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 06, 2007

Squad training

Got up this morning at 8am having slept for only 6 hours. The training started a little after 9 with some warm ups. Then the squad trainer Tomonari (Tomo) Miwa sensei (6th Dan Renshi, see also the entry on Dresden seminar) took over. As usual we started with a few rounds of kirikaeshi, until my arms started to feel soar. But then, more, more and more.

This is of course not the first time in kendo training, but every time it somehow reminds me of my dad who I used to go out hiking with when I was little. He used to say to me that there are only 100 meters left until we get to the top. But of course where were somehow always 100 meters left. By the time we got to the top, phew, you think it's over, well no, there's still the way down.


After some more kihon-geiko, Tomo divided us into woman and men. We started an intensive series of exercises involving tsuki. First, from toma (far distance), take three steps and fence without kiai and fumikomi. Then, two steps and fence. Then, fence with kiai.

We then did ai-tsuki. This is extremely difficult and it seemed never happen that both people land on targets. I got quite big neck pain from people who landed their kensen on my side flaps of my men, causing my whole head to twist sideways.

We then did renkuso-waza like tsuki-men, and with other combined techniques, like, men-hiki-men, etc.

The main point with tsuki is not to stab with just the arms but with the whole body, especially the lower abdomen and the hipp.

We ended the morning session with ooikomi-geiko, suburis and haya-suburis. Which really exhausted me out. While doing it I thought to myself, can I actually continue into the afternoon? Then I told myself not to think.

Tomo told us that many of the exercises we did was just to build up our fighting spirit. Which is the most important when it comes down to squad training.


We learned much about techniques in the afternoon session.

kote-suriage-men: There are two ways, one with the kensen in the middle, in the other method the kensen moves slightly off centre with a snap and comes back to centre immediately. The tenouchi is important in both cases. The latter was taught during the training, but I asked Tomo afterwards if the former exists, he said yes and it's a matter of preference.

men-suriage-men: the footwork is very important in executing a successful men-suriage-men. One usually has to move sideways in order to strike the men. A swift footwork also ensures that the upper body would be straight.

We did also kote-kaeshi-men and men-kaeshi-men, and the similar principle applies.

After the suriage or kaeshi, if the opponent comes too near then do taiatari. Against a taller opponent - suriage. Against a shorter opponent - kaeshi.

I asked a question against Jodan: difficult to execute suriage or kaeshi. Most of the time aim at the opponent's left kote and simple strike. Move always to the right side to create an opening of the kote. Also one can feint the left kote and strikes the right one. I asked afterwards about do-strike. He said that apart from gyakudo, one can also strike the opponent's right side do, but better through from the opponents right to be safe.

Then we did a few rounds of one-minute fight, with one side defending and the other attacking. Though it was a squad training, there was still a big difference amongst the players. Some are not too difficult to score point the others are just impossible.

Following a 5 minutes break we started jigeiko. I was the first to fight with Tomo sensei. Very quickly, I got exhausted. During the jigeiko he launched two men strikes. One got me, and the other I avoided by doing suriage but couldn't continue with the countering men-strike.

Afterwards I fought three players from other cities, and won two ippon-shobu out of the three. I was particular happy with one of it because the score came after a proper seme, which has been what I have worked on lately. I lost against Marko from Leipzig who did a beautiful men-suriage-men.

The day finished with BBQ outside the sports hall, with some beer and hearty steaks -- very rewarding indeed! Now my body is aching all over..

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