a MMB! Kendo Blog: Ahoy! Captain!

MMB! Kendo Blog

Sunday, August 05, 2007

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Ahoy! Captain!

This week has been an exciting kendo week for me. I had 5 kendo sessions this week without feeling stressed for time. It feels very nice.

Monday, 30 July @ Five Dock & UNSW
Two high caliber kumdo teachers from Korean, Yoon and Ung visited Five Dock on their short private stay in Sydney. During the one-hour mawari-geiko session, I had the opportunity to jigeiko with Yoon. His kendo was very powerful, orthodox and elegant. The one thing that particularly impressed me and the difference between his kendo and mine was that, his attacks were continuous. He didn't stop after scoring an obviously valid point. His cuts continued on. The analogy would be like a lion going for his prey. After catching the target, he would not let go, but continued the relentless attack. That was a big and obvious mentality between his and my kendo, which I can learn from.

Keiko with Toshio was also particularly enjoyable that night. Toshio was playing jodan, and so I had the nice opportunity to experiment how to fight against jodan players. I trialled the position and angle of my shinai, and the seme from left kote then cut right kote tactic with some positive outcomes.

Afterwards training at Five Dock finished, I went to UNSW for their last 30mins jigeiko session. I had jigeiko with Sano Sensei and Gideon, and only had time to practice 3 men cuts each with Jackson as time was up.

Wednesday, 1 August @ Willoughby
That night was internal club team selection shiai. I had two fights - first one with Chris, and the second one with Taek.

While waiting for my games, I remembered the positive feeling at this year's National Championships during my wait to fight Kate the Bulldog in the womens team event. That strong desire to fight Kate made myself felt very strong - physically relaxed yet mentally focused.

And so, I told myself to enjoy and look forward the fight with Chris and Taek. And it worked quite nicely. I felt that I was playing nice, straight kendo, though at times during the shiai with Taek, I did feel that I was rushed by Taek's fast and continuous attacks a little too much, and wasn't able to control the overall rhythm of the game. Nonetheless, I was happy to win both matches 2-0, giving me a nice lead in the club's Dan team selection ladder.

Friday, 3 August Morning @ The King's School
I got up at 5:50am in the morning and arrived to the school at 6:50am.

Following on last week's first lesson, I decided to expand on the topic of suburi, footwork with the emphasis on coordination.

After a quick warm-up stretch, we reviewed what the class learnt last week - shomen suburi, with the emphasis on straight and big swing to the mid-line of the body, straight left knee and raised heel.

After the quick review, I led the class to practice suriashi along the length of the hall several times. Then, I combined the shomen and footwork practice together, by asking them to cut shomen and suriashi all the way to the end of the hall. Eventually, I taught them the footwork on how to turn around nicely to change direction 180 degrees to quickly cut again.

The kids were very observant and so they were able to perform the tasks I asked them to do quite nicely. And so at the end of the training session, I asked them to pair up, with one side as motodachi while the other practice cutting with the correct part of shinai, follow through after cut, and turn around to show zanshin.

Honestly, I am quite impressed by the learning rate of these Year 8 kids. Hopefully, many of them will decide to stay on and become a strong kendo players in the future.

Friday, 3 August Afternoon @ University of Sydney
Friday is the laboratory day for me in University. After my anatomy and neuroscience labs finished at noon, I stayed in the library and studied until the 3pm kendo training in the university main campus 30mins drive away.

Mark Kim led the class of about 40 players. Quite an impressive class turnout. After a great deal of time practicing footwork, the class was split into bogu, non-bogu and beginner groups.

Those in bogu practiced many many rounds of kirikaeshi combined with hiki waza. It was a tough stamina intensive session. Jigeiko session followed after a short break.

It is nice to jigeiko with those who I don't usually jigeiko with, and so those jigeiko were very stimulating and enjoyable.

During my jigeiko with Shunsuke Yamagata, he told me that he was able to see that I was coming either for men or kote, as the distance just before those cuts were distinctly different. Thanks for Shunsuke, as I am trying to make my men cut looks like kote cut and vice versa. I will have to take more care with the cutting distance.

