a MMB! Kendo Blog: From a Grain of Salt to Beyond

MMB! Kendo Blog

Sunday, September 24, 2006

忍耐 + 掌握人生
From a Grain of Salt to Beyond

Sodium & High Performance
Recently, my family has changed to a very low salt intake diet as my mom's liver is not doing too well. I was thinking about if it has affected my kendo performance, so I took interest in reading some articles on the effect between salt and athlete.

Call it a placebo effect or a mind thing, but I did feel more genki and lasted longer on the previous Saturday training after eating a bit more salty food and taking a 1Litre Powerade with me to training. Anyway, I will trial my diet a bit more to see what feels best to me.

Saturday Willoughby (16-Sept)
I was motodachi in this session, and so had plenty of chances to jigeiko. In the final minutes of the training, I went to keiko with Ka-bi.

Ka-bi started off in chudan. I was planning to surprise Ka-bi and and to catch him off-guard. And so, as soon as we came up from sonkyo, I went straight in for a tobikomi-men.

About half-way through the jigeiko, Ka-bi changed to his favourite jodan-no-kamae. Remembering the feedbacks I have received last week against jodan player, I steadied myself and didn't jump around in a rhythm this time.

We finished the jigeiko with an ippon-shobu, with Ka-bi in jodan. After we settled into our respective kamae, Ka-bi went for katate-men, and I subconsciously went for a suriage-men. And it landed! Wow, that was great.

Ka-bi's feedbacks:
The first response from Ka-bi was 'were you trying to catch me off-guard with the quick men at the start?'. So I told Ka-bi I wanted to practice being on the pro-active attacking side right at the very beginning, so that was why I launched a quick tobikomi-men straight from coming from sonkyo. Ka-bi said this kind of attack which relies on speed is quite risky, and more like the high school style kendo. He recommended me to find out more about my opponent after coming from sonkyo. Setting up my opportunities and exploiting my opponent's weaknesses, instead of rushing in blindly to cut.

Having said that, Ka-bi taught me an effective trick on doing a surprise attack at the beginning of shiai - fake-kote first, and when opponent reacts by lifting their shinai to block, cut do. BAMMM!!!

Wednesday - UNSW
Yoshiki called me at lunchtime that day and told me that Fukuda Sensei has just arrived from Japan. He was checking which dojo had jigeiko training that night. So I told him he could bring Fukuda Sensei to Willoughby that night.

Things went otherwise though.

At 6:30pm, when I just arrived home from work, I got a call from Yoshiki asking me what's going on at Willoughby. There was no way we could train in the Willoughby hall because it was full of exhibition items.

So we had to change plan and went to UNSW for keiko instead.

After calling as many SKC people about the cancellation of that night's training, and had a quick dinner, I drove to UNSW for keiko.

For the first hour, Fukuda Sensei led the class to practice kata ippon-me over and over again until we were doing every single move correctly with as much spirit into each move as possible.

In the final 20mins, Yoshiki and I took turns to jigeiko with Fukuda sensei while the rest of the class practice kata or do the beginner course.

Fukuda Sensei's comments:

  • Stand my ground. Don't move back - I can't afford to move back in WKC as my opponent will follow on with more attacks.
  • Sustain pressure and don't back out - While exploring opportunity in chudan no kamae, I moved in (which is good), then backed out (which is bad) for no apparent reason. (My opponent is still in the same position during all that time). If I move in, I must sustain the pressure and not back out.
  • Relax - The general comment was that I was too tensed in the 2 rounds of jigeiko.

Thursday - UNSW
The class had done a few rounds of kirikaeshi and 2 sets of men-uchi when Fukuda Sensei stopped the class and that's when I joined in the class.

Fukuda sensei asked everyone to practice tsuki - sustaining the pressure from the kensen right to the nodo; and pushing in from the hip.

So I started that class with tsuki. I did much better in this tsuki practice compare to just a week ago. My left hand taking more control, and right arm was not overpowering.

It turned out that the tsuki practice was the prelude to seme-men practice. The emphasis in this seme-men practice was to maintain strong seme while moving in, with kensen pointing towards the opponent's throat, before flicking to cut men in the final moment.

After the seme-men practice, we had approx. 10mins kakari-geiko session, where Sano sensei, Fukuda sensei and Ka-bi were the motodachi. Afterwards, we had jigeiko against the 3 motodachi.

