a MMB! Kendo Blog: Taking One Step Further

MMB! Kendo Blog

Saturday, September 24, 2005


忍耐 + 掌握人生
Taking One Step Further

I am very happy that, right now, I can sit back, relax and slowly reminiscence the events in the past two weeks.

It has been an eventful two-week. Too eventful, in fact, to have the luxury to sit down and carefully think about what's been happening.

You have probably heard about the spider bites stories in the last blog entry. My right hand and arm were bitten by a spider at 4 different locations almost 2 weeks ago, and was swollen up like a blown-up latex glove for a few days. It's only yesterday that I finally finished all the prescribed antibiotics tablets. And so, I only trained at a dojo once in the 1st of the past 2 weeks at Willoughby on Wednesday night - teaching the beginner class with Andrew van Hamond. This week, however, I am back into training 4 times in various dojo.

So I report what it's been happening for me kendo-wise.

1000 Haya-Suburi
While I was unable to put my kote on to do normal training due to the swelling of my hand and arm a week ago, I have been doing some haya-suburi practices at home every day, with the aim of increasing the number of continuous haya-suburi. It's been OK doing 200 continuous Haya-suburi, 300 was barely OK. Beyond 300, I couldn't do Haya-suburi without lazy jumps and small swings. And so I normally stopped at the 200 or 300 mark to catch my breath and stretch my calves and achilles tendon, especially the left side, as it tends to tense up quickly when jumping forward in Haya-suburi. To prevent overly tight calves and achilles tendon injuries, I stretch them as much as possible.

Depending on my mood and time of the day, I might do a few reps of the few 100s Haya-suburi. Last Friday while watching the AFL game of Sydney Swans vs St Kilda in front of the TV, I did a few reps of 200s and 300s Haya-suburi to reach 1000. The next day, my chest and shoulder were aching from muscle tiredness. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if I didn't do the stretching... I probably wouldn't be able to lift my arms up. Surprisingly, the calves were tired but generally OK.

4 Trainings, 4 Dojos
I have revved up my training back to 4 times at 4 different dojos this week. Monday at Master Kim's dojo; Wednesday at SKC, Thurday at UNSW, and Saturday... Ah, yes, I am training again on Satudray... at USYD.

Seme in Kamae
It's been half a year since I last trained at Master Kim's dojo, and my first time since Master Kim's dojo moved to North Sydney PCYC. It was great to see a lot more beginners training here than back in Artarmon. On Monday night, we practiced some basic waza, followed by jigeiko.

I had the opportunities to jigeiko with Master Kim twice in the final session. It's great to play against opponent's with powerful seme, which really made me re-think about my own kamae and the strength of my own seme on my opponent. I could feel that Master Kim's seme was overwhelming my composure, and this really shows that I need to improve my own kamae and the application of seme to suppress my opponent's seme.

What contribute to powerful seme in kamae? I can think of the followings:
1. Holding the centre-line
2. Good, straight posture in kamae
3. Push forward from the hip

I can only think of the above 3 points, which, I think, are the keys to generate powerful seme. Although there are only 3 points, it will take years and years of persistent practice to perfect them.

Holding the centre-line and keeping good posture were generally OK for me until my arms and shoulders became tired. When the tiredness kicked in, my mind couldn't focus on holding the centre-line. Then my shoulder slumped, which affected the ability to leap forward when the opportunities to cut become momentarily available.

How to Increase the Power of Seme
From what I gathered, I think I certainly need to improve my endurance level which would allow me to maintain strong seme for a longer period of time. Also, I must consciously remind myself about the abovementioned 3 points especially when I become tired, so that maintaining a strong kamae will become a natural part of my kendo.

Cutting with Straight Posture
After the training, Master Kim pointed out that my body leaned forward when attempting to cut kote. As a result, my left foot was not able to follow up, which rendered nidan waza impossible.

So the main focus for me now is to get my body straight when cutting, especially for the kote cuts. Once the posture is straight, make sure I am bringing my left foot up and be ready to execute nidan waza.

Seme-Men
Paul Rixon Sensei visited SKC on Wednesday. He introduced us to a new seme-men exercise. The motodachi maintains the shinai in the centre. The student will then attempt to cut the motodachi's men by moving forward and sliding the shinai against the motodachi's shinai, which will push the motodachi's shinai to the side with the fatter part of the shinai in the process, and then take the centre to cut men.

Of course, I grabbed the chance to jigeiko with Rixon Sensei in the final session. Rixon Sensei's feedback on my jigeiko was scarily close to what Master Kim had told me on Monday. I really need to focus on cutting with straight back and aim to execute nidan waza.

