a MMB! Kendo Blog: Pushing To A Higher Level

MMB! Kendo Blog

Monday, May 09, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Pushing To A Higher Level

I wasn't in the mood to do kendo training tonight. Maybe I have not been going to the Monday training for the past two weeks and my Monday laziness has creeped in. Or more likely it was due to the extra reps of power lunges on top of my daily stair-climber and cross-trainer cardio routine at Fitness First this morning. My bum and thighs were aching the rest of the day, but I decided to go to kendo training at Master Kim's dojo tonight anyway, knowing that I would feel happy and satisfied afterwards.

Master Kim, Jimmy, Chu-Hee as well as four junior players were at training tonight. We did the usual stretching and suburi warm-up routine. Geez, I think I really tired out my bum and thigh muscles at the gym this morning. I got a cramp in my right bum muscle when I was stretching the other parts of the body. Oouch, my bum.... So for the rest of the training, I kept stretching whenever I had a chance.

We did ashi-sabaki exercises, then put on the bogu and did numerous rounds of kirikaeshi and kakari-geiko. We then took turns doing semete-men, semete-kote, and debana-kote 4 times at a time.

One step debana-kote
With the debana-kote, I actually did more than 4 debana-kote because Master Kim was not satisfied with my footwork. So I had to repeat the waza again and again until Master Kim was satisfied. The problem was that I kept moving into my opponent after debana-kote and cramped out the distance. Master Kim emphasised that I should just take one fumikomi-step and that's it. No more stepping forward. Just one step. The distance has been closed in when my opponent came for the cut and there was no need to move in. Master Kim suggested that I could even take a step back after debana-kote so that I wouldn't get tangled up and would be able to show zanshin. I tried this new way of doing zanshin in debana-kote and it felt so much cleaner than before. I will need to practice and experiment the various way of zanshin in debana-kote to find out how I can convince the shinpan judging my match in the future.

After the waza practice, we had 4 bouts of mawari-geiko with the junior players. After that, the junior players left the court and the rest of us had 2 rounds of jigeiko, which lasted for 30 minutes. I had my two jigeiko with Jimmy and Master Kim.

There were quite a number of things I wanted to work on in the jigeiko. It's funny how things that I need to work on kept popping up in my head one by one. One minute, my brain was telling me to keep my hand position in check; the next minute, it was reminding me to work on seme and try psyching my opponents out; then again, it was telling me to make sure my left foot is holding up correctly. With so many things to work on at once, it required a lot of effort to keep the concentration as these things were still unnatural movements for me. However, I should expect that will become easier as the more I practice. Anyway, working on my *psyching* power was quite a lot of fun. It's fun to see the reaction of my opponent.

I tried a new way of doing uchiotoshi tonight. I usually do uchiotoshi from the outside (i.e. knocking my opponent's shinai on the right hand side). However, I tried uchiotoshi from the inside this time. I watched the 2004 All Japan 7th Dan Championships DVD again and saw Miyazaki scored a brilliant uchiotoshi-men that way in his 3rd round match. Yes, I was watching that DVD again. I am just addicted to everything Miyazaki now. Miyazaki is the Kendo God, and I want to learn every movement from him. Thank you to Andrew for giving me this precious Kendo Bible.

Anyway, back to the variant of uchiotoshi. I replayed that point Miyazaki scored with that uchiotoshi-men so many times that the movements and image have now stucked in my head. I tried to imitate Miyazaki's movement and had some early success with this new technique. At ippon-shobu in the jigeiko against Jimmy, I used this very waza and was able to score, which was very encouraging for me.

Against Master Kim, however, it was much more difficult to execute either style of uchiotoshi-men. I was able to land a few cuts on Master Kim's men, but all were too light and could not be considered as ippon cuts. During the jigeiko, I had two moments of lapse of concentraion, and Master Kim quickly followed those up with a straight men cut. BANG!!! Apart from uchiotoshi-men, I also tried other feinting techniques, debana-kote... but Master Kim was able to read my intentions, and deflected all my attacking attempts.

Just when I was running out of ideas to surprise Master Kim, the thought of doing a katsugi-men popped up in my head. Before I executed the technique, I tried to recall everything that Fukuda Sensei taught me about the katsugi-waza - moving forward while executing katsugi. So I went for it... and Yes, Master Kim opened up his men when I executed the katsugi waza, and I followed that up with a men cut. I wouldn't say it was a beautiful ippon, as I reckon my body was leaning forward a bit, but it was good to get this point anyway. I think it is such a good surprise waza that I should work on and refine it more so that I can use it in tight shiai situation.

Blocking with minimal movements
At the conclusion session, Master Kim pointed out that our blocking movements were too large. The movements in blocking and deflecting the opponent's attack should be kept to the minimum, and as close to the centre as possible so that a counter-attack can be quickly followed up.


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