忍耐 + 掌握人生
Kendo: A Psychological Mind Game
Understand and control your opponent's mind
This week, I was again working on the uchiotoshi-men. However, it didn't quite work and I found out that my opponents didn't feel any pressure when I execute uchiotoshi and they were able to re-adjust their shinai to stop me coming in for men cut. I discussed this problem with Itakura Sensei on Saturday during the jigeiko with him. He suggested me to take a step forward and experiment with how my opponent would react with my step-in. The objective is to create enough seme to make my opponent reacts in some way (e.g. lifting the shinai up, stepping back, etc). When they feel my seme and react, I can go in and execute my cuts.
Itakura Sensei said that understanding how to influence my opponent's psychological state in kendo is very important. Using brute force to move my opponent's shinai away is one way of attacking. Influencing the psychological state so that my opponent's destabilise their kensen themselves is another way of attacking. However, the latter one would be the longer-lasting type of kendo.
Itakura Sensei's comments remind me of what Miyazaki Sensei, 8th Dan, said to me after the 30AKC. Miyazaki Sensei said that his kendo has become more of a mind game, and he considered himself to be playing the best kendo now than ever before, even when facing the younger, faster, physically stronger players. That's because he has mastered the psychological play in kendo. He is able to grasp his opponent's psychological state and control it. So without using too much power, he is able to overcome his younger and quicker opponent.
Fukuda Sensei: "don't extend my arms too much in chudan no kamae."
I also experimented with keeping my arms closer to my body in hiki waza. In hiki-men, I used to extend my arms quite far, and then flicking the wrist to cut men. On the advice from Fukuda Sensei, I tried to keep my arms closer to my chest as long as possible before extending out to cut men. I found the hiki-men cut became more powerful that way.
Kirby Smith: "Keep my chin in when cutting men."
Takeshi: "Don't step backwards before going forward for men-cut. If opponent steps forward, try to stand ground and keep the centre of the kensen."