a MMB! Kendo Blog: Chasing To Attack

MMB! Kendo Blog

Sunday, October 29, 2006

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Chasing To Attack

Wednesday - Willoughby
Takashi Itakura Sensei is back from his holiday in Japan, and brought with him several new training methods and ideas.

Ooikomi (Kote-Men) Geiko 追い込み稽古
For the past 3 months Wednesday training, the class has been doing a type of ooikomi kote-men geiko, where we execute as many kote-men-kote-men-kote... in consecutive fast small movements from one end of the dojo to the other end. The footwork we have been doing so far has been quick-small-step movements, which looks like hopping (left-foot) and stamping (right-foot) of the foot at the same time.

The new variant to this ooikomi kote-men geiko that Itakura Sensei introduced this week emphasised not only on the consecutive cutting speed, but also on the length of stride. Motodachi would run backwards from one side of the hall to the other side, while the kakari (the one practicing) would chase the motodachi by executing as many kote-men-kote-men-kote-... as possible.

For me, I found this new ooikomi kote-men quite difficult. My coordination in the small-step ooikomi kote-men is still reasonably okay. When it comes to doing this exercise in long stride, however, my feet could not keep up with my quick hand movements, making my movements uncoordinated.

Now thinking about it, I think the key is in the footwork. If my footwork speed can keep up with the speed of my motodachi going backward, all I need is to add my hands so that each cut coincides with every right foot stamps. The number of cuts would be greatly reduced, but one thing for sure is that the cuts will be more coordinated.

Thursday - UNSW

Ooikomi Geiko 追い込み稽古
I arrived to keiko a bit late on Thursday as I missed the express train home from work. When I arrived to the UNSW dojo, Fukuda Sensei was introducing the class to different type of ooikomi-geiko. So the class practiced all sorts of ooikomi-geiko, such as consecutive men, consective kote-men like the one I practiced at SKC on Wednesday, etc.

After that, Fukuda Sensei introduced us a really interesting exercise. With everyone facing a partner without moving the feet, one side attacks the other side as fast as possible. The other side would then block all the oncoming attacks.

With this exercise, the attacking side must have strong wrist work in order to make fast consecutive attacks with constant changing to the shinai-swinging direction.

On the other hand, the defending side must be able to react and pick up the slightest pre-striking signals from the opponent in order to defend all the oncoming attacks. Also the defending movements must be small so to not protect one target while exposing the other.

This kind of fast consecutive attacking practice is especially effective on opponents who tend to swing their shinai excessively to block, who is afraid of being hit by blocking and moving backwards.

Saturday - Willoughby
The UNSW kendo players had a netball competition on Saturday, so the class size was smaller than the normal Saturday sessions.

During the free jigeiko session, I had the chance to keiko with Strenger Sensei and twice with Sano Sensei.

Comments from Strenger Sensei:

  • Tuck-in Chin - remember to tuck in my chin every time I go for the men.
  • Don't lift arms up - In the clash situation after aiuchi-men, my fists ended up well above Strenger sensei's fists position, which made me look vunerable. Try keeping my arms horizontal and extending forward to carry on the forward momentum generated from the men cut.
I had two opportunities to jigeiko with Sano Sensei today. Throughout both jigeiko, Sano Sensei hold very strong kamae and I was having quite a bit of trouble creating and finding attacking opportunities. I tried every way to seme in and get a reaction from him, but none seemed to work. His kamae would remain just as strong as before. I guess my seme must be too weak for Sano Sensei, but I just couldn't work out how to make my seme more effective.

So I tried other shinai-attacking waza before going for my cuts. In those situations, I was able to move in closer to the targets, but Sano Sensei was able to either deflect or counter-attack my cuts. And often, it would end up in tsubazerai situation.

At a loss of how to create openings, all I could think of was Fukuda Sensei's ooikomi-geiko on Thursday, and so I started the crazy machine-gun attack in the hope of landing one successful cut. It was not my style of kendo, but I just couldn't think of any other way to make that ippon happening.

Feedbacks from Sano Sensei:

  • Try searching for the follow-up opportunity - After an attack is made and your opponent blocked the first attack, there is always a split second where another opening is exposed. Try to grasp that moment of opportunity. Be prepared to go for that follow-up winning cut.
  • Keep hands in centre after debana-kote - my hands ended up on the left side of my body after completing the debana-kote. This makes my men completely exposed. Try bringing both hands back to the centre once debana-kote is completed, so that the position of the shinai can protect the men target.

Friday Night Dance
I went to the Afro-Latin and Hip-Hop dance classes on Friday. And this time, I found some kendo buddies to join me to class. Aiko and I went fully crazy in the Afro-Latin class, pulling faces and making cool latin dance moves. My shoulder and hip were moving better this time. And it was fantastic to have another crazy carefree person to dance right next to me. So I didn't feel I was the only one who went crazy.

Nurlin joined the Hip-Hop class later in the evening, while Anna Wong watched on. I gotta say that Nurlin is a natural Hip-Hop dancer. She was able to get the hip-hop moves going very quickly.

Just watch out, you may be surrounded by a bunch of Afro-Latin, Hip Hop dancers disguised in kendogi and hakama next time you keiko in Sydney.

Just Some Thoughts...
Another week has passed by so quickly, I had to say I squeezed the juice out of every minute to the best, doing as many things as time and energy would allow. I just hate to waste time and didn't want to lose a moment on idling.

Having done as much as I could, I still feel quite lost. I felt that something was seriously missing, and I knew exactly what it was.

