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!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bad habits in jigeiko

Yesterday evening 7 people turned up for the training, and I led the session. As always an extensive package of kihon-geiko was on offer. After about 300+ suburi swings, we did 4 x kirikaeshi, 2 x do-kirikaeshi, and few rounds of big men and middle men strikes to practise the wrist snap. Then loads of kote-men and kote-men-men strikes. 

We also practised seme and men-strike starting from to-maai when the tips of shinais just touch each other. And by moving both feet inch by inch whiling maintaining a good kamae, the kakarite reaches the isso-ku-itto-no-maai at which point he strikes. Just before extending the arms to strike, the left foot is kept still while the right foot glides forwards. 

Some 15 minutes were left for jigeiko towards the end of the training, which is rather short. Next time hopefully I can control the time better so that we can do 25 minutes jigeiko.

One difficult thing for most people including both advanced kenshis or beginners is that, many bad habits show up in jigeiko: upper body leans forwards when striking, constantly moving backwards, blocking, jumping backwards/forwards or evening sideways (which is back footwork).

It seems that for most people, the motivation to win overcomes far more than to do good kendo in jigeiko. There is a very good article on the Attitude to Jigeiko by Sotaro Honda Sensei (click). There are plenty tricks that work when fighting against players of relative low grades (including me) but they are useless against higher grade kendoka. If we indulge ourselves into these temporary moments of victory, the road to obtaining a good kendo would only be made longer and more difficult. Because these habits will become harder and harder to correct, and after one has corrected them, he would realise that much time has been wasted. 

I constantly remind myself of this.


Christopher George said...

I just popped into your blog and I thought I would just give my input on this.

From my experience, the bad habits tend to come from the basic body mechanics that go on when you are placed in a high-stress situation. I think this is the situation where the body prepares itself for the whole "fight or flight" thing where you lose some control over your advanced thinking and your defense mechanisms take over. The main thing we are trying to get over in jigeiko is to have that clear mind so we can overcome the natural responses and deal with the situation at hand with our higher-level abilities intact.

Ivan said...

Thanks for the input Christopher. I agree with you. It's ironic that human natural instinct for defense can be easily turned back on the person if slightly intelligent tactics are used against him during the fight.

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