a MMB! Kendo Blog: January 2008

MMB! Kendo Blog

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Happy Kangeiko

I just came back from the kangeiko - special winter early morning training from 5am - 7am at the International Budo University (IBU) this morning. I came back home feeling so good, the most enjoyable keiko since I arrived to Japan a month ago.

10 mins Kirikaeshi session

40 mins Kakari-geiko session

40 mins Kakari-geiko session

40 mins Kakari-geiko session

40 mins Kakari-geiko session

Since coming to Japan in early December, I have been going to various local kendo clubs in Chiba, to the Mistubishi Dojo in Tokyo (the slipperiest dojo in the world I believe - more like ice rink), the New Year Keiko in Kyoto and another training session in Kyoto. There are so many great Sensei and good players here. I have the most wonderful opportunity to keiko with Chiba Sensei, Sato Sensei (Chiba Sensei's Sensei), Nomasa Sensei at the Mitsubishi Dojo, plus a whole list of Kendo Greats, and many many strong players from different clubs. And honestly I have been struggling with my inexperience when facing Sensei with strong seme keiko after keiko. I tried to be composed from the start of every keiko, but it did not take long for me to get sucked into attacking, and in the end, the Sensei exhausted me in no time. Sometimes I wondered if I am worth 3 Dan or if my kendo has worsen. Even the high school kids seemed more energetic than me and have the stamina to go on for much longer. Honestly, I was quite lost... until this morning.

I am in action

When I played the girls from IBU (finally someone who were similar age, and girls too), it seems so much easier. I was feeling myself again, playing my own kendo against fast, young and energetic kendo. It was great fun. And I faired quite well too, taking both ippon at ippon-shobu against the two girls I played this morning. So, my kendo is still on par with the university kendo students. And I should have belief in myself, that I am improving, step by step, from the many keiko and advice I received from the many experienced, respectable Sensei I have met and will meet, continue to challenge myself against strong players, and become stronger.

Receiving advice from Mitsuru Yoshiyama Sensei
at the New Year Keiko at a local dojo in Kyoto on 1st Jan

Michael and me
at the New Year Keiko on 1st Jan

Michael, Yoshiyama Sensei, me, Alex
at the New Year Keiko on 1st Jan

Anyway, I am very much looking forward to this whole week of kangeiko at IBU. Next week, I will attend the kangeiko at a high school in the next town. I hope my kendo will improve and become stronger with each training.

Karaoke with Chiba Sensei - what a great singer!

It has been a while since I write my blog entry, so I have received a lot of advice since then and have put them in point forms.

  • Needs stronger tenouchi. Cuts are too light at the moment. -Yano Sensei
  • Try to close in the distance, seme in, and get a reaction from your opponent. If your opponent react, it is an opportunity to attack. If your opponent does not move, try seme more. - Yano Sensei
  • My kamae tends to lean forward. Try shifting weight back to left foot. - from a Sensei I keiko at Mirai HS, Kamogawa
  • Aim for one cut one kill, kote-men is weaker than going straight for men, or kote. - from a Sensei I keiko at Mirai HS, Kamogawa
  • This piece of advice was received 3 cuts into the keiko. (First men cut I did against this Sensei, I received a stab in the chest. Second cut I did, I got mukai tsuki. Third cut, my cutting intention was weaker than the first two.) It is a big taboo to be scared in Kendo. Don't be afraid. Keep coming. - from a Sensei I keiko at the New Year Keiko in Ogura, Kyoto.
  • Do not extend arms too far out during kamae -Yoshiyama Sensei

With the Kendo Research Group on Boxing Day
(front-left) Ozawa Sensei, Honda Sensei, Yazaki Sensei
(back-left) Me, Alex, Uehara Sensei, Sensei from Yamagata, Michael