It was quite heart-wrenching when I think about the total amount of time I spent with my parents. In the middle of a casual conversation while I was driving my parents for a family dinner on Saturday, my dad pointed out that I was running around all the time that it seems all I come home for was to have a place to sleep.

When I heard the words, I have that tremendous amount of guilt in me tears start streaming. Luckily it was dark in the car, so no one saw it.

I wanted to do everything I wanted to do while I am still young and have the energy, but there comes a trade-off. What about the time with my family - the closest people to me? Have I really think about setting aside some time with them, like how I schedule time to go to my kendo training?

I need to rethink about the whole thing...


  • Vivian, it's not bad when you start to put your feet in your parents' shoes and feel a bit sentimental 感傷的【かんしょうてき】, I guess.

    "Be independent" is what you + your parents need to learn/get use to.

    If your dad can't understand why you want to stick with your activities/buddies, can you tell him? Be yourself and be frank to your parents. Don't feel sad, you are a cheerful person.

    Let your dad be your soul mate -> 心の触れ合い(ふれあい), he will understand you more ~0_0~

    By Blogger Bishojo美少女, at Tuesday, October 31, 2006 12:01:00 AM  

  • Viv, I went through that! I know exactly how you feel.
    I realised that as I got older certain priorties start to show more then others.
    There's just not enough hours in a day anymore and my kendo attendance has reduced significantly too.
    I used to train 3 times per week kendo and 1 day Iaido so thats a total of 4 days training per week INSANE! haha

    To choose kendo over family made me feel bad and I felt selfish, Kendo of all things has taught discipline, not to be selfish, to honour and respect those we care about. That lesson has allowed me to improve my personal character.
    After learning this it has lead me to move away from the dojo instead.

    Strangely my kendo progress has slowed down... but my self learning has heightened. Kendo has taught me alot! I still love it! everytime I make it to the dojo I train very hard but just not as often.

    Someone once said to me 'martial arts enhances your life, not replace it..'
    An Interesting point, I would ask myself often 'what is really important to me?'.

    I have chosen to put aside more time for parent's, friends & career, girlfriend... it's hectic. Being from a typical chinese background, family values is very highly regarded for me.
    I have to miss every second monday of Kendo so I can see my ever aging parents, who seems to look older and older each time I return home.

    I'm lucky to get 1 or 2 days Kendo per week and 1 day Iaido now.
    I still have many years left for Kendo and Iaido but my parent's.. they are ageing, I owe alot to them.

    I will continue to do kendo and Iaido, I'll continue to get my grades but I will have to do it at a slower rate in order to do those other things that are more important.

    Sacrifice indeed...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, October 31, 2006 1:14:00 AM  

  • Hi Vivian,

    My 2 cents worth of comments about your note.

    Since I am a father, a husband, a kendoka and also a slave-worker, I think I am fully qualified to express my most sincere opinion :-)

    It is extremely difficult to balance our time. The world I grew up on my teenage years, was 100 % faster than my parent's, and the world we live today, it is 10000% faster than mine.

    I have two daughters, sligltly older than you and I can understand how your parents feel, but I can also understand that my daughters are not longer babies or that little girls they used to be. They have needs, they will find their match and, a departure day will be set. Sonner or later, it will happen.

    That's the reality of life and all we can do, is to try to go with the flow.

    It does not mean you have to cut ties with one thing or another, it is just balancing a bit your act so, nobody feels entirely bad or wrong.

    Maybe, some words from Buddhism can help. They were written by a Master of Kung Fu, and they say something like...

    "There are no beginnings, and no endings. The universe is process, and that process is in me. If I try to fight that process, then I am in trouble. If I go with it then, somethings happens. My part on it is small, yet, that does not make it unimportant. Arbitrarily, I have chosen the beginning, as the process of a new journey."

    Just be yourself and follow your heart, then you will never be wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, October 31, 2006 3:10:00 PM  

  • Hi Vivian, indeed there is a strong cultural reason for you to feel this way. I don't know how traditional and strict your parents are. I left my parents for university when I was 19, and afterwards only went back during holiday or X'mas. Strange as it might sound, I think our family bonds grew even stronger afterwards. We realised that we don't have so much time to spend together anymore so everytime we meet we try to have a good time, and for me I realised how important my families mean to me.

    It's a bit like the saying "Ichigo ichie". Only quality time counts. My situation is different from you since I don't live so close to my parents. But I understand how you might feel. It'd take your parents some getting-used-to, but provided you occasionally spend some quality time together, I think they'll understand and won't have bitter feelings. Wish you all the best in resolving this issue. It'll be fine!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, November 01, 2006 12:25:00 AM  

  • Thank you all for sharing your experience and advices.

    My parents are very supportive of me doing kendo and have always silently supporting me in every way to allow me to get to training.

    I think I am getting into such a nice smooth routine when everyone has been so supportive of me that I sort of neglected that others also help me to get to where I am now.

    Like Ivan said, and borrowing Payne Sensei's favourite saying that 'to treat every match like it is the last match you will ever play', I can apply the similar idea in this situation, and to think about it as "to treat every moment as the only moment I will ever spend together with my family."

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Wednesday, November 01, 2006 11:27:00 AM  

  • Like everybody else said, its more on the balance of work, kendo, family and other things. I'm sure you'll do it just fine~

    On a side note...You've made me terribly homesick...-_-

    By Blogger hawQ, at Wednesday, November 01, 2006 11:41:00 AM  

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