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, June 28, 2009

I am Nidan

Yesterday I passed the nidan test. My forgetfulness didn't want to give me an easy pass and decided to act up the night before. After the training in Friday evening, I left my bogu at the dojo which is 1.5 hr away from home and the examination venue. So I had to rush there to get it in the morning. Fortunately the exam was in the afternoon....

Despite the long wait, the exam went smoothly, and I got another good bashing session!

One step in and strike immediately

After 2 weeks of absence from the dojo due to health reasons, I went to last Friday's training. Still a little apprehensive about stressing my body too much, I gave my best anyhow. There was an extensive practice of kihon- and waza-geiko, and Ho Sensei gave me a lot of useful feedbacks!

  • To use kote-men as oji-waza to counter opponent's kote-strike, stomp the right foot almost at the same spot, while the following men-strike moves forwards. This makes the waza fast at the same time, with the correct distance.
  • When striking kote, step the right foot forwards in the direction of the opponent's right foot. This brings the shinai naturally to the appropriate position to strike kote.
  • When striking men, jump forwards instead of upwards.
  • He said I struck a couple of good men-strikes while doing jigeiko with him. The whole time I was thinking of what he always said about striking men: "Make one step and immediately 'make the action' (meaning launching the attack)".
After the training we went to celebrate Du-Senpai's birthday. Lots of fun moments, of course!

Monday, June 08, 2009

2009 Asian City Cup, Kaohsiung

Last weekend was full of excitement and fun. About 10 of us from Taipei Kendokan traveled south to Kaohsiung to participate in this year's Asian City Cup Kendo Taikai, held at the historical Butokuden built during the Japanese occupation period. Renovated in recent years, it is a beautiful architectual work with nice atmospheric surroundings. It's also interesting to note that, the manager of the Butokuden and the organiser of this competition, Kin Chin (陳信寰), is one of the three 11th generation Soke (Headmaster) of the Hyoho-Niten-Ichi-Ryu, which is the school created by the lengendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi.

After arriving in Kaohsiung and dropping off our luggage, we headed for some food and drink - Taiwanese style. The video explains it.

Fortunately, I got up in the morning without headache. There was keiko before the competition instead of after, which was a little strange I thought.

The competition started after an hour. The system is 3 against 3 with winning by Ippon-Shobu. My first match took place after a long wait. I fought as senpo, and was in a team with a 3rd Dan and a 5th Dan senpais. Our opponent was one from the local teams, who seemed relatively unexperienced. I was, nonetheless, still a little nervous and didn't take every opportunity to strike. A point should have given to me much earlier in the match, but instead I won the match with a men-strike, which shouldn't have counted. A rather funny situation.. Anyhow, after looking at the video afterwards I was please to see improvement in my posture during men-strikes, that my upper body was kept up-right. See the men-strike at 0:26 seconds in the video (which should have counted). I was the red.

We came out of the pool, but unfortunately lost to the Korean team B. They are extremely good at attacks in close range, and my kote was hit just after we separated from tsubazeriai.

Another team from our dojo beat the Korean Team B, and advanced to the final. Here is the semi-final match. We won with 2-1. (We were red.)



Taisho (Gun-Hsien So Senpai who is in the national team and will be fighting in Brazil this year)

The tension was built-up so high after the first two matches, with a tie. In the Taisho match, So Senpai won with a blitzing kote strike. Look at how everyone cheered!!

The final against Korean Team A was another dramatic event. We lost the senpo, but won the chuken match. The taisho match was a draw, so it's down to the representative match. Unfortunately, they won it with a men-strike. Though we lost, we were not disappointed at all. Everyone tried their best and showed good kendo. 

Final - Representative match Taipei Kendokan (white) So senpai vs Korean Team B (red)

Here are some clips from other matches:

Leung senpai (梁文曲) (red) fighting. He has a very good form combined with agility and power.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Oh my god... Everyone was so strong. I could hardly make a men-strike. Ho Sensei even just had to open up for me to strike, cuz he was winning every point.

After a few thundering debana-men, with me hopelessly on the receiving side,

he asked me: "HOW DID I STRIKE??"

I answered: "Sending the shinai forwards as though reaching the tsuki and then men."

he answered back: "That's right."

Phew.. said easier than done. But I'll try my best. And also I think I didn't take every opportunity to strike.

蘇耿賢 (Gung-Hsien Su) sensei who is in the Taiwanese National Team led the training this evening. It was my first time seeing his kendo. Very very strong.. I'm just in an utter awe by the level of kendo I saw today. I'm trying not to feel too discouraged when I wonder: When can I be as good as these people?

No correct answer. Just do it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Competition ahead

In every training I've been to since coming back to Taiwan, the senpais have helped me a lot to correct some of my bad habits. Apart from extending my arms farther, relaxing my right arm more, and yesterday Chang senpai pointed out my upper body leaned a little backwards when striking, while I should keep it up-straight. On the good side, my hip is coming forward, on the downside, the range of my reach is shortened.

This Sunday I will take the new High Speed Railway to Kaohsiung City and participate in the Asian City Cup. This is an invitational competition with teams from Taiwan, Japan, Korea and other nearby cities. So, many strong players will take part. There will be about 10 guys from my dojo going. I will try my best!