a MMB! Kendo Blog: The Burning Desire for Kendo

MMB! Kendo Blog

Saturday, December 10, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
The Burning Desire for Kendo

I feel like I have regained my freedom again. I can't describe enough of just how happy I am feeling right now. The feeling is like being freed from a cage. I feel so full of energy.

Yes yes YES, I am back to Kendo training again!

It's been 3 weeks, 2 days and 7 physio sessions since I sprained my ankle, and I can tell you, it is a looong time to be out of action. It felt like an eternity, especially when I had to watch my fellow kendoka training hard and competing in the State Championships. Doubly agonising was the fact that I have just returned from the crazy Nittaidai training and just has this burning desire to train as hard as I possibly can. It felt so torturous to be bounded to the chair when my fellow kendoka were having great keiko right in front of my eyes. I am so happy to be back on my feet now, literally, and on to the dojo floor.


So today, I returned to the Saturday 10am - 12noon Willoughby training.

I dropped by the Sports Physiotherapy clinic in Crows Nest at 9am. Tristan did an excellent job in taping up my ankle, which gave greater stability and support for the kendo action to come.

My initial plan and goal for today's training was to practice kihon waza and kirikaeshi, to get my body back into kendo action, and to get the arm-foot-body coordination right. But NO JIGEIKO. That WAS my plan.

However, once I got into full bogu, I ditched my plan completely. I just wanted to play kendo. I wanted to keiko with all my friends.

We had an ashi-sabaki session, before putting on the men and kote for the kihon waza session. We did kiri-kaeshi, kote-men-uchi (both omote and ura), harai-kote and I think that's it.

Okada Sensei: Big Men Suburi
Okada Sensei's words kept echoing in my head while I did kiri-kaeshi. While I was in Nittaidai, Okada Sensei was really strict about our kihon-men swing. He demanded the arms to lift waaay above the head in the up-swing, which felt like an exaggerated movements. If the Nittaidai girls didn't lift the arms high enough, he would shout and demand everyone to lift their arms up, even after hundreds and hundreds of haya-suburi. So while I was executing kiri-kaeshi today, I naturally had my arms swing really high up above my head. Even though my swings felt slower, it felt so nice and good. So proper and straight.

Oh, the harai-kote practice was great. I think I am in love with cutting kote now. The coolest part about kote-uchi is the improvisation of zanshin that follows the cut. To be able to cut a beautiful kote and then show convincing zanshin in the most natural way are absolutely beautiful to watch. KOTE KOTE KOTE!!!!

Time flies when you are thoroughly enjoying the time doing kendo. After a blink of the eye, it was 11pm already! And Payne Sensei announced Jigeiko to begin. Oh, JIGEIKO.

Should I or Shoud I Not?
Arghhh, dilemma time. Should I or should I not? I said I wouldn't do jigeiko today. But then my ankle seems to be doing fine… Thinking... Ah, stuff it. I am feeling so great, and my ankle is holding up well. Actually, my ankle is holding up exceedingly well. Apart from not being able to do a full plantar-flexion for toes push-off, my ankle is feeling great. OK. That's it. I have made up my mind. I am GOING TO JIGEIKO. Jigeiko I did, and for one hour non-stop. Oh, it felt so good!

First I had jigeiko with Toshio. I wanted to jigeiko against his nito, but his nito shinai was at the opposite end of the dojo. So instead, I jigeiko'ed against a jodan Toshio. Oh, the jigeiko was awesome. I was so fully charged up, excited and ready to jigeiko, I think I must have geared up a few notches. Toshio would try katate-men on me, and I would try kote, gyaku-doh, tsuki… basically whatever waza when the opportunity presented itself. The intensity of the jigeiko was very high, and we both made good ippons on each other throughout the jigeiko. We finished off the jigeiko with an ippon-shobu, and Toshio took it with a swift and beautiful katate-men on me.

Following that were jigeiko with Gideon, Ben and Rick. The jigeiko were great, and I had the opportunity to do a lot of practice on debana-kote. The jigeiko with Rick, however, ended with a splinted shinai for Rick after a long long ippon-shobu which lasted for 10mins, or maybe more.

