a MMB! Kendo Blog: Kendo is back!

MMB! Kendo Blog

Friday, September 02, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Kendo is back!

I have had 4 kendo training in 4 consecutive nights – Pyrmont on Monday, Hornsby on Tuesday, Willoughby on Wednesday, and UNSW on Thursday. Every night, I felt that the bits and pieces of my kendo jigsaw puzzles were slowly but very surely piecing together.

Monday Lesson: Stamina
I had my first kendo training at Pyrmont after a full 2 weeks break. My goal on Monday was to allow my body to adapt to kendo training again. I was also keen to see where my stamina was after the 2 weeks break.

My attacking and defending movements were quite unnatural, which I had expected. The intuitive feeling wasn’t there. I had to force myself to think about seme – putting pressure on my opponents. I had to think a lot about how to create attacking opportunities and when would be a good time to go for the attack. As I had to consciously remind myself of so many things, it was difficult to launch an attack when the opportunities momentarily opened. Despite all that, I would say I had a relatively good training. My body was able to hold up surprisingly well after the one-hour jigeiko.

Tuesday Lesson: Confidence & Realising the Intention of Seme
I had much trouble in the jigeiko with Strenger Sensei. The style he played on Tuesday was closed distance quick consecutive attacks. I couldn’t adapt to Strenger Sensei’s distance and attacking rhythms, and was placed in a very defensive mode. Every time Strenger Sensei moved into, what I think, too close a distance, I took a step back to adjust the distance back to issoku-ito-no-maai. However, Strenger Sensei would push forward again, so I took yet another step back. In the end, I was just being pushed backwards all the time, and Strenger Sensei was able to launch his renzoku-waza attacks.

I felt so pressurized by Strenger Sensei closed distance renzoku waza I was very confused and in fear. I tried to steady myself and applied seme, but it wasn’t going anywhere. I was so confused that I told Strenger Sensei that I found it very difficult to play against his closed distance attacking style.

Strenger Sensei pointed out two important things which were exactly what I was having trouble with – Confidence in my own ability and knowing how to capitalise on seme.

Strenger Sensei’s words have definitely helped me greatly in speeding up my comeback in playing my own kendo. The feeling was finally back with me on Wednesday night training.

Wednesday Lesson: Overcoming Fear by Fully-committed Attack
The jigeiko with Doug was the turning point of my comeback to my kendo. Somehow that special energy and pumped up feeling were rushing through my body. I was feeling so good, so eager to make a fully committed attack and my body was just working the way I wanted. It felt absolutely fantastic.

The differences in the cut on Wednesday night and the nights before were that the cuts on Wednesday nights were much more explosive. The follow-through footwork was also quicker and the zanshin was sharper.

Thursday Lesson: Building Stamina & Kendo Fluency
It was such a good decision to come to train in UNSW. Mike took the warm-up and we did about 110 haya-suburi. Although it was only 110, they were done in a super fast pace.

Kirby then led the class after the suburi session. We did numerous rotations of kirikaeshi, uchikomi-geiko, shiai-styled men-uchi, debana-kote. Then we had jigeiko in the last 30 minutes of the training.

I played Sussan, Cecilija, Mark Stone, Yoshiki, Mike and Adam in that order. The jigeiko were so much fun again. My swings were more natural and the cuts were based on intuition rather than on a plan. I had a super long jigeiko with Mike. Well, maybe it wasn’t that long but my body was so exhausted after playing Mark and Yoshiki that the jigeiko with Mike seemed to go on for a long time. But it wasn’t a stale jigeiko, we were both really going for the cuts and the tension was there. Playing against good players really boosted my kendo level and I was so mentally pumped up in that jigeiko. It was certainly my jigeiko of the week.

Two feedbacks after training from Mike and Mark:

  • Mike: Don’t hold the shinai up just to block because it doesn’t achieve anything.
  • Mark: After debana-kote, I had the tendency of staying in the same spot, which gave my opponent opportunities to cut again. For example, during my jigeiko with Mark, there were numerous time where we went for ai-kote. After we both missed the kote cuts, I stayed in the same spot, while Mark followed up with men and scored. So I need to be more aware of my position after kote, or try following the kote cut with, say, men-cut.

Btw, I was looking at the Kendo Nippon website yesterday morning and found that its latest issue has a DVD video on Gyokuryuki High School Kendo Tournament. So I went to buy a copy at Kinokuniya in the afternoon and borrowed my colleague's laptop to watch it. Waaaaaaaa, the kendo is so full of life and energy. I am going to watch the video properly again tonight. http://www.skijournal.co.jp/kendo/book/0510/main.html


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