a MMB! Kendo Blog: Training at Nittaidai

MMB! Kendo Blog

Friday, October 14, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Training at Nittaidai

This is a Kendo World & Seiko teams photo taken at the Kyoto Jitsugyoudan Tournament on Monday. I am in the 2nd row - 2nd from left.

Tuesday Oct-11
All this dream of coming to train at Nittaidai, and now I am here - in this amazing sport institution. On Tuesday, Michael Komoto and I left Alex Bennett's home at midday to catch the 1pm bullet train to Tokyo, and then onwards to Nittaidai. We arrived at Nittaidai at around 5pm, and was met by Kunio Shizawa Sensei and my homestay buddy, Mikiko Hanyo. We discussed my schedule for the next 4 weeks together for about an hour. Then we moved the luggages to Miki's home before returning back to Nittaidai to watch the afternoon kendo training. Shizawa Sensei, MK, Miki and I then went to a nearby small, but classy sushi shop, and later joined by Yagizawa Sensei. We talked a lot throughout the night, not to mention the many beer that goes with the dinner. The 5 of us have probably drank something like 12 1-Litre bottles of beer. From my observation, I think Yagizawa Sensei is a very very good drinker. He drank beer like water.

We had some very interesting conversations. During the dinner, Shizawa Sensei showed us the photos of his 3 luxury boats and they are named after Ron Bennett - Captain Bennett 1, 2 and 3!!! Very classy.

Btw, the sushi chef was a very animated and entertaining person. His chopsticks 'sushi power' demo, and the fake violin performance all fooled us... not to mention his superior skills in sushi-making.

Wednesday Oct-12
Miki and I woke up at 6:30am and arriving at Nittaidai at 7am for the 1hr morning training. There, I was introduced to all the 3rd year student - Shoko, Hoso, Sanae, Sayaka, Kayo, Saiyuri, and Ai. They will be coming to Australia on 12th February 2006, so you guys will meet them too. Takano Aiko, whom I played a shiai match with her in Sydney this year, is now the captain of the Nittaidai Womens Kendo Team.

The morning training session was relatively light compared to what would come next in the afternoon Kendo training sessions. The morning training consists of warm-up stretching, 10mins walking around the Athletics field, 10mins jogging, 2 rotations of 10reps squat/push-up/sit-up/back exercises, and concluded with cool-down stretching.

The afternoon training session started at 4:30pm today. After stretching and suburi, about 20 male member names were called. These guys will be competing at the All Japan University Student Championships this Sunday, and so there was shiai-geiko practices for these 20 members. For the rest of the club, we sat down and had mitori-geiko. During the shiai-geiko, Miki pointed to the room upstairs and said "Furusawa Sensei" and told me that Furusawa Sensei is Kendo 9th Dan Hanshi. 9th Dan!!!! Wow, first day in Nittaidai and I can geiko with a 9th Dan. It's like a dream.

After the shiai-geiko, we had jigeiko, and I engaged geiko with Okada Sensei (womens team head coach), Furusawa Sensei (Kendo 9th Dan), Shintsato Chikano Sensei (womens team coach). At 6:30pm, the kendo club training session finished. Immediately following that was the women kendo training session, which went on for another hour. There were lots of kirikaeshi and men-uchi waza practices. But the exercises that killed me the most was the along the length of the dojo geiko - kirikaeshi, kote-men, renzoku-men, etc... My calves were so tired at the end of the training. Then there were more, the pair-up haya-doh suburi in squating position, etc, etc... At the end, we finished off with about 100 jogeburi, 100 men-suburi, 100 haya-suburi. Then we had a cool-down stretching routine. And that was my first kendo training at Nittaidai.

Below are the advices I received from Sensei:

  • Furusawa Sensei: Good kendo. Try to make the attacks more flowing. Pamm-Bamm, Pamm-Bamm, etc...
  • Okada Sensei: Keep chin tucked in; Body must move in together when executing the cut; Take large step for fumikomi; Left leg must follow up quickly after fumikomi; Right forearm should remain relaxed. Te-no-uchi is uchi for hand (te), not elbow or forearm. Therefore, the forearm and elbow should not have to do much work. It's the hands that do the work. Tense arms -> No power. Shoulder and arms should remain relaxed to generate maximum whipping power; Each cut should be executed like a wall of wave pushing forward; Do not lift arms up after men-cut; Use visualisation to trainthe mind and body to move straight like a wall of wave; No up-down movement and the ki should not die down or disperse after cut.

As you can see, I have been given a lot of great advices in my first day at Nittaidai. Now, I will make sure that I put the above points into practice and improve my kendo.

Miki is part of the Taiko club, and I was fortunate to see the club practices. It's good to have some music background, so I was able to pick up the rhythm relatively quickly. I recognised the piece that they were practicing. It was played in the Nittaidai demo in Sydney. Next year, Miki and the rest of her 3rd year Taiko clubmates will come to Sydney to perform, so we will see them in action.

Okada Sensei, Miki, Hoso and I rode our bikes to dinner at a small specialty restaurant tonight. Only one type of food called Nikomi is served in this store. Nikomi is a beef stew with konyak, tofu. After that, we had milkshakes at Mos Burger next door and chatted for about an hour before returning home.

Thursday - Oct-13

Miki and the rest of the 3rd year students had to attend class at Nittaidai's Yokohama campus and there were no morning kendo training today. So I had plenty of free time before the 4:30pm kendo club training.

Caught a train to Shibuya and walked around the various department stores there, and bought a few cool stationery items.

Today's afternoon club training was in a similar format to yesterday's training. There were 7 shiai-geiko for the men, and that lasted for about 1hr. Following that was free jigeiko. I played Yagisawa Sensei and Watanabe Sensei (Men Team Coach). At 6:30pm, the club training finished. The girls had more strength training exercises (squat/push-up/sit-up/back) until 7pm.

Tonight, Miki and I rode our bikes for about 10mins to a 100 Yen shop nearby the restaurant that we were going tonight. Had a good time chatting plus learning Japanese (and English for Miki) throughout the dinner.

Today - Oct-14

Woke up at 6:30am for 7am morning training. Same routine as Wednesday. At the end of today's training, we would give a back and leg massage to our training buddy to loosen up the tension in the muscles.

That's been what happening to me up until now.

Thank you everyone who have sent me emails and left messages on my blog. Doomo Arigatou Gozaimasu! Gambatte!!!!


  • Hey Vivian,

    You are SO LUCKY to be able to jigeiko with 9th dan sensei. I thought 9th Dan doesn't exist anymore!! This is awesome!! The tips that the sensei's has given you are really useful (especially the imagination thingy since I use a lot of imagination in kendo..=P)I think I'll try and implement some of it tomorow at training.

    Are the womens training hard?I'd like to do some of the stuff you mentioned but unfortunately I'm very lazy and therefore will not continue to do it after a few days. It's a very bad habbit, I know, but it'll never go away. =( ...Anyways, continue writing up all the good stories you have!! Gambatte kudasaine!! =P


    By Blogger hawQ, at Friday, October 14, 2005 11:22:00 PM  

  • Wow Vivian...Nice post! Amazing....I reckon you'll be super powerful when u come back with all the hard training sessions...:D Keep posting!

    By Blogger Paul, at Saturday, October 15, 2005 1:15:00 AM  

  • Hi Viv:

    Training sounds tough but a lot of fun... do you only train with the girls at Nittaidai? That'd be pretty interesting, and they are pretty awesome.

    Reading your blog makes me long for kendo and japan lol... have lots of fun and come back and beat us up ;)

    By Blogger Quoth the raven, at Saturday, October 15, 2005 1:00:00 PM  

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