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, July 13, 2008

Squad training 2

We had the KenVO (Eastern Germany Kendo Association) squad training with Miwa Tomomari, 6th Dan Renshi, in Dresden on Saturday 12th.

What can I say to summarise the squad training? My shoulders, legs, forearms are sore; my left hand looks like a mess; I could hardly walk properly.

Last squad training I attended was more than a year ago! Then I embarked on a coaster-ride with my study trying to finish the thesis. Two months before it was turned in, which was three weeks ago, I trained only once a week. Now resuming 3-times-a-week training is what I'm trying to do. More than that I can't manage either.


The morning session was devoted entirely to Kihon. We had N x kirikaeshi, N x men-uchi, N x kote-uchi, few rounds of kote-men and kote-do. For me, it was nice to have an extensive session on kihon, since that's the best way to get back to more frequent training. I also improved my men-nuki-dou. But I need to practise more to really say what's the best way. 

Miwa-sensei asked us to do a lot of big men-uchi, faster and with more wrist snap. Incidentally, it's something I'm currently working on. He also stressed to do fast cuts, fast footwork is also very important.

The morning session was finished with ooikomi-geiko and kirikaeshi. Half-an-hour before the end he said, "Now everyone is tired. It's when we really start trainng." I bet everyone was cursing. I certainly cursed, in my mind, almost every living beings between the sky and the ground. But at the end of the day, it's true.


In the afternoon we had extensive practice on hiki-waza. We practised not only going straight back but also going sideways.

There are much more variations one can try, but the below is a list of what we tried on the day:

  • In tsubazeriai, press downwards the opponent's tsuba using one's own tsuba. The reflex of the opponent is to lift his hand up. This opens up his right side of men. At this very moment strike his right-men, using yoko-men technique.
  • In tsubazeriai, step to the left and the right, etc, to confuse the opponent. Then step to the right quickly with a strike on the opponents left-men, and quickly draw your body in the backward-right direction. The footwork of the right foot when striking is like during the nanameburi, which is twisted inwards to that it is in the direction where the body will go after the strike.
  • When the opponent uses hiki-waza, one should follow on to keep the pressure on. Sometimes if he doesn't go further enough so that he can return to kamae, he would walk forward to return to tubazeriai. At this moment he is off-gaurd, and you can strike hiki-men.

We finished the day with kakarikeiko with Miwa-sensei. No jigeiko - a pity, but I was exhausted, fortunately there was the next day to rest!

Monday, July 07, 2008

More wrist snap

Today only a few people turned up, nonetheless the mawari-geiko was still good.

  • Georg pointed out my tenouchi was not sharp enough. I need to use more of my wrist-snap.
  • I made an almost perfect tsuki today, and I even remembered to do zanshin!!
  • Today I became quickly tired, so that my hip was not following in the second-half of the training. Probably due to my tired legs from yesterday's jogging.
  • I wanted to use more oji-waza but my reaction was not fast enough. At the same time, I need to make better seme in order to create opportunity for oji-wazas.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Weak left arm

Today's training started late and was short but it was well worth it. We did quite some katate-men suburi. My left arm and shoulder really needs to be strengthened more. It got tired too fast, though afterwards it was totally fine, and there was not muscle pain (let's wait and see until tomorrow, shall we?). Georg stressed the importance of bringing the left foot up quickly when striking.

After a few rounds of kirikaeshi, and kihon-geiko, we practised ai-kote-men. This means that the motodachi strikes kote while the kakarite strikes kote-men. The kakarite's kote wades off the attack of the motodachi, followed by the men-strike which makes the point. I felt the successful kote-men is to keep the kote at the centerline so that men-strike can follow very quickly. Usually this is already sufficient to wade of the kote-attack.

Some stuffs that I remembered from the mawari-geiko:

  • Lilli surprised me by a nice and straight men-strike with proper seme and good zanshin. 
  • The beginner Matthias impressed me with his effort to always go through no matter if he hit the target or not. 
  • Against much taller opponent like Eike, I have to launch my attack from a closer distance otherwise I cannot reach men. (Sad but true.)
  • I made a couple of nice men-suriage-men. I found it is necessary to go a little forwards while doing the suriage motion, so that the opponent's shinai can be deflected enough and the men is opened up.
Good training!