my hip forward. Purely pushing with the arm would not give me enough energy to push my opponent backward.

What a simple yet effective exercise! Master Kim promised us that we would practice this exercise in the next training. He said after 3 months, we would be very good at pushing in. I am certainly looking forward to that day coming. =D


Post a Comment

<< Home