In any keiko with Fukuda sensei, if you didn't find an opening and just blindly rush in to attack, you will be very sorry as your throat will get very very sore. That was what happened to Ken.

In Ken's jigeiko with Fukuda, he got tsuki'ed three times in the two-minute jigeiko. The impact of each tsuki was very powerful, with Fukuda executing each tsuki at the most devastating time as Ken put all his forward momentum into his men-cut.

Reviews & Feedbacks:

  • Patience - I should be patience and only attack when I can sense my opponent's spirit weakens. Take the chance immediately when I find that moment. [Fukuda Sensei]
  • Finding opportunity from issoku-ito-no-maai - Distance. Distance. I need to be patience in finding the opportunity and openings from issoku-ito-no-maai before moving in too close. [Fukuda Sensei]
  • Straight-in men-cut - When I go for men-cut in kakari-geiko, I am moving diagonally forward, instead of straight in, to cut men. Ka-bi said he just have to cut straight and he could get my men. [Ka-bi]
  • Condition my left foot to launch successive men cuts quickly - I realise that my foot can't turn around and launch an successive attack as quickly as I would like to. I need to practice turning around quickly.

Saturday - Hornsby
We had training at Hornsby this Saturday - a once-off change of venue as the Willoughby hall was hosting an annual art exhibition event.

I was motodachi until the start of the jigeiko session as Fukuda Sensei joined in from there on. It was good that I had the chance to queue up and play against the other motodachi. After each jigeiko, I was able to re-coup energy for the next jigeiko, and so I was able to put 100% of my effort in each one.

Reviews and Feedbacks:

  • Straight-in men-cut - Itakura sensei pointed out exactly the same thing Ka-bi pointed out on Thursday. I need to come straight in for men cut.
  • Emphasis on correctness over speed - In uchikomi-geiko, my cuts were nice and straight, but when I go into kakari or jigeiko situation, I put too much emphasis on speed and neglect correct posture and technique. Itakura Sensei suggested me to slow down and practice proper cuts, or else it will impede my kendo development in the future.
  • Men: Tuck-in the chin - Also from the video, I could see that my head was tilting back in men cut. Need to tuck-in the chin.
  • Debana-Kote: Shinai position - I found out from watching my video tapes that I was pulling my shinai back too much. My arms should still be in front of my body after the debana-kote.
  • Kote: cut with left hand - I am leaning in with my right hand and right body. Try to push and cut from the left hand.


  • THats avery good self analysis there Viv keep up the good work.

    Thanks for the tips as well from Fukuda Sensei.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, September 28, 2006 10:36:00 PM  

  • Hi Vivian,
    Just a quick comment about Gatorade, Powerade and similar beverages. Despite they are indeed good to replenish salt and minerals, we have to be careful since they are also packed with

    Some "energizer" drinks also include a large dose of caffeine. Moderation I guess, is the key.

    Good work!

    By Blogger Eduardo Cigliutti, at Friday, September 29, 2006 1:04:00 PM  

  • Hey Eddie,

    How have you been? Thank you for your comments. I hope the tips I got will be useful to you too.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Friday, September 29, 2006 8:09:00 PM  

  • Hey Eduardo,

    It is great to know you and thank you for your email and reply.

    hehe, I definitely won't drink Red Bulls and the likes, or you will see me flying off to space. =P

    Btw, the last URL under the Sodium & High Performance section - "Fact Sheets on Sports Diet" has a link to the Sports Drink session. It provides a very informative way in identifying what constitutes a good sports drink.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Friday, September 29, 2006 8:17:00 PM  

  • Hi Vivian,

    Following your steps, I have started a blog too. My focus will be on Kendo after 50, which applies to a bunch of guys like me, who have started Kendo late(er) in life, and without enough rank to escape from some hard training. So, it is just the beginning, and here is the address
    My Kendo from Taipei on

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 30, 2006 6:53:00 AM  

  • Yikes after 50?? LOL

    Good on you Eduardo, did you know there are still 50 year old sensei's in Japan who would kick our butts very esily. but then there's also 15 year iold who kick our butts too!
    Kendo is also about spirit, at any age
    the spirit should dull at all!
    Getting our butts kicked is inevitable at any age!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, October 02, 2006 3:56:00 PM  

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