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!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Toe-kyo 2

Oops I did it again...

See that crack?! Why the hell that this kept happening on me? Honestly, while the last time was self-inflicted, this time someone training in the next line kicked right into my little toe. My first sensation was, "Oh, there's a hole on the floor!" When I looked down, only did I find that the "hole" was on my foot, not the floor. The second thought was, "Fuck, no more training." With only 10 minutes before the end of the session, I raised the white flag and packed for home. One month no training... which basically says no more training in Paris.. :((

The training was also lead by Wakimoto sensei. He made us do more kihon-geiko, and gave less talking this time. He mentioned the importance of being alert while being a motodachi. Which is what I think always. Even if the motodachi is receiving the strike, he can train his eyes, identifying when the kakarite was going to strike, and hence improving his debana skills.

Another emphasis that Wakimoto Sensei kept telling was that in uchigomi-keiko, one should strike men directly from issoku-ito-no-maai, without extra step. And after the strike, the right hand punches forwards in the direction of the opponent's face. If the hands are higher, the whole body is unstable and easy to fall backwards, especially if the opponent pushes.

So much so for now..

Now I can only do suburi at home. I'm telling myself to wait patiently until my toe fully recovers. That's life.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

First time in Kenyu

I just came back from Kenyu, another dojo in Paris amongst the many Chinese shops and restaurants. Owing to the great number of kenshi at Budo XI on Saturdays (meaning very little room and very few jigeiko), I opted to come to Kenyu on Sundays instead.

The training was superb. Many 4th/5th Dan senpais and a couple of 6th/7th Dan Senseis (one of them is Olivry Sensei). We spent 20 mins on kihon and then mawari-geiko for an hour. Interesting note is that I have never been to any dojo that spends as much time as they do on warming up and stretching, which I think is very good given the number of sensei who have chronicle back problems.

There are two "hickies" on my neck from running into the opponents' kensens. A lesson to be learned! However, what annoys me is that some people are very quick to lower their kensen to the navel level when I was attacking, so that with chudan-no-kamae I couldn't put his kensen off-centre. And the result is that I get stopped by the kensen stuck to my chest. Some people do it so often that I wonder: Is it good kendo? I have a couple of ideas to try for breaking the centre in this senario. I will try this to see if it works before writing it here..

Fighting a giant

Last Wednesday Wakimoto sensei 8th Dan Kyoshi in the police force sent by Japanese kendo federation lectured the training, which involved lots of explanation, so we didn't get to move very much. He explained mostly basics, like men-uchi, and we practised also a bit of men-suriage-men. Incidentally, I forgot to put on my contact lenses, but it didn't make much difference anyway since we didn't have to move much. It was a pity that I couldn't understand entirely what he said, since I can't understand French and could only guess with my limited Japanese.

On Friday I went to the free-jigeiko seession. There were more people than usual, which I guess was probably because they felt that they didn't exercise much on Wednesday. I had four jigeikos. two with more beginner and two with 4th/5th Dan senpai, including Maurie senpai. I made sure that I gave my best when practising with him, and the result was fruitful. I wasn't as agitated as last time, and I even managed to win the ippon shobu with a kote.

Another interesting note was fighting against one of the less experienced, who measures more than two meters tall! I felt like fighting with a giant, and men strike was virtually impossible. Because he only needed to raise his shinai slightly to block it. However I was happy that I hit the top of his men with a solid "pop" with a kote-men. His kensen was completely off-centre to block my kote-strike which made way for my following men-strike.

I still need to make stronger cuts with my left hand, and push my hip when striking. Otherwise, I think my seme skills are slowly improving.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Keiko with Maurie sempai

In the past two weeks, the training had up and downs. Last night at the free-jigeiko session I had the weakest centre in weeks. I couldn't apply proper seme, and was very agitated. When the opponent came, I got scared and lost my centre. However, in the previous trainings I preformed well. So I don't really understand how this difference can happen suddenly.

I fought Maurie sempai for the first time, who is one of the most senior students and always gives commands at the beginning and the end of the trainings. He's a man of large build, so I haven't practised with him so far, because I tend to want to practise with someone of similar size as me. This is not to mention that at the back of my head I thought that larger people cannot move fast. The practice with him completely let me with awe. I just could not do anything!! He scored debana-kote even when I executed renzoku (continuous-striking) techniques. Usually, people are overwhelmed by this kind of techniques, and they defend, step backwards or dodge. Doing debana-technique in-between fast strikes is very difficult indeed. He did it all the time! In the whole ten minutes I only got a kote...

The advice he gave me was to keep my centre and do not move away my shinai so much. The fact is, my mind seemed blocked and my instinct was to defend.. I really need more experiences.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

First training 2008

Yesterday evening was the first training in the new year. I had not gone to training since more than a week because of the family visit and holiday closure of the dojo. So, in the first 10-20 minutes of the training, my body was slowly waking up.

Yoshimura Sensei lead the training as usual on Wednesdays. We did exercises, included, for example, seme-men x 4 for the kakarite, and the motodachi would strike debana-men, debana-kote, and debana-dou at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time. The two senpai in the small group whom I trained with told me to step in one step to "seme" from to-maai (with about 5cm separation between kensen), which I wasn't so happy with, because in Tokyo I was told that, in seme, one doesn't move his left foot. Moving it is like suiciding since at this moment, you're vulnerable to debana strikes. However, because I'm new in this dojo I think I should follow what they do. On the other hand, not everyone is doing the same thing here. I guess it just the senpai thought it's correct and he could tell me to do that. So this didn't help me much to improve, considering my current goal.

I had a jigeiko with Yoshimura-sensei and Ryuzo-kun (5ht Dan). I had a full-out session with Sensei. With Ryuzo-kun I tried to put more pressure and create openings before striking. It's indeed very difficult to find one. There were many times I let him too close, and was hit by his fast straight men. I need to learn how to strike fast like that...

My body was too tense because I wanted to be aggressive, and that led to an imbalanced posture, as pointed out by Ryuzo-kun. He also said that I need to gain more experience, for example, when is the debana moment. So, more jigeiko!

Happy new year everyone!