a MMB! Kendo Blog: Serendipity

MMB! Kendo Blog

Saturday, May 21, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生

Since the Korean Kumdo Competition, I didn't go to training until today. It wasn't my intention to skip so many training sessions but the unforgiving pain in my right great toe gave me no choice but to rest. What happend was, I was playing squash with my colleagues during lunch on Tuesday. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed the session until I went for this short ball... I dashed in to save the shot. Just before I hit the ball, I applied a sudden brake to stabilise myself, and all the weight happened to transfer to my great toe. I could hear the metatarsophalangeal joint of the great toe (around the sesamoid bone) cracked and that was it. I was in pain after that, and had to limp back to the office. Who would have thought that I could injure myself at a social squash game. I went to the Royal North Shore Hospital to have X-ray that night, and luckily no fracture was found. Phew!!!

Although the joint still hurts and is bruised around the area and I can occassionally hear the cracking noise of the joint when I put slightly more pressure in the medial side of my right foot, I felt that the condition is better now and I could go for training today.

There was a big turnout to today's training. The beginners had to train in the outdoor area again. They were pretty lucky today as Kirby volunteered to take the intermediate beginner class and Andrew van Hamond took the absolute beginner class.

For the people in bogu, we did the normal routine of kirikaeshi, kihon-men, kote-men and kihon-do. Additionally we concentrated on nuki-kote today. Andrew has covered the points that Sano sensei raised during the nuki-kote session in his blog. Basically, we should launch the nuki-waza attack when the opponent has committed into the cut and in the downswing phase of the shinai. To execute nuki-waza, we simply moved our body slightly away from the opponent's shinai swing path and then launched the counter-attack.

Payne sensei then instructed the class to move on to jigeiko with our motodachi, so I played Sano sensei. Before the jigeiko started, Sano sensei came to tell everyone in my line that he would only cut men, and we should not have to worry too much of being cut and should try to practice the waza we have just learnt. I was the first one in the line so I went straight to sonkyu and jigeiko with Sano sensei. I had so much trouble doing a proper sonkyu today. Without the help of my great toe, I kept falling sideway or forward in sonkyu. haha, thinking about it now, I should have done geidan-kamae instead of sonkyu, just like what Kai did in the Nationals Championships with his fractured toe.

Due to limited movement, i told myself to focus more on seme, moving in with pressure, making openings and maintain a good kamae posture and correct application of left foot, instead of cutting in as many time as possible.

Even though Sano sensei played a handicapped men-waza-only jigeiko, it was so difficult to play him today. His seme was so strong that I felt I was totally overwhelmed and being controlled by his game. The osae-waza (pushing the opponent's shinai down) followed by men-cut which I was trying to work on just fell apart. As soon as I did osae-waza, Sano sensei would be one step ahead of me and be in the position to cut my men before I could launch my men-cut. From that, I could easily tell that he could not feel any of my seme. Anyway, the jigeiko ended with me cutting his deliberately opened men.

I went to queue for Isaac Bober after Sano sensei's jigeiko. While I was waiting, Kirby Smith who has just finished teaching the beginner class came to ask me for jigeiko. What an honour for me to play against Kirby. I could sense that a lot of people were watching Kirby, especially since he has just finished teaching the beginner class and the beginners can come inside and it's natural for them to pick Kirby as the one to watch.

After rising from Sonkyu, Kirby went into a kakari-geiko styled jigeiko. I tried my best not to let Kirby and the audience down and do my best to match his stamina and launched attacks myself. Kirby's attacks were really quick. The feeling was like both of us were using a machine-gun to shoot each other, except Kirby's attacking frequency was much higher. The kakari-geiko styled jigeiko probably went on for about a minute and then slowed down to more normal speed. I cannot remember exactly what I did now, but I got a debana-kote on Kirby, so that was good. Kirby then announced ippon-shobu and so we re-adjusted to chudan-no-kamae for the final ippon. It ended in 5 seconds! What happened was I seme in and launched a men-cut, but Kirby saw it and did this beautiful suriage-men on me. BANG! That was it, that's ippon in 5 seconds.

I then went back to queue for Isaac. Unfortunately when it was about to be my turn, Isaac came over and said he had to go at 11:30am and so no more jigeiko for him. Aiyor...

So I went to play Takashi Itakura sensei. A few weeks ago, Itakura sensei's comments prompted me to focus more of my attention on seme and its relationship with my opponent's reaction. I always get highly constructive feedbacks from Itakura sensei. After the jigeiko, Itakura sensei reminded me to keep working on my body posture and don't lean forward and sideway in my men-cut.

I then asked Rick Farquharson to jigeiko with me. The jigeiko went really good, and I really enjoyed playing against Rick. We both tried to play our best kendo and I had a really good opportunity to practice the various things I wanted to perfect at the moment, which include kamae posture, the use of left foot, moving in with seme, and creating openings using shinai. On top of that I also tried to maintain my feinting techniques inventory by going through each of them and trying to see Rick's reaction. It was really good that I was able to revise techniques and practice on new ones during this long jigeiko session with Rick. Thanks Rick, I really enjoy jigeiko'ing with you.

I also had a jigeko with Chris Barbe at the last 10 minutes of the training. While we were playing, I saw Cath lining up, waiting to jigeiko with me. It has been a really really long while since I last played Cath - maybe half a year?? Anyway, Chris and I had an ippon-shobu, but it went on really really long as both sides couldn't make a convincing ippon. When I finally scored an ippon men-cut on Chris, it was already 12noon and so there was no time to jigeiko with Cath. Aiyor, I felt sorry that Cath has been waiting for me but I couldn't play her. Next training I am definitely going to line up for Cath!

Playing with a crooked right foot actually helped me to concentrate on the use of my left foot. As I could not put much weight on my right foot, I was forced to support my body weight with my left foot. I found that my kamae was very stable today and I could apply seme through my right foot by sliding forward and backward with much ease. I will need to build on this feeling and work on the footwork in the next trainings.

Sometimes accident can lead one to pleasant discovery. =P


  • Hey Vivian,

    Hope your toe gets better! You're right about serendipity, though. I recently hurt my back which forced me to reassess my posture, turns out I arch my back and lean back too much. Now I've corrected it I can feel more forward momentum - hopefully this means I can move faster forward and with more zanshin.

    Take it easy, have a rest and don't strain it and put yourself back. Sometimes you come back to kendo even better after a rest!


    By Blogger an9ie, at Monday, May 23, 2005 6:40:00 PM  

  • Thanks Angie. I hope your back is fully recovered too.

    My knowledge is telling me that I should rest my foot for 2 weeks, but my heart and body just couldn't contemplate the horrible idea of no kendo training for 2 weeks. It's a really dilemma for me.

    I will go to only a few training this week, and will try to avoid putting too much force and weight on my inner side of my right foot. So far, the foot is better. If, however, it stills ocassionally cracked while applying slightly more pressure, I think I will visit a sports physio on Saturday before the Willoughby training.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts and well wishes.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Tuesday, May 24, 2005 9:08:00 AM  

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