忍耐 + 掌握人生
Beware: Get Snapped and Smashed!
Feeding the Zanshin Monster
Now back to kendo... Last month, I have set myself the goal of improving my zanshin. In the past month, I have been focusing on exactly just that. Although it has only been a few weeks since I set this goal, I could feel the quality of my keiko has lifted up several notches. When I initiate a cut, I am no longer focusing purely on hitting the target. Now, I can envisage my follow-through zanshin at the time I launch my cut. To let my cut and my body fully express the hunger of taking that point, completely immersing, committing into the attack, during the attack, and after the attack - just like a hungry lion pouncing on its prey, wrestling it until the hunger is satisfied. ROOOOAR!!! It is such an uplifting feeling. This, I have to say, makes me feel bloody good!
There has been a particular problem that has been bugging me for a long time - Tenouchi. Various sensei have kindly pointed out to me repeatedly in different occassions that my cuts are too light. I knew it has been a problem, and I have tried to add that extra snap in the wrist in my cuts to make them more solid. However, it has been too much of a conscious effort that, as soon as it comes into jigeiko session, that extra snap of tenouchi has all but disappeared. This, however, is about to change. Well, actually, the change is already happening... thanks to the newly added daily routine of suburi.
Apart from the training inside the dojo, I have been very diligent outside the dojo. On top of my daily gym workout (even during the exam period), I have been doing suburi with the goal of improving my rather weak tenouchi. I wasn't after quantity, speed, or endurance, but quality - the wrist snap in each cut. As such, the number of shomen suburi that I do is not particularly great - ranging from 300 times to 800 times in 100 chunks. The speed of completing each 100 chunk is not fast. As I said, I wasn't after how many suburi I make and how quickly I can get through them. Instead, I am looking for a quality snap in the kensen in each strike. I took my time to make each cut as sharp and snappy as possible, with all energy from the body transferring to the kensen.
Last Wednesday, it was so encouraging to hear from Mrs. Cross at the end of the training session that she could feel my tenouchi!!! It was the first time ever for me to hear this kind of comment on my tenouchi. It really made my day! Finally! My tenouchi's improvement is showing in my keiko. Personally, I have found myself in a stronger position when coming into an ai-men situation after I started my suburi-tenouchi practice routine. Now, with the stronger tenouchi, I am building a more complete package in my strike.
Zanshin + Tenouchi... State Championships here I come!!!