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!

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!


HandsomeW said...

Happy new year Ivan.
Personally, I don´t see a serious contradiction between what you were told in Japan and what your current dojo´s sempai told ya.
From tomaai you can´t almost execute any pressure over your oponent, so you´re not applying a strong seme yet. Hence, if you want to reach a position where you can really make your oponent "feel" you, you need a little forward step. Considering the left foot is the one that really makes your body advance, you gotta move that one. Now, from that new position, you can execute a real seme, and surely don´t dare moving your left foot and just use your right one while you´re there, unless launching your own attack.
This is my explanation, without being there to visually get the information being explained to you, of course.

Ivan said...

Thanks and happy new year to you too!
Your explanation is very reasonable, I think. There're two stages: the first is to narrow the distance, the second is to attack. For me, I prefer starting from the distance where the kensen touch each other, because that's what the usual situation is. Doing exercise from this distance let me practise building up tension and body balance (required for keeping the fight foot off-ground). But starting from where the kensens don't touch very easily neglect this process. Another downside is, my body would get used to taking one step in (moving the left foot) when I want to attack. This is then dangerous. I'm sure it's not all bad, but I think I can benefit more the other way..

HandsomeW said...

oh, surely. The more I practice my seme, the more I seek touching the opponent´s tip to try to feel his kamae, but I was trying to search for a good explanation to put your sempai teachings into context.
I can´t believe with all your trips, you didn´t attend this year to the Nakakura cup at Brussels. I went there from Madrid and there was a very nice level and a quite impressive japanese delegation. (it was on 14-16th of December). There was people from Germany around, and many from France as well...well, from most european countries with kendo practicioners.

Ivan said...

I wish I could attend.. But after the holiday in Japan and in Canada it was time for me to work again.. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to work for 3 months in Paris, so I'm pretty content just staying here for a while :)

So how did you do at the Nakakura Cup? Did you have good keikos with the other kendoka?

HandsomeW said...

yes :) I had a great time and good keikos. Actually, I was surprised at the amount of geikos we did during the course. I´m more used to stages with just welcome and farewell ji-geiko sessions.
As for the tournament itself I´m pretty happy with my performance, even though I knew winning was out of reach for me...yet. On the teams competition my spanish partner and me were really fortunate. We needed one more member and we got teamed up by a japanese guy living at Beligum called Nakamura who´s sort of a killing machine, lol. And we reached Quarter Finals, where we lost 2-1.
On individuals I made to the third round and I could see myself going even a bit further, so I was pretty happy with it. I also had the chance to fight against jodan in the first round which was an unusual way to start a tournament! ;) Also, the Nakakura Cup is ruled by ippon-shobu so you really need to keep yourself on your toes for the whole thing.

Georg Lorenz said...

Hello Ivan,
a little bit late but I wish you a Happy New Year too. I even blogged something and there is a very interesting picture you might like.

See you soon :-)

lilou said...