a MMB! Kendo Blog: Building Up My Strategic War-Chest

MMB! Kendo Blog

Sunday, October 01, 2006

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Building Up My Strategic War-Chest

Photo taken at Sydney Kendo Club on 9-Sept

Monday - UNSW
I got a flu virus over the weekend, and took a sickie from work on Monday as I was feeling quite miserable that morning. I slept and slept and slept throughout Monday, and when I finally woke up that afternoon, the virus has magically gone. I was feeling well and back to spirit again. And so I started contemplating the idea of attending kendo training that night too. From feeling miserable to feeling good and genki enough to exercise in one day. How magical was that sleep!

I was glad that Monday training focused on basic cuts, concentrating on making each men cut perfect. It wasn't too strenuous. Rather than on stamina, I worked on my techniques which suited my body condition on the day.

At 9pm, Fukuda sensei, Mike, Yoshiki and Jackson came to join the free jigeiko session after the Five Dock dojo session finished at 8:30pm.

I had a 10mins jigeiko with Sano sensei.

Sano Sensei's feedback:
Sano Sensei told me after the training that during our jigeiko, he was practicing on picking out when I was going for men and when I was going for kote from my pre-striking body posture and hand motions. With men-cut, I go straight in. However, with kote-cut, I tended to turn my body to the side. And therefore, he could pick out when I was going to do a kote, and countered with kote nuki men in a number of occassions.

  • Same pre-striking posture - To strike kote like going for men; and to strike men like going for kote. This would make it difficult for my opponent to predict my cutting intention, thus more difficult for my opponent to block or counter-attack.

Thursday - UNSW
In the waza session, we did several rounds of tsuki / men practice, with 4 cuts in each round. In each individual cut, we could choose to practice either tsuki or men. The idea was to launch a men cut that looks like a tsuki, and a tsuki that looks like a men.

I focused particularly on having the kensen as close to the nodo (or throat) as possible, very much like going for tsuki, and at the very very last moment, lifted the kensen for sashi-men. It was very effective. From the reactions of my practice opponents, I could see in their face that they were preparing to receive that fateful stab to the throat, which turned out to be a sashi-men. It was enlightening to see the power of the kensen.

Fukuda Sensei's advices on tsuki:

  • When executing tsuki, you should put your whole mind and body into it. You should not worry about missing the target, and should not be scared when executing tsuki against those who are of higher grades than yourself. Even if a tsuki missed the target, the emotional impact on your opponent is quite substantial. A determined, good-spirited tsuki, even if it missed, could have a devastating impact by defeating your opponent's spirit. And that could be the precursor to the winning cut.

Afterwards, we had ippon-geiko where we could only execute men and tsuki. One more thing, NO BLOCKING. The idea is to train the mind to throw everything into an attack without any hesitation. No blocking or hesitation, or else Fukuda Sensei would go very very angry.

Following the rounds of ippon-geiko was kakari-geiko, with Sano Sensei, Fukuda Sensei and Ka-bi as motodachi. I did a total 8 rounds of 15-sec kakari-geiko.

In the final 20 mins of the training, I had jigeiko with Sussan, Jayson Chaplin and Yoshiki. I had very good keiko and was in very good spirit. I was imagining myself playing in the WKC and needing to score that ippon badly. That was how I played in those jigeiko. I was focusing my seme and concentraing on my pre-kote cut posture. (i.e.To execute a kote that looks like a men, and vice versa.)

Saturday - Willoughby
Yoshiyuki the Champion is back. It is his first keiko with the club since his first child was born 4 months ago. It so so great to have him training with us again.

In the jigeiko session, I had jigeiko with Fukuda Sensei, Yoshiyuki, Itakura Sensei, Mike Henstock.

Yoshiyuki's Feedbacks:
  • Never voluntarily move-out from tsuba-zerai - There is no such thing as mutual agreement to move out from tsubazerai. And NEVER EVER do that in the World Championships. It is very risky to voluntarily move back, as the opponent can easily take advantage of your willingness and score a men-cut while you back off.

  • Sayu-kote suburi - We quite often see opponents who lift their arms up high to protect their men, with their kensen wildly off the center. This exposes both their do and kote.

    There is a good suburi exercise for cutting this kind of exposed kote with arms lifted up high, and kenzen off centre. It is almost like doing do cut suburi, but instead of swinging down in a 45 degree angle, the swing to the kote is horizontal.

    This kind of suburi is good for wrist strength building, giving you more control on your shinai movements. It is extremely useful in shiai situation when opponent has both arms up high.

Fukuda Sensei's Feedbacks & Advices:

    • Don't get into a rhythm - No rhythmic rocking movements before men-cut.
    • Issoku-ito no men-uchi - Practice as much one-step one-cut men-uchi as possible.
    • Cutting opportunities:
      1. Cut when opponent's mind is changing - when they are in the process of deciding the launch of a cut; and when the action signal is being transmitted from the brain to the arms and legs to execute the cut.
      2. Find your opponent's movement pattern - Attack during the process of completing a pattern (e.g. twirling the shinai). Entice your opponent to go into a movement pattern. When they go into a pattern, you can predict their next move, and then cut while they are in the middle of executing a pattern.


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