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, June 03, 2007

16th Leipzig Kendo Championship

Yesterday to my complete satisfaction I came back with a trophy from the 16th Leipzig Kendo Championship! I won the 1st place in the Kyu division, with that I got the chance to also compete in the Dan division. The levels are in fact quite mixed. Some in the Kyu division are definitely better than some from the Dan division. Part of it results from the strict and bureaucratic examination system of the German federation. One has to begin their official test from 6th Kyu, with each year no more than two exams. A shodan would require a minimum of 3.5 years experience.


Last week in fact I went to only two trainings due to large amount of work to do. When I showed up on Friday, some said that I lied on my blog! Well, in fact, you know, it was just a test to see who are reading my blog and trying to steal my secrets. Now I know wa ha ha ha... (Just kidding, of course.) So it takes a year for the others to find out that I'm blogging, that's interesting..

Hej du, schreib auch was. Make some noise here.

Anyways, let's get on to the main story..

Kyu Division

I finished my first two fights rather quickly with 2-0. In the first fight I faught with Moeller from Berlin: 2-0 (hiki-do, debana-kote). In my second match I couldn't remember what I did. But I was quite agitated. Stephan reminded me that I should keep cool. Then I gradually got better. In the third one I faught with Giessner from Leipzig, whom I won 1-0 with a debana-kote. From him I got plenty of tsuki marks. One of which was especially painful. Immediately afterwards, for a while, I had pain at the back of my head. The artillery must have been hit. It is very dangerous indeed if one does not take care and uses tsuki before he/she masters the technique.

I also think that in a competition, one is supposed to show his best and try to show the beauty of kendo, instead of just winning the competition. So, out of this principle, one should always show what he's best at instead of going through all the techniques he knows.

Quarter-final (Kyu): Me (red) - Giessner from Leipzig (white)

In the semi-final, I fought with Tino (also from Dresden). I won 1-0 on a kote-suriage-men. He was full of fighting spirit and did well on putting pressure, so it wasn't easy.

Semi-final (Kyu): me (red) and Tino Lehmann from Dresden (white)

Then I realised that I was in the final, fighting against Martin (also from Dresden). I had much hesitation during the match because I knew that he is fast. The moments when I didn't hesitate I got points. First on a debana-kote. He followed up with a easy kote-nuki-men when I launched my strike from to far away - a lesson to remember! Finally, I finished the match 2-1 with a kote-men. Only afterwards from the video, I realised that at the first kote, with no intention of hitting on target, I used the normal footwork to step forwards. Then with the left foot slightly in front of my right one, I launched the men-strike with that extra acceleration and distance, which allowed me to take a large leap forwards. This combined with Martin's backward movement and low alertness, I was able to get a point.

Final (Kyu): Martin Petrasch from Dresden (red) and me (white)

First medal for any sport, at the age of 26 - a rather amusing fact.

Elisa took a lot of videos of my matches for me (Danke Elisa!). So today I let out the Narcissistic side of me, and enjoyed the recordings again and again.

Dan division

So the rule is that if you are in the top 4 of the Kyu division, you get to compete also in the Dan division. I had not much difficulty with my first opponent. He seemed also very nervous. The match ended 2-0 with my kote-men.

In the second round, I got knocked out by the eventual champion, Mesenholl from Wuppertal, who fought in Nitto. Though I lost, it was a pleasure to fight him because he is stable and powerful kendoka. It was my first time fighting a nitto player. I wasn't sure what I was doing except I kept a good mobile footwork. But only afterwards I thought of better strategies.

He dropped his shinai when I hit his kote, so that I missed it and hit on the tuba or shinai instead. I think a good idea would be to feint the kote and then switch to men, since the men is open when he drops his hand.

My second round (Dan): Mesenholl (red) and me (white)

There was also a moment of opening when he missed and had his men open. Only if I had reacted quickly enough...

The hiki-do would have been better if I move more backwards with my upper body straight

Eventually, Mesenholl won the 1st place, and the second and the third are Marco (Leipzig) and our His Majesty Stephan, respectively.

Third place play-off (Dan): C. Rohde from Berlin (red) and Stephan Hernschier from Dresden (white)

Stephan first gave a blitzing men-suriage-men, and then a straight men when Rohde seemed to have let his men completely open (hear that popping sound!)

Final (Dan): Mesenholl from Wuppertal (red) and Marco Schulze from Leipzig (white)

Team Events

In the team events, I played the Senpo in our A team, consisting of me, Martin, Georg, Jan and Stephan. Apart from another all male team, we had also an all female team.

We won the first match 4-0 against Halle, but lost 2-3 to Leipzig. I drew the first match, but lost 1-2 in the second. A little disappointing. But they eventually won the first place, successfully defended their title from last year.

Summary of results

1. Patrick Koko (Dresden)
2. Georg Schröter (Leipzig)
3. Jacob Mack (Leipzig)
4. Martin Streitz (Halle)

1. Eori Satoh (Berlin)
2. Fanni Fröhlich (Leipzig)
3. Lili Dombrowski (Dresden)
4. Jasmin Rodig (Dresden)

1. Ivan Liu (Dresden)
2. Martin Petrasch (Dresden)
3. Eori Satoh (Berlin)
4. Tino Lehmann (Dresden)

Dan (and top 4 from the kyu division):
1. Torsten Mesenholl (Wuppertal)
2. Marco Schulze (Leipzig)
3. Stephan Hernschier (Dresden)
4. Christian Rohde (Berlin)

A year ago..

I started wearing the bogu almost exactly a year ago. It's really interesting looking back at the videos last year, how much my kendo has improved (which is never enough). By the way, the motion in the last year's videos seem to have accelerated by YouTube. Don't think I was really that fast.

There are however still reflections to be made:
  • Keep calm and don't panic when the other launches a strike. Instead, think of oji-waza.
  • Do not hesitate when a moment comes. In fact better launch the attack before you realised that there is a chance.
  • Be more aggresive, and don't be afraid of moving into issoku-itto-no-maai, as long as the centre is maintained.
  • Do not launch strike from too far away.
For the last year's event, click here.

Some photos (more on my picasa web album):

Dresden style


Stephan said...

good fights you showed but still many things to learn you have young padawan...


Ivan said...

Ye-ss Master Yoda..

Martin said...

Congratulation to your 1st place! And thanks for the video! - after watching it, I realized that I've to show more diversity :P

Ivan said...

Martin, congratulations to you too! There is always new things to learn in kendo and that's why it's so exciting!

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