a MMB! Kendo Blog: Power From Subtle Movements

MMB! Kendo Blog

Monday, September 26, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Power From Subtle Movements

I left work relatively early today and made it to Master Kim's 7pm class on time.

My goals tonight were:

  • Push from the hip when executing cuts.
  • Practice debana-kote when opportunities open.
  • After cutting, move in quickly to deny my opponent the opportunity to cut with enough distance.
  • Explore opportunities to attack in tsubazerai.
I led the class stretching routines, and Master Kim took over the class after that. We did the usual suburi routine and some ashi-sabaki exercises before putting the men and kote on.

In our full bogu, we practiced a few rounds of kirikaeshi, kihon-men, kihon-kote, seme-men, seme-kote-men, uchikomi-geiko, and the last 20minutes on jigeiko with Master Kim.

Power Forward From The Hip
While doing uchikomi-geiko, Master Kim kept urging me to push from my hip to execute the men-cut. I tried my best to move in from the hip as fast as possible but, I too, could feel that I was not moving in fast enough even though I pushed off with my left foot as powerful as I possibly could.

I am wondering if my abdominal and lower back muscles are not strong enough to stablise the upper torso and the extended arms while leaping forward. As a result, the body has the tendency to lean forward, and the power from the lower body cannot be transmitted effectively to the cut. I don't know how correct my proposition is. I will have to try focus on the abs and lower back muscles in the next training to see if it would make a difference.

Kote-Men - Do Not Raise the Tip of the Shinai
Master Kim found that my seme kote-men is not fast enough. The reason? He said I was lifting my shinai up to cut kote. To execute a fast seme-kote, however, there is no need to lift the shinai up and cut the kote in a up-down action. Master Kim demonstrated a few seme-kote cuts to me. The way he executed the kote cut was like slicing the shinai forward into the opponent's kote. To be able to slice into the kote and make the 'BARN' sound, there must be sufficient forward momentum propelling from the hip.

  • Slice forward into the kote. No up-down movements.
  • Must have sufficient foward momentum.
  • Relaxed right arm before cut and tighten it on impact to generate the correct power.
Jigeiko with Master Kim
In the last 20 minutes, the whole class sat down to watch Master Kim jigeiko with the more advanced students one by one. I had two rounds of jigeiko with Master Kim, each lasting for approx. 5 minutes.

Through these jigeiko, I realised that I have been using too much upper body power. At the final moments of each round of jigeiko when my body became tired, my upper torso was not very stable at all, twisting to the left every time my men-cut was blocked. These were the result of the lacking of power in pushing in from the hip.

Next Training...

  • Experiment with the use of abs and back muscles during the cut.
  • When cutting, push from the hip.
  • Practice the slicing-forward action in cutting kote and men.
  • Explore cutting opportunities in tsubazerai.

Battle Scars
What would happen if your friendly fellow kendoka keep missing the targets and ended up hitting on the same non-target area every time?

Answer: see for yourself in the photo.

...Btw, that's my right arm in the photo.


  • haha thats a pretty nasty bruise you earned yourself.
    last 2 weeks I had my whole arm covered with smaller ones, not as big as that though :O
    so viv how do you cut kote quickly?Do I step forward and tap the opponents kote without making a big swing?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, September 27, 2005 3:32:00 PM  

  • I went to Fitness First this morning, and was so worried that the other fellow members were thinking that there was domestic violence in my home.


    Eddie, to make a powerful kote cut with minimal up-down movements, you must really push your whole body forward and carry the momentum to slice into the kote. It's not a 'tap' on the kote if you have sufficient forward momentum. Master Kim can make a powerful "BAMM" sound with the slightest hand momvements.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Tuesday, September 27, 2005 3:57:00 PM  

  • Looks like you had an encounter with a meat tenderiser :-)

    So what is Master Kim's Dojo like -any/many beginners or people new in Bogu?

    By Blogger Mick, at Wednesday, September 28, 2005 6:52:00 AM  

  • haha, meat tenderiser. Never thought about that.

    Master Kim's dojo consists mainly of beginners, around 4 fresh bogu players, and another 3-4 more advanced bogu players.

    In the past 2 weeks that I have attended, there have been around 10-15 students in the Monday night class.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Wednesday, September 28, 2005 9:51:00 AM  

  • Vivian,

    Good news! Lol....USYD won first place for both Kyu and Dan individuals...Daniel won first place for Kyu, Yoshiki came second I think.....Takeshi got gold medal...Lol, it's funny though since he beated Mark Kim (which represents UTS for Uni Games) in the final...:D What do you reckon about first participation in Australian Uni Games? The team competition will be held after lunch, about half an hour for now! I'll keep you updated!!

    By Blogger Paul, at Wednesday, September 28, 2005 12:25:00 PM  

  • Great - might try and get there sometime. North Sydney is it?

    By Blogger Mick, at Wednesday, September 28, 2005 1:39:00 PM  

  • Lol...The Dan team also won the crown....3 gold medals out of 4 categories. We only lost in Kyu Team competition....:) Andrew is part of the winning open team....

    By Blogger Paul, at Wednesday, September 28, 2005 3:52:00 PM  

  • Wow, Paul. 3 out of 4 Golds. That's excellent result for USYD. Very well done!!!

    Thanks for keeping me updated with what's going on up in Brisbane.

    You know, I was about to ring Andrew before I saw your messages.

    Thank you for that. Now, go and celebrate the fantastic results.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Wednesday, September 28, 2005 5:16:00 PM  

  • Mick,

    It's nice to hear that you would like to train in different dojo. I think give it a few more months when you are more confident with all the basics in bogu, then you can consider going to train at Master Kim's dojo.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Wednesday, September 28, 2005 5:19:00 PM  

  • Yeah - need to try and get to SKC more as well - couldn't make last night either :-(


    I might be a once a week Kendo player for a while until things ease up at work.

    By Blogger Mick, at Thursday, September 29, 2005 5:55:00 AM  

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