Kote-Nuki-Men
On Thursday's UNSW training, we did about 100 haya-suburi, several rotations for each of the kirikaeshi, uchikomi-geiko, and ai-kakari-geiko exercises. These were followed by the waza session, which Kirby led us to practice kote-nuki-men. Kirby pointed out that this waza is particularly effective in shiai, because nuki-waza is clean and the point can be easily identified by the shimpan. Importantly, the men target area is protected by the hands during the arm-raising process of nuki waza. So even if the opponent cut men instead of kote, the men target will be blocked by the hands.

Taking One Step Further
I haven't been able to train in Willoughby on Saturday morning since my physiotherapy work experience started in late July. The non-kendojo training days between Thursday and the following Monday left a big gap in my training routine every week. So today, I have decided to turn up to USYD 3:30pm - 5pm training... and it has turned out to be very beneficial.

The UniGames will be held this coming Wednesday, so today there was shiai-geiko practice.

I played Yukari in my match. I think I played a OK match. My stamina was there and I was able to follow through my cuts and close in to my opponent, instead of stopping in front of the opponent after the cut. However, I could really feel that my inability to execute nidan waza was detrimental in my shiai performance. After one cut, it took me a while to re-adjust for the next cut.

On the other hand, Yukari was very strong overall, particularly in tsubazerai. She possessed a good repertoire of techniques and were able to apply them throughout the match. She really made me guess what she would do in the next moves throughout the shiai. She was very good at exploring cutting opportunties from her bags of feinting techniques. tehehe, something that I would like to acquire too.

The match ended 1-0 to Yukari who scored a hiki-kote just before my hiki-men from the tsubazerai position.

Following the shiai-geiko was free jigeiko. It was during this jigeiko session that I had a really good look and practice in keeping my body straight and my left foot up when executing kote-cut. As a result, I was also able to do a few nidan waza, such as kote-men and men-men.

I have also focus my waza practice on debana-kote and zanshin that followed. It is happy for me to say that I feel I have made some progress in this.

Focus At Next Training
1. Keep an eye on the cutting posture
2. Aim to execute Nidan waza
3. Keep practicing debana kote and the zanshin that follows

Transthoracic Echocardiogram Report
After having the cardiologist visit 2 weeks ago, the ECG report has finally arrived to my doorstep this week. The report was very encouraging and the 'resting ECG confirms sinus bradycardia of 45/minute with normal conduction and repolarisation'.

For those who have an interest in cardiology and scientific data, below are the technical section of the report.

History: Physiological sinus bradycardia.
2D and colour doppler study; M-Mode measurements

Dimension------------Result---Adult Normal Range
Septum---------------1.0------(0.7-1.1 cm)
Posterior Wall-------0.9------(0.7-1.1 cm)
LV End Diastolic-----5.0------(3.5-5.6 cm)
LV End Systolic------3.4------(2.5-4.1 cm)
Aortic Root----------2.6------(2.0-3.7 cm)
Left atrium----------3.1------(1.9-4.0 cm)
LV ejection fraction-65%-------Tape 815/

Mitral inflow velocity E point----90 cm/sec
Mitral inflow velocity A point----37 cm/sec

While doing some research on ECG result, I came across this research article - Echocardiographic findings in strength- and endurance-trained athletes. This article is quite lengthy, but the findings on the relationship between heart size, body weight, body dimension and the type of sports engaged are very interesting.

6 Comments:

  • Hey Viv,

    Lol...U came when I wasn't training...Such a pity for me! Lol...I hope u had fun in Sydney Uni...I must agree that straightening the back is really difficult...I'm also working on the same matter :) Come often to USYD!!

    By Blogger Paul, at Sunday, September 25, 2005 11:07:00 AM  

  • Hey Paul,

    I was looking for you yesterday. Will you be competing at the UniGames? If so, all the best in the comp.

    I hope to geiko with you next Saturday before I leave for Japan next month. Will you come?

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Sunday, September 25, 2005 11:58:00 AM  

  • I know what you mean about not being able to train as often as you like - frustration!

    I've had just too much work travel lately and it seems that Kendo is being affected.....

    I hope you will be at SKC on Wednesday - I'll be making a big effort to get there myself....thats if i don't jet off to NZ again. :-)

    By Blogger Mick, at Sunday, September 25, 2005 2:34:00 PM  

  • I will surely be at training on Wednesday. I hope you will be there too and we can geiko together.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Sunday, September 25, 2005 7:11:00 PM  

  • Hey Viv,

    Yea I didn't know u would come....I won't go to UniGames..:( coz of my laziness for the previous two months...Hahahaha...So I said to myself that it wouldn't be fair to join the convoys.....perhaps I'll go to Burwood invitation next month...if we're invited..:P...and next year for UniGames...Besides, mum is in Sydney for the whole week....That was why I couldn't come last Saturday...I'll be there next week though...Hope to see you there...

    By Blogger Paul, at Sunday, September 25, 2005 9:21:00 PM  

  • That's great, Paul. I shall see you next week. :D

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Sunday, September 25, 2005 9:29:00 PM  

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