a MMB! Kendo Blog: Dream No More

MMB! Kendo Blog

Sunday, January 28, 2007

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Dream No More

I have two dreams.

First is to represent Australia in the World Kendo Championships. Second is to become a Sports Physiotherapist.

Last month, I realised my first dream in Taipei, crossing-sword with many of the world's best and most gifted kenshi, and finally see the level and quality of kendo around the world. And in the process, witnessed history in the making.

As for my second dream, it started two years ago. Since then, I have been trying to work my way towards this dream. I found out all the Universities in NSW that offer the physiotherapy degree. And there is only University of Sydney which offers this course in the metro Sydney. It is harder to get in as a university degree holder than a Year 12 school-leaver. In addition to good high school and university results, it also requires (unofficially) 100 hours of observational experience in a physio clinic. I have been very lucky indeed to have met some nice physio in a famous sports clinic around my area, and finally accumulated my 100 hours of experience earlier last year.

It was 9pm on Wednesday 17-JAN when the result was published on the internet.

Two years. For two years, I have been waiting for this day - the release of the 2007 University Admission results.

That night, I attended kendo training at Willoughby as usual. As soon as the training finished at 9pm, I quickly packed up my gears, rushed home, quickly ran to my room, turned on the computer, and straight to the UAC website.

I was saying to myself, 'please please, please accept me into the course'.

At last, the wait was all over. I see my name on the website. And below that, the course that I have been offered to study - 4 years Full-time Physiotherapy at University of Sydney.

Two years, it was a long wait, but a sweet outcome to a new beginning.

I can't express how happy I am now to cross the line and step into a completely new and exciting world - a world that I have been dreaming for.

My dream now - to become a good sports physiotherapist!

Training in the Past Two Weeks

My Japanese language class was temporarily shifted from Tuesday to Thursday in the past two weeks, so I had to skip the Thursday UNSW training. That said, I was still able to attend the other 3 weekly kendo classes during the week - Monday at UNSW, Wednesday and Saturday at Willoughby.

Straight, Correct Kendo
My goal in these two weeks was to have a nice imposing kamae - to stand tall and straight. Also, my goal is to strike correctly. No twirly twisting shiai-focus bad cuts.

Doing straight cut was all easy and fine in uchikomi geiko session of the training, when everything is pre-determined, choreographed. It was during the jigeiko session, which really revealed whether I had the mental power to keep focusing on what I am trying to practice.

I had to say it was definitely no easy task.

During the jigeiko with Itakura Sensei, I realised that I was still turning my body sideway when I launched into ai-men. It really took a lot of focus and mental power to try to do one good straight ai-men during jigeiko.

Nonetheless, I could feel that I am improving, slowly but surely. Every training, I could feel my cut is just a little straighter and slightly more "square-on".

Rhythm and Opportunities
Another thing that I have been trying to explore since New Year is the relationship between rhythm and opportunity to attack. Many people have their arms or shinai move up and down, up and down, rhythmically. I want to be able to find my opponent's rhythm, and thus grasp their timing, locate the attacking opportunities during the rhythmic cycle, and launch one decisive cut.

Feedbacks from Fukuda Sensei:

I was fortunate to have a good jigeiko session with Fukuda Sensei. Throughout the jigeiko, he was trying to guide me to identify what constitutes a good attacking opportunity.

As those who have seen him would know, Fukuda Sensei plays a very steady style of kendo with no wasted movement. His kendo is both elegant and powerful. No slash and bash. (Well, unless his opponent stands there like a log, or if the other side is too concerned of being hit and lift the shinai everywhere, then he would unleash that scary machine-gun rensoku attack. With a final stab to the throat...) And when he does make his cut, it is of the most dangerous and accurate. To do this, one must have a keen eye for opportunity. And yesterday, he was trying to teach me how to find it.

Basically, it goes like this:

  • Do not cut when your opponent is moving back or standing ground.

  • Cut when your opponent is about to come forward to launch a cut.

  • It is a simple concept. However, to practice this against Fukuda Sensei was extremely difficult.

    Firstly, Fukuda Sensei has a very steady kamae with no rhythmic motions. Even if I parry his shinai, he would come back to the centre straight away with very little opportunity for me to move in. To launch into a cut under those circumstances was basically to invite a stab right into my throat.

    Secondly, Fukuda Sensei is really steady. I mean REALLY REALLY steady. No matter how I tried to seme in, it is very difficult to get any sort of reaction from him. So sometimes, it feels like an eternity to see him move, and this makes me anxious to cut. And if I cut in this immature moment, Mmmmm... yes, another stab to the throat or mune.

    After a couple of mistakes, I tried to have more patience and hold my composure, and be alert for the right opportunity. It was good to made a good cut to finish off the jigeiko.

    Sano Sensei suggested me to try this tactic, and also mix with a few other things that I have already been doing. To keep my game varied and my opponents guessing all the time.


    • Hi Vivian,

      It is very nice to have your blog as a reference, having you as always, being so detailed.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, January 29, 2007 9:14:00 AM  

    • Thanks Eduardo.

      I hope I will learn and remember a thing of two myself through writing.

      By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Monday, January 29, 2007 11:49:00 AM  

    • Congratulations!!! and I agree that Fukuda sensei is very intimidating! I lost count of how many times I ran into his Kensen. I don;t think I am ready to give him a good fight just yet.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, January 29, 2007 11:12:00 PM  

    • Congratulations on the realisation of your second dream! So going back to become a uni student heh? :)

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, January 30, 2007 1:29:00 AM  

    • Thanks Eddie and Ivan.

      Last night I continued to practice what Fukuda Sensei showed me last Saturday. Oh, I tell you, I felt much more powerful in my jigeiko with that approach.

      Yes, 4-yr full time uni life for me again. :)

      By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Tuesday, January 30, 2007 10:21:00 AM  

    • Congratulations on achieving your goal! Welcome back to uni life! = P

      By Blogger hawQ, at Sunday, February 04, 2007 12:48:00 AM  

    • Hi,
      i'm from France,
      I started Kendo in 2005/2006 but i stopped this year (wanted to build up some muscles and forces, but still haven't done it yet). I will continue Kendo the next season.

      i find your blog very very interesting and "educating", with all these details.

      my girlfriend is 5th Dan kendoka, she was also in Taipei 2006 representing France.

      I must admit that Kendo is such a hard martial art, requiring a lot of practice, will and moral force.

      I hope i'll become i good kendoka one day.

      Thanks Vivian for this blog

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, February 20, 2007 1:26:00 AM  

    • and yes, congratulations for achieveing your goals. !!!


      By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, February 20, 2007 1:26:00 AM  

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