The jigeiko with the newly-crowned NSW Champion - Takashi Itakura Sensei - was illuminating. He is always able to reveal my weaknesses very quickly. While I thought I had a perfect chudan-no-kamae with kensen pointing straight to the centre, Itakura Sensei just cut my kote which seemed to come from nowhere. It was like 'What!? I had my kensen right in the middle. How did that kote cut happen?'

Apparently, my kensen were pointing relatively lower than Itakura Sensei's kensen. So even though my kensen was in the centre, Itakura Sensei's shinai was on top of my shinai. So all he had to do was to take one step forward, and my kote would be complete open for him to cut. Soo desu ga... Next time, I must also be aware of my opponent's kensen relative to mine.

Toshio, being the most interesting kendoka who excels in a variety of kamae, I just wanted to jigeiko with him for one more time today. This time, he had his Nito.

It has only been 4 weeks since I had my last jigeiko with Toshio, and what a great improvement he had made to his nito. He was able to utilise his two swords more effectively as a pair now. A quick block with the short shinai, and the long shinai would swiftly come down to attack. My gyaku-doh did not work as well as it did a month ago. Toshio would be able to come straight for my men whenever I missed my gyaku-doh. His nito is improving at an amazing rate. Now, I have to think of a new strategy to keiko with him.

The jigeiko ended with ippon-shobu, and I grabbed that point off Toshio's men while he was backing off from his previous attack.

Wow, what a great keiko! Now, I have the insatiable desire to train more and more. To keep the "Nittaidai" feeling in me, and to practice on all the advices I have been given.


  • Vivian on Fire!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, December 12, 2005 2:15:00 PM  

  • Wow, Eddie. Thank you for your comment. You are really quick. I am so surprised to know that you still keep checking my blog while I have been off kendo for so many weeks.

    Thank you for your support. Doomo Arigatou Gozaimasu!

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Monday, December 12, 2005 3:24:00 PM  

  • Hullo Vivian!

    I tried out the big men cuts during kirikaeshi. It really makes the cut more accurate but my arms were pretty..erm..tired after a few tries..hehehe..
    Also, I'm pretty curious about the height of the kensen. Is it really to the opponents advantage if the kensen is lower?Even if maintain centre?Coz I was thinking if maintain centre then the opponent still can't get the cut rite?~

    ~I'm getting confused~

    By Blogger hawQ, at Tuesday, December 13, 2005 9:12:00 AM  

  • Good on you, Nurlin. Big suburi swing is the way to go. You will find the big swing more natural and your cut more powerful if you keep doing suburi this way.

    If my kensen is much lower than my opponent's, then the kote is automatically exposed. If you look into the mirror, you will see the shinai is not guarding your right kote. The image I would see in the mirror is just the same as what my opponent would see when jigeiko against me with a low kensen.

    So I should maintain my kensen to a height similar to my opponent.

    If my opponent has a high kensen, of course, I would not follow him and have high kensen. Instead, I would quickly cut his kote as it would be exposed with his arms lift up for the high kensen.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Tuesday, December 13, 2005 9:43:00 AM  

  • Hey vivian:

    So glad to hear you're back in action ^^, and you're loving your kendo more than ever.

    Looking forward to playing with you...erm... that is if you ever show up to our training again ^^;;.

    And if you want to hang around the UNSW people there is a Christmas Party this saturday ^^... details undecided (Yes I know the Usyd BBQ is supposedly on the same day -_-)

    By Blogger Quoth the raven, at Tuesday, December 13, 2005 4:48:00 PM  

  • Hey Sussan!

    Thanks for your message. I will try to come to UNSW again. I look forward to keiko with you and all the UNSW BUDDIES!!!!

    Sydney KC also has a Christmas party on Saturday. And I will have a work fancy dress party this Friday. Ahoy! Sleepless Party nights here we come.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Wednesday, December 14, 2005 10:06:00 AM  

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