Another memorable moment was the debana morotte-tsuki that I landed nicely on Ken when he came for my men. Oh, that connection to the hands during the tsuki. It was such a great feeling.

Saturday, 4 August @ Willoughby & West Lindfield
In the morning Willoughby session, I taught the beginner groups for ~30mins before joining the main group for jigeiko.

The main ideas that I tried to get across to the beginner group was correct foot stance, striking posture, coordinated cut, and the footwork in kirikaeshi for both motodachi and kakarite.

After teaching the beginner group, I put on my bogu and had jigeiko with Itakura Sensei, Sano Sensei and Ka-bi.

After my last jigeiko with Ka-bi a few weeks ago in Willoughby, I remembered to keep a close eye on Ka-bi when we got into sonkyo - just before standing up to fight. As soon as I saw him wearing that cunning smile again, I knew he was going to do throw out his sonkyo trick again (which he successfully got me dead on last time).

In sonkyo, as soon as both of us started the upward movement, I knew I had to throw myself in to launch a men cut as he would be coming in the cut my men. Ta da! And it turned out to be just that. Ka-bi the big joker. It was enjoyable to fight Ka-bi, as always. Unfortunately, with the limited time, we had to do ippon-geiko, and Ka-bi took the point with a nice men-nuki-do.

The club team selection was scheduled at 1pm at West Lindfield - 10mins drive from Willoughby. So in between the two sessions, I was able to practice Kata 1-5 with John, who will be going for his 1 Dan exam next Saturday.

After the short kata practice, I drove Daisuke to the dojo in West Lindfield. There, we had a nice picnic style lunch very kindly prepared by Kassandra. And I, had my two big servings of Sai-Mai-Lo plus some hot noodle as well. Oh, yummy!

At 1pm, we had individual warm-up before the 1:30pm start to the shiai matches. There were about 9 Kyu shiai matches and 6 Dan shiai matches. As I had already played my 2 shiai on Wednesday night, I only had one more shiai to play on that afternoon - against Fuchita-san.

I know Fuchita-san is a very strong player, who is technically much more superior than me. And so, I told myself before the game to keep myself steady, attacking only when I felt confident and safe to do so. Nonetheless, Fuchita-san, who played very strongly in his other two shiai matches, also took two nice points from me - men-nuki-do & hiki-men to finish off the game.

Fuchita-san scored ippon with men-nuki-do

With the conclusion of the team selection program, the club's dan and kyu teams were announced. I am very happy to be selected as part of the team with my very strong teammates. To my surprise, Itakura Sensei also announced that I would be the captain of the team. What a great honour to be with a team of such high caliber. I am looking forward for our team to perform well in next Sunday's state team championships. Gambarimashooooou!


  • How an interesting read!

    On the coninuous strikes from the korean kendoka, I remembered the taiwanese team in last year's WKC, who seemed to execute far more renzoku-waza than any other team that I saw. Some "novel" combinations like gyaku-do-men, which scored during their men's team shiai against Germany, just made my jaw drop. Did you notice this difference in style?

    Have fun in the state team shiai!

    By Blogger Ivan, at Monday, August 06, 2007 7:52:00 PM  

  • Very nice post.

    Congratulations on your selection, and good luck in the upcoming shiai! What does it feel to be captain? What "responsabilities" do you have with your team? Never been in a team match...

    Good luck!

    By Blogger Leon, at Tuesday, August 07, 2007 6:11:00 AM  

  • Hey Ivan, another thing I should mention about my jigeiko with Yoon was that his renzoku waza was not the mindless repeating attack, but was purposeful and full of seme. With this, Yoon's keiko had a nice balance between proactive attacks while not doing any wasted movements.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Tuesday, August 07, 2007 10:47:00 PM  

  • I think the responsibility of a captain is to have confidence in yourself, your team members, and to generate a positive spirit in the team to look after and support each other throughout the competition.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Tuesday, August 07, 2007 10:52:00 PM  

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