a MMB! Kendo Blog: Kendo with the King's

MMB! Kendo Blog

Sunday, July 29, 2007

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Kendo with the King's

Since the last update a week ago, there have been two significant happenings. Both from kendo, the first was an enduring intense soreness that I haven't had for at least 2-3 years, the other was teaching kendo at The King's School.

Saturday, 21 July @ Willoughby & East Roseville
I had a full-on continuous six hours of kendo training. Yes, continuous - that means, no break. That was crazy. And I ended up in an excruciating, enduring intense muscle soreness in my quadriceps the next 3 days.

This was how it happened...

Every year in August, there is a state team competition called the Founders Cup. This year, my club has been very enthusiastic about competing in this event, and there were more members wanting to compete in the team event than the available 5 team spots. So, for the first time in memory, a Selection Program has been put in place in the club to evaluate and select members to represent the club to compete. It is marvelous to see the enthusiasm, and having a training program to train together will really build up the team spirit.

I put my name down to the Selection Program to trial for the team. The Selection Program, led by Itakura Sensei, runs for 3 weeks. I attended my first Selection training last Saturday.

9am - 10am
This first Saturday session was non-committed - that means attendance to this training would not count towards the final scoring system. So there were only four people turned up - Dave Banbury, Luke and me. Itakura Sensei led the training.

We ran around the two big sporting fields adjacent to the dojo for 20 minutes. After catching our breaths, we did 5 minutes of steps, 2 sets of 30 full squats. Then we picked up our shinai, and did 15 minutes of suburi until it was 10am.

10am - 12noon
Payne Sensei could not make it to training today. So Itakura Sensei led the training again. There, we did a lot of uchikomi practice, with the final 45 mins on jigeiko. The intensity was high throughout the training session, so it was very enjoyable, though I was quite tired by the end of that session.

12noon - 1:15pm
I practiced kata 1-7 and kodachi 1-3 with Michael Henstock for our 3 Dan grading preparation, while Sano Sensei watched on to give us invaluable feedbacks.

1:30pm - 3pm
Itakura Sensei led the eight people who turned up to the 1.5 hrs special squad training in East Roseville. Here is a rough idea of what we did:

  • 6 full sets of kirikaeshi (along the full length of the hall)
  • 2 sets of continuous men-taitari-men (along the full length of the hall)
  • 2 sets of renzoku-men (along the full length of the hall)
  • 2 sets of renzoku-kote (along the full length of the hall)
  • Twice 2 sets of 5x kihon-men (with the emphasis on realistic situation)
  • Twice 2 sets of 5x kihon-kote
  • Twice 2 sets of 5x kihon-do
  • Twice 2 sets of 5x kote-men
  • Twice tsubazarei waza
  • Kaeshi waza
  • Men-taisuru waza
  • Kote-taisuru waza
  • many many sets of uchikomi geiko
I was completely exhausted at the end of the training, especially after 6 hours of full effort of training. However, I was very proud to complete the training. Plus, with an empty stomach, I was ready to devour my tomato sauce baked garoupa rice at "Black Cow" with my fellow training buddies who braved the day after the last session.

During the afternoon training session, Daisuke Taira showed me a really cool and effective tsubazarei waza that you often see in fast Japanese high school kendo competition videos, where they come cutting your men from one side, and at tsubazarei, they magically step behind you with their lightning footwork, unstabling you with their hip turn and hand-punching movement, and when you try to balance yourself by extending your arms, they execute their hiki-men or hiki-do on you. All done so quickly and fast, like a magician.

It is so hard to write out in words on how to execute this totally slick moves without pictures or seeing it for yourself. But if you have seen or experience what I have described, I am sure you know what I am talking about. Yes, that funky move. Anyway, Daisuke has showed me and taught me the moves. It is quite difficult to get everything done well, coordinated and quickly. Now, I will just have to practice doing it.

Anyway, that 6 hours resulted in 3 days long of intense muscle soreness in my quadriceps. I couldn't walk downstairs without agony, going from standing to sitting was pure excruciating. My quads were utterly exhausted. Through recommendation, I went to the pharmacy on Monday to get some aspirin for pain relief. The soreness finally dulled on Tuesday and I was completely ready again for the squad training onslaught on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, 25 July @ Willoughby
There were 8 people turned up to the 6:30pm - 7:30pm fitness training. Afterwards, I practiced the 10 kata with Toshio for the next 30 minutes. From 8pm - 9pm, Itakura Sensei led the uchikomi practice.

