a MMB! Kendo Blog: November 2005

MMB! Kendo Blog

Saturday, November 19, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
My Physio Consultation

I had my physio appointment this morning. I told Tristan, one of the two physio who worked at the clinic on Saturday, about how I rolled my ankle. He noted them down, and did some palpation and resistant tests starting from the lateral side of my left foot. Strangely, I felt no pain at all on the lateral side, which we both found very strange. Then Tristan turned to palpate the medial side, and Oouch! The bone called navicular was very sore when he pressed around that area. Then he did some ankle inversion resistant test on me, and it was very painful. So that was a very interesting result. We both thought it would be a lateral ligament sprain and would be easy to diagnose. But no, I have jammed the medial ligament connecting to the Navicular bone, which controls the ankle inversion function.

I was given a set of gentle ankle exercises to do, as well as ultra-sound, foot compression, and cryotherapy. I will continue to do them at home, and will revisit the clinic on Tuesday and Thursday after work next week.

When I asked how long it will take to heal the ankle properly, Tristan told me that it's 4 - 6 weeks. He said I will be 'really pushing it' if I am to play in the State Championships in 2 weeks time. It's a tough dilemma, but I think it's prudent for me to heal my ankle properly first. So reluctantly I will need to give this year's State a miss. That will then ensure that I will be 100% ready for the national squad training in Jan, and so on.

Friday, November 18, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Positive Mind more important than ever

Importance of Kirikaeshi
I attended the UNSW training last night. Kirby led the 20-people class and started off with a QA section on what's the importance of doing kirikaeshi. 'Big cut', 'distance', 'correct angle of cut' were some of the replies from the class. Kirby then asked the class to practice a few rounds of kirikaeshi with those purposes in mind, and the motodachi would not block his/her partner's cut so to allow him/her to practice crisp and correct angle of cutting.

We then practiced a few rounds each of seme hiki-men, hiki-kote, and hiki-doh, where the players in each pair would practice the men-hiki-(men/kote/doh) waza by going up and down the width of the hall.

During the practice I realised that my head was tilting back while executing the hiki-waza. So from now on, I must remember to look straight ahead, with chin tucked in every time I execute hiki-waza.

We then did about 6 rounds of short ai-uchikomi-geiko. The most difficult thing in ai-uchikomi-geiko was that there would be many occassions where both sides would get entangled into a mess when both tried to execute the same cut at the same time. Although ai-uchikomi-geiko was the most tiring of all sessions, I really enjoyed it because it kind of reminded me the even scarier kakari-geiko I have experienced in Nittaidai. That was a smashing experience, which I strangely learn to love. Crazy, isn't it?

Kirby then led the class to practice men-debana-kote. Kirby emphasised that both sides must cut as realistically as possible to make the practice worthwhile.

About executing de-kote, there is no need to take a large step forward. A fumikomi on the same spot would be sufficient to cut the opponent's kote as the opponent would close off the distance while executing men cut.

With only 7 minutes left on the clock, we had jigeiko session. I was really looking forward to this, especially when I know that my training partners in the next few rotations would be Michael, Mark Stone, Sano Sensei, etc...

I was again concentrating on exploring attacking opportunities in tsubazerai situation, and the practicing of various way to execute hiki-waza. And of course, keep on working on making explosive and decisive tobikomi-waza.

The Sprained Left Ankle Challenge
I was really enjoying the jigeiko with Michael. The intensity kept my adrenalin pumping. About half-way through the jigeiko with Mike, I executed a hiki-men cut with variations of my footwork just before the cut. When I completed the hiki-waza and was going backward, I bumped into Dave Forrester and landed my left foot on his and rolled my ankle quite heavily. I couldn't put any weight on to my left foot afterwards, and didn't dare to put any, because it was pretty sore even with no weight bearing.

Kirby was so kind to arrange ice for me straight away and bandaged my foot. I hope with this early first aid R.I.C.E. treatment, the healing time for my sprained ankle will be significantly reduced.

I applied further icing when I arrived home, and reapplied bandaging. It was pretty tough and tiring to do the easiest thing, like walking upstairs and taking shower, or just walking from the computer room to my bedroom. I was limping everywhere.

This morning I hired a pair of crutches and went to work. haha, so many pairs of strange but supportive eyes looked at me while I was limping with my crutches from Wynyard station all the way, along George Street, to my office.

Tomorrow I will have a physio appointment at the clinic where I do my weekly physio training. Hopefully, Tristan and Mary will have some advices for me to further reduce the recovery time.

I hope positive mind will have a positive result to my recovery time. With two weeks to go till the State Championships, now is the time to be as positive as I can be. Gambarimashoo!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
World Cup here we come

I am absolutely ecstatic about the Socceroos win over Uruguay at the moment. As a team, the Socceroos prevailed to the end in the most admirable way. What an exciting way to finish. The final shoot-off was a breath-taking heartstopper. Mark Schwarzer, you are a champ! The heroic figure who saved two goals to take Australia to the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany. Hooray!!!

Tonight's been a fantastic night for me. Not only because of the Socceroos win, but because my training is going great. I could feel my kendo improving and becoming stronger.

I attended the training session at Master Kim's dojo tonight. There were a total of 9 players training tonight - Yoshi and Taek were there, as well as 5 beginners.

The first half of the training was devoted to kihon. I love spending time on kihon. Especially now that I have got tonnes of advices on kihon, the kihon session is a great opportunity for me to play better and correct kendo.

