About this blog..

This is a blog that I started in April 2006, just after I first put on my bogu (kendo armour). It collects the advices given by more experienced kendo practitioners as well as those from my own experiences. Both technical and the mental aspects of kendo are written in the blog. I hope someone will find them useful or interesting at least!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Leipzig Championship

Came back at nearly 1am this morning from Leipzig with the bunch of Dresden Kenshi. I was very pleased about my performance in the championship, my first one. I got through to the quater-final in the junior division, meaning non-dojo-leaders, beaten by Georg a young talented kenshi from Dresden as well. Which I wasn't too disappointed, since in normal practises with him, he was obviously better. Moreover, he went on to become the 1st place in that division.

I won 4 matches in total. Three in the single, and one in the group division, in which I was the taisho of the team. The 1st match was easy, which lasted under 1 min. I won 2-0 with a Men- and
a Kote-strike.

In the 2nd match, I was up against a Czech kenshi who is much bigger and taller than I am. Running into him felt like running into a tree trunk. But I managed to strike Men, so the match ended with 1-0. It's funny to note that he makes the sound: "so, so..so so so.." all throughout the match which I thought was funny. I almost wanted to laugh, but resisted of course. I think it's pretty useless doing that, if not damaging, because it gives away your attacking rythm or tempo. I gave an impressive-looking Do-strike towards the end, but I was out plus my shinai landed more on the front than on the side.

My third oppenent had approximately the same physical size like mine, and similar agility. The biggest error he makes is to bring his shinai too far back, which was too slow. I striked Men, and the match ended 1-0.

I lost in the quater-final to Georg with 2-0. Both times were Men-strikes in the

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Training systematics

In jigeiko I mainly did Men-strikes with what I found yesterday, namely, bring the arms higher. I felt an improvement from yesterday. It's especially apparent when I was able to score against someone who two weeks ago was impossible for me (see this entry ). I also almost gave Jens a couple of head -on Men-strikes, but my shinai fell on his shoulder. Seems like I need to improve accuracy. It's also interesting that he rotates his shinai in a small circle constantly to distract my attention, and at the same time he can pull it suddenly from the smooth rotation and strike accurately.

  • The things I should work on are pretty much the same as the previous training. Yet one more thing is the Kote-strike. My left hand tend to be too low. I should move my left hand more forwards rather than downwards.
To build up my own training systematics, I asked the people on Kendo-world forum what method they use. See this thread.

Asian Etiquette

During the training yesterday a guy who hasn't worn the bogu yet really pissed me off. I was the Motodachi for two people, and he was one of them. The trainer told us to finish each practise with Sonkyo, so after doing uchigumi-geiko with this guy who was the first Utodachi, I bowed and turned around to the second person. So the first guy bloody use his shinai and poked me from behind to get my attention!!! I was fucking furious but of course my sense won the day. I just told him to never do that again. This is totally ridiculous. Politeness and modesty is such a big part of Kendo. Not to mention the respect for the sword. Using the shinai as the mere extention of your arm is rediculous.

It brings me to another story, which is about whether to look at your opponents eyes when bowing. The answer is of course not. The other day someone who has done kendo for two years, thinking he's senior than I am, asked me to look at his eyes when bowing. I indirectly said that some other people said the opposite. But, oh-my-god, some people try to show that they know stuff, while having absolutly no idea about asian culture. In martial art, if one looks at his/her opponent while bowing, it means that this person is being cautious of sabotage, which not a real politeness. "Looking in the eyes" is a western etiquette.

[Note added 20/7/06: it turns out that some people even the japanese do look at each other's eyes. The bottom line is, your eye sight should not leave your opponent's body while bowing.]

Monday, May 22, 2006


How can Stephan be so fast on the stike? I don't understand it!! Today I did jigeiko with for the first time and he was every time faster then I was. Maybe my forearms were too tense.

I worked on mostly Men-strike today. A advice from Jasmin is that my Men-strike is too low. It hits on the metal guard more than the top. To correct that I brought both my arms higher, and then push my right arm forward/downward. This eventually worked. And I found this way of striking renders the opponent's blocking less effective.

I also work on Seme, which successfully distracted several people (but not Stephan).

I have to increase my speed. But not sure how.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

First shiai

I participated in the Dresden kendo league for the first time, and I fought with Isi, who has been a kenshi 6 months more than me. I was very motivated to attack, but most of the strikes were ineffective. (Something to work on.) The result was a draw. I scored first with straight Men-strike. It landed despite that she tried to block it. She also scored a Men when I turned around without a proper Zanshin. It was an important lesson to learn. There were a couple of moments when the judges disagreed, one of which was when I went for her Doh she striked my Men. When I later looked at the video we striked at the same moment. Nonetheless, I think my Doh-strike was more impressive ;-). Overall, I think I tried my best, but there are a lot of things I can improve.
  • Practise striking during some footwork. I found I tend to stop my footwork before making a stike which I think will alert the opponent.
  • Better Zanshin.
  • Work on Seme (tackle the opponent's shinai to create distraction).
  • Convincing strikes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mock Shiai

Yesterday at the end of the university kendo club training we did a shiai practise, in which I was up against Wei. The result was 2-1 to me. I got one Kote, but lost one because I didn't know where the boundary was and went outside. He returned the favour and went outside twice too. I wasn't very happy about my performence as I forgot lots of things I kept telling myself, including:
  • Fully extend the arms and body whiling striking, especially, the Men.
  • The actual combat starts when the Kensen (tip of shinai) is touching each other, we both kept too great a distance.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Was in fact ill today, and thought about not going to the training. But in the end the stronger part of my mind won, and so I did. I told myself that if I believed that I wasn't ill, then I would feel stronger. Sometimes it is the case. At least this time was. We trained in the first half Kata - the first and second forms -- and the second half some strikes and then Jikeiko. It wasn't hard at all because the main trainer wasn't there, who went to the German Champianship with the strongest kenshis. So there're only four people today with Bogu and three without.

Because the Jikeiko was short, so I only picked out one thing to improve:
  • Kote-stike should take smaller step forward.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Straight..no ice

On Tuesday, Stephan asked us to Jikeiko with first only Men strike allowed and, later, Men and Kote. It was a good exercise, because I immediately realised that I need to improve on speed. Someone whose name I don't know, landed his shinai on my Men almost everytime, and I felt extremely embarrassed.

I think I'll go to the Leipzig Champianship on 27th May, which will me my first shiai!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bagai photo! Everyone trying to look his/her best.
From left: Stephan, me, Jan, and Wibke.

Here are some photos from the BBQ with kendo people on Monday, May Day.

Training from yesterday didn't yeild much I think. Here are some reflections:
  • The Kote strike should be more of a continous forward action, instead of a downward one.
  • I still haven't considered Jigeiko as a routine practise. Partly was due to that fact that I try to hide too much, so my postures were mostly incorrect when I striked. I should just apply directly what I learned in Uchikomi-geiko.
  • My blocking is not so effective. My opponent could still hit my Men even though I though I was defending it.
On the bright side:
  • I'm more aggressive. My Zanshin is better, i.e. I'm more ready to attack again after the previous one.