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!

Monday, April 07, 2008

I am Shodan

On Friday I took a BA flight to London for the grading on Sunday. As in Autumn last year when I took my Ikkyu test, I practised with the Imperial College Kendo Club on Friday evening. Luckily this time, Matsumoto-Sensei (7th Dan Kyoshi, British National team coach), Yung-Sensei (6th Dan Renshi), and Yoshikawa-Sensei (5th Dan), plus the members of the Mumeishi club. It was a hard training, where at the end I could hardly breathe.

Some exercises like keeping the distance with a partner in Kamae while moving in four directions were nice to check the body balance in Kamae.

Yung-Sensei pointed out that my sayu-men in kirikaeshi is not strong enough. Need to improve..

This time when doing jigeiko with Yung-Sensei I could get a couple of points. So I think my kendo has improved a lot since last Autumn. There was a female member from the Mumeishi club with name Gill, who is really good and fast. I couldn't quite keep up with her at times.

On Sunday - first thing when I woke up - snow, and it was bloody freezing. I spent a while trying to get to the examination venue, Kodokan.  The sports hall is very modern and very well equipped. It must be nice practising there every time.

I met Trevor Chapman Sensei (5th Dan) again, whom I first met in Kobukan in Tokyo. It was a very good feeling to see him, who is a very good person. He was the on the judging panel for Ikkyu test.

I passed the exam without much trouble, though I was a bit nervous at the beginning while doing kirikaeshi, which I felt was not smooth enough. In the two jigeikos that I performed, I got many points, but I think too often I turned around to face the opponent immediately after the strike and jump backwards. It looks much nicer to run straight through first and then turn in an exam.

We did the first three forms of Kata, and I felt I did the best I could, which I was pleased about. 

But in fact, I think anyone who could wake up to this freezing weather and goes to the examination should be given the grade straight away :)

I also watched the exams for the 2nd and the 3rd Dan. Many of them do superb kirikaeshi compared to mine, I should really improve on that. Specifically, some of them have very nice snapping sound from the sayu-men strikes. In the 2nd Dan jigeiko, I saw them taking more time to seme, and some used wazas, though mostly unsuccessfully. For the 3rd Dan, people in general have very good kamaes, and really tried to open up striking opportunities.

My current goal is: applications of waza in jigeiko. 


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