My cuts were explosive tonight. The kihon swings were big, which Okada Sensei always asked from his Nittaidai students. My left leg was pushing my whole body forward (instead of jumping forward), which made my body travelled straight and forward faster. Additionally the large fumikomi step helped increased the power of my men-cut. Each perfect cut that landed on the motodachi tonight sent extra energy through my body to want to cut again. That feeling was absolutely exhilarating. I felt great.

In the last 30mins of the training, Master Kim, Yoshi, Taek and myself had jigeiko with each other. I concentrated on applying seme, making good decisive cuts and further improve my skills in tsubazerai situations. It's great that I can now confidently say that I have added one more thing to my tokui waza list, and I am so happy for that.

In my next training, I would like to work on the composure of my kamae, so that it won't waver when my opponent started to make a move.

I will endeavour to keep this good energy flowing... My body and my mind are feeling great!

Monday, November 14, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Explosive Feeling

Tonight I had my best keiko since coming back from Japan. Catching up on sleep over the weekend certainly helped get the energy flowing again. I felt explosive tonight.

There were 11 people at Pyrmont training tonight. I had jigeiko with Jayson, Taek, Itakura Sensei, Onodera Sensei, Payne Sensei, Isaac, Toshio, Andrew, and Jayson again in that order. The only person I missed playing because of the rotation was Chris.

Big-Step Fumikomi
Tonight I was concentrating on the launching and fumikomi during my men-cut - right foot takes big step fumikomi; left foot supports the launching (no flying, trailing left leg). By concentrating on these basics, I could feel my body moving forward in a more power fashion and a lot more forward momentum than it used to be. As a result, I could feel my attack become much stronger.

Itakura Sensei pointed out that I need to build up my seme before an attack. So then I tried using the movements of my kensen, my body and my footwork to get reaction from my opponents and create opportunities for attacking.

I love playing against Nishimoto-san's nito. Alas, I only had 30 seconds jigeiko with him towards the end of the training session. I am eagerly looking forward to my next jigeiko with him to practice gyaku-doh and, hmmm... tsuki. As I mentioned before, kendoka who plays jodan or nito sends an automatic tsuki invitation to his/her opponent. I am taking this invitation, of course!

Forearm Positioning
Beware of my arm movements and positioning just before an attack. Make sure that I don't lift my hand up or lean my body forward to signal an impending attack. Keep my kamae tall and straight, and my arms relaxed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
This is just the Beginning

When the plane touched down on the runway, the word that Brett Smith said to me while we were in Japan kept echoing in my head. 'Responsibility'.

It is now my responsibility to maintain the same level of training intensity, which I have undergone in Nittaidai, back here in Australia. Nittaidai is certainly a great start to becoming serious about improving my kendo. I have been fortunate enough to receive a great deal of good advices from many Sensei, Sempai and friends. However, Nittaidai is just the beginning. There are many things to work on from now on, and I realise that it will take some time to make significant improvement in my kendo even with all the advices I have been given. So now, first and foremost, it is crucial that I make a conscious effort and put all my heart into every training I attend, and practice what I have learnt in Japan.

Pyrmont and UNSW - Monday 7/11

Thanks to Mike Henstock, I went to training at Pyrmont plus UNSW tonight. It wasn't my plan to go to 2 dojos until Mike called me up at 6.45pm when I just returned home from work. What a great idea I thought! So I visited 2 dojos tonight.

Nishimoto-san's Nito
8 people turned up to the Pyrmont training, including Payne Sensei, Itakura Sensei and Onodera Sensei. The highlight of tonight's training was the jigeiko with Nishimoto-san.

Nishimoto-san was playing jodan all night until the very last jigeiko rotation between him and me. I was a little surprised when he changed into nito, but I wasn't too shocked because he has been carrying nito in his shinai bag for a while. I guess now the time is ready for him to use nito in jigeiko.

Normally, it would take me a while to get into gear when playing against someone with unusual kendo. But not this time. Thanks to Nittaidai, I have faced so many strong kendo players in the past month that I have forgotten how to freak out, but to deal with what is in front of me as quickly as possible.

It's great that Nishimoto-san decided to play nito. In my mind, someone who plays nito is like sending a tsuki invitation. So of course, I tried tsuki throughout the jigeiko. It's so cool. Plus, now that I have a little bit of exposure to gyaku doh practice while I trained in Nittaidai, I also executed a number of gyaku-doh on Nishimoto-san's now wide-exposed hidari-doh (he is holding up the long sword with his left hand).

The most difficult thing in playing against a nito player is to deal with the short sword. I had a discussion with Michael Komoto about playing against nito players, and his advice on this was to bring the shinai closer to the chest than you normally would in chudan no kamae. Your shinai would be pointing outward, slanted in a way that makes your nito opponent unable to use the short sword to knock your shinai down unless he comes very close to you. In that sense, you have made your nito opponent's short sword ineffective. So now, you have an advantage of dealing with the nito player's one-handed long shinai attack with your more powerful two-handed attack.

I look forward to the jigeiko with Nishimoto-san tonight, and try out the new strategy.

Jigeiko and Thoughts
The Monday training at Pyrmont and UNSW were all jigeiko, so I had a good opportunity to try and practice the many things I learnt from Japan.

I realised that my practicing partners were able to execute debana-kote on me just when I went for men-uchi. The problem is that my seme-men is still in two motions - I swing the shinai up too much, thus exposing my kote. So from now on, I will really need to focus on extending my arms and cut in one motion.

Hornsby - 8/11
I was concentrating on my kamae, particularly the position of my left hand, and the men-uchi's arm-swing motion.