a MMB! Kendo Blog: New Year Resolution

MMB! Kendo Blog

Sunday, January 08, 2006

忍耐 + 掌握人生
New Year Resolution

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu! Year 2006 will definitely be a colourful and exciting year for me in Kendo.

It is always good to set down goals at the start of the year, so that there are something I can aim for

Kendo Goals for 2006:

  • Be even more passionate about improving my Kendo
  • Win the Hong Kong Asian Tournament - 2Dan & Below Team event
  • Win the Australian Championships Womens Individuals title
  • To be selected into the Australian Team for the WKC
  • To represent Australia in WKC, and perform to my best ability in every single match

To reach these goals, I must...

  • Go to trainings with an open mind to learn
  • Put 110% effort into each training
  • Review my performance after each training session
  • Have a clear goal to achieve in each training session

More specifically...

  • Relax arm and shoulder when making successive strikes
  • Stronger fumikomi and better left leg push-off
  • Posture first - do not be afraid of being cut during practice
  • Only do fully-committed cuts - whole body forward
  • Stronger seme - always move forward, make opponent go back
  • Use visualisation to cement those winning cuts in my head and to improve my techniques

Great start to the New Year. I have already attended 2 training sessions so far, with many big events happening in the next few weeks. Here is my kendo schedule for the next couple of weeks:

Trainings in the Past Week

Wednesday, 4th Jan @Willoughby
We did a lot of kihon and suburi without bogu on tonight. The first 30mins was kata. Then Payne sensei and Itakura sensei took the kihon suburi sessions. With Itakura sensei's kihon suburi session, we did lots of...

  • Jogeburi
  • Nanmeburi
  • Kihon-men
  • Matawari-men (i.e. squatting-men) x 50
  • Lunging-men x 50
  • hayasuburi x 100

The last half hour was free jigeiko session.

Saturday, 7th Jan @Willoughby
The usual routine of ashi-sabaki, kihon suburi, and basic cuts with bogu on were done in the first hour. The next hour was jigeiko session. I had jigeiko with Fukuda sensei (twice), Onodera sensei, Mark Stone, Yoshiyuki and Doug, and a short session with David Banbury, who just got into bogu, to practice kihon-men.

I was lucky to engage jigeiko with Fukuda sensei twice. Fukuda sensei has a strong kensen who does not give you easy freebie opening. He really made his opponents to work hard to make an opening for themselves. It was, therefore, a very challenging and enjoyable jigeiko as I need to grab the centre off him.

One thing I learnt from the jigeiko with Fukuda sensei was to have no fear of being stabbed in the throat and chest, and be fully committed to going in for each cut. As Fukuda sensei's kensen was very strong, it was very hard to make his kensen go off the centre. Even if I deflected his sword, his kensen would recover very quickly. So there were many times when I ran straight into the kensen, or he just made a thrust towards my throat or chest.

It is natural to shy away from fully committing a cut after being stabbed so many times, in fear that the more fully committed to go into the cut, the harder one will get stabbed. However, we must learn to suppress that fear, and concentrate our effort on improving the effectiveness in gaining and controlling the centre, thus allowing us to make a successful cut.

The jigeiko with Yoshiyuki was good in that I found out the problem with my shoulders becoming tense when making successive strikes, and thus slowing the speed of the cuts. I have to keep my shoulders, my arms and my grips relax.

During the jigeiko with Yoshi, I attempted a gyaku-do, which Yoshi was able to see/sense it and blocked easily. With that, guess what Yoshi's next cut on me was... GYAKU-DO of course! BAMM!!! I know Yoshi did that was to show me how to execute gyaku-do correctly. My gyaku-do cutting action was correct, but I lacked seme and thus the opponent's opening was weak, making my cut easily to block.

The effectiveness of gyaku-do all depends on the strength of the seme. The stronger the seme, the bigger the opening on the opponent, and thus a higher rate of success in cutting the target. The best way to seme in for gyaku-do is to attempt men-uchi. The more real the men-cut attempt looks like, the better the chance of your opponent to lift his/her arms up. Once your opponent lifts his/her arms up to block the men cut, you can switch and cut the exposed do.


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