Good news, I didn't have any muscle soreness after that training. It was great to go through the storm and now enjoyed the serenity.

Friday, 27 July @ The King's School
That morning, I taught a group of nine Year 8 boarding school students and their mentor/teacher for the first time. The class was scheduled at 7:15am. So I got out of bed at 5:40am, eager to meet my new kendo buddies for the first time.

The preparation leading up to the class was smooth. I put a shinai order to Japan on Monday afternoon, and 3 days later on the Thursday afternoon the box of shinai arrived - perfectly in time for the boys to take their first lesson.

So in the first lesson, I taught the boys the basics of how to hold the shinai, chudan-no-kamae, kihon-men, tachi-rei and sonkyo. As my students were a group of 13-14 y.o. (besides their mentoring teacher), I have to design how to teach in a way that will get their maximum interest. And I figured, the less I speak, and more by letting them doing the movements, the more enjoyable it would be for them.

Also, I let them pair-up, and correct each other, which can improve their understanding of what is correct by observing their beginner model executing the movement. To be able to tell the friends what is incorrect will result in greater chance of themselves doing the technique correctly. And I think it is important to develop this skills when they do self-practice at their own time.

Not that the boys had this problem (they were quite smart and observant ), but I was sitting here thinking about how to teach beginners to avoid the "flaring left elbow" and "too much right arm" problem during a men strike. I have a good solution to that. If a beginner is having the "flaring left elbow" problem, ask them to do suburi with their left hand only. After a few left-hand only katate-men suburi, they should be able to realise the correct left arm/elbow position in a men strike.

Genki little samurai at their first lesson

Saturday, 28 July @ Willoughby & East Roseville
The training structure was similar to the previous Saturday, with a full-on program from 9am to 3pm. However, this time, I had been able to recharge my energy with Kassandra's "Sai-Mai-Lo" - a super yummy refreshing chinese dessert, with sago, melon, lychee in it. Ah, so yummy!


  • Very interesting experience teaching the "little genki samurais". :) How did you come to teaching them?

    And muscle soreness requiring pain-killers? I can only imagine!

    By Blogger Ivan, at Monday, July 30, 2007 6:31:00 PM  

  • 6 hour training???

    Wow...I don't know if I can endure that and be ready two days afterwards to train again! Congratulations...I guess...but you don't seem very impressed.

    I'm happy that your first class with the "Little genki samurais" has gone well. I'm sure you'll be a good teacher, as you explain yourself quite good.

    Good luck with the selection!

    By Blogger Leon, at Monday, July 30, 2007 11:03:00 PM  

  • By the way, if the title "Kendo with the King's" was a pun or reference to "Riding with the King" you are just too cool :D

    By Blogger Leon, at Tuesday, July 31, 2007 9:47:00 PM  

  • Hey Ivan, it all started from an email enquiry. And I thought it would be nice to teach young teenagers kendo. And so off it went.

    Yeah, that killer muscle soreness. To be honest, it is actually kind of nice to have that sort of pain. You know you have worked hard for it. Ah, the pain and the pleasure... call me a masochist.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Tuesday, July 31, 2007 10:41:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the well wishes Leon. I will do my best to get on the team.

    I am glad you like this entry's title, coz I like it too.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Tuesday, July 31, 2007 10:43:00 PM  

  • Bibi,
    You're 200% committed to Kendo, a role model for all Kendo Bishojo.

    Other than catering (Sai-Mai-Lo stuff), how aobut a "professional" massage session? That will sooooooooth your strained muscles.

    By Blogger Bishojo美少女, at Wednesday, August 01, 2007 1:26:00 PM  

  • Kass, I thought you were the only one kendo bishojo!?! =P

    I loooove Sai-Mai-Lo. You know me now, I am the Sai-Mai-Lo monster. You see, last Saturday, after I had four of your Sai-Mai-Lo, no muscle pain at all after the 6 hours training. Your Sai-Mai-Lo worked magic!

    Are you giving me a massage too? If so, I wouldn't mind. ~o^

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Thursday, August 02, 2007 12:03:00 AM  

  • Hi Vivian,

    Nice to read - as always - about you experiences in Kendo.

    I have always thought that Martial Arts should be a mandatory subject starting from elementary school. Crime rates would be much less if that happens.


    By Blogger Eduardo Cigliutti, at Sunday, August 05, 2007 12:09:00 PM  

  • I would be so cool if kendo was taught in my high school. I would be jumping up and down, so happy over the moon.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Sunday, August 05, 2007 5:07:00 PM  

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