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!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Ozawa Sensei in Taiwan

This year Ozawa Sensei came again to Taiwan for a few days. Again this year, Takano Sensei and Fukui Sensei (both 7th Dan) came with him. It was his first time in Taiwan after obtaining the 8th Dan, and was invited to give a seminar aimed at kendo instructors and senior students at university kendo clubs and alike. It was different from the past two years when he came just to visit different dojos and practised, this year he actually instructed, and taught A LOT -- more than what I have ever seen him talking in such a short time.

The seminar ran for two days with many 4-5th Dan kendoka attending.

Warm-up and Kihon

Ozawa Sensei started with some exercised for warming up, like taking large leaps forwards and backwards while maintaining the body balance. This strengthens the leg muscles.

Then he explained some kihon. Kirikaeshi and men-uchi. Because most of the participants are seasoned kendoka, he didn't say too much about them. Only that there are two types of pace for the kirikaeshi: For beginners the cuts should be clear and speed is less important, and for advanced, the cuts will be fast and continuous. Later during lunch, while he answered people's questions, he said that there are three types of receiving the sayu-men cuts for the motodachi:
  1. Holding the shinai straight up vertical. This is the normal way.
  2. Cutting against the kakarite's shinai while he cuts. This is for against stronger kenshis whose cuts are powerful, or when you want him/her to make powerful cuts.
  3. Be flexible with the shinai. This is for receiving cuts from children, women or less powerful kenshis.


After some basic cuts when we were ready for some more advanced stuffs, we started practising oji-waza. Ozawa Sensei explained some techniques:

  • Men-nuki-do: Seme. When the opponent just raises his shinai to attack men, raise the shinai to strike do while quickly stepping to the right. The step to the side needs not to be big, but the timing is critical. The body should stay up-right and should not bend.
  • Men-suriage-men: Use the middle part of the shinai to deflect the opponent's shinai in an upward sliding motion, then immediately strike down.
  • Men-debana-kote: The critical point is to take the opponent's centerline before he launches his attack. In this way, his shinai naturally moves to his left side to expose his kote. If the opponent takes the centerline, then you must take it back. Otherwise, the kote is hard to hit.
We also practised kata, but I won't write the details here.

  • I am truly grateful that the senseis took special attention to my performance. Whether kihon or kata, the senseis asked me either to demonstrate in front of the others or watch critically. While I was doing suburi, he also watched to check if I was doing it correctly.
  • The small men cut is not different from the big cut, except only that the shinai is not raised as high. The rest of motion, raising the arms and cutting down are all identical. He said it's bad to extend the arms and do an upward arc movement. However, I know some senseis specifically teach this way. Well, choose whatever suits you I guess. But I stick to whatever Ozawa sensei says. Unless I become as good as him someday (maybe it will never happen).
  • During the only one jigeiko that I managed to have with Ozawa sensei, I took time to seme. Although my performance was poor, especially my lower body was too tired to follow up, it was different from before when I more or less struck relentlessly.
  • Takano Sensei said that he understood my will to become stronger, but in jigeiko I should not bend or dodge, otherwise, I would never improve.
  • During the dinner on day 1, Ozawa sensei said my upper body became stronger and broader compared to before. He jokingly said that I was so thin that wind can just blew me away, haha. However, my legs are not strong enough. He said that I should strengthen them by doing the exercises he taught me.
  • I told Ozawa Sensei that I want to be strong at shiai when I'm still young, and asked him how to prepare for shiais. He only said, " Never give up!"
  • After Sensei when back to Japan, he wrote me and said that I must now try to use wazas learned in jigeikos. I will try my best!! See you next year!!

(I've become quite busy in the past few weeks, so finding anytime to write blog has been difficult. Sorry for not writing it in a style more pleasurable for reading!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One day I will be strong

The past few weeks were packed with activities, kendo or non-kendo related. There was the Taipei Chong-Chung Cup at the end of November, in which the mens team got the forth place and the women got the first. I was teamed up with four strong kenshis (4th and 5th Dans), who out-performed me tremendously. It was fair to say that if I was replaced with a stronger player, maybe 3rd Dan, we would have gotten the first place. I couldn't stop thinking this for a few days following the competition. My performance was poor and made my teammates nervous, so in the last few matches I was placed in the Taisho position, so that I fought the last and wouldn't affect the confidence of the other players. I finally understood the importance of the senpo and jiho, who should never loose.

Though I disappointed myself and my teammates, who still gave me a lot of advices for improvement and encouragement, I can only put things behind and continue to train hard, if not harder. One who gives up is the real looser. One day I will be strong.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

More on the hand grip

To elaborate on the method of gripping the shinai I talked about in my last blog entry, I extract some figures from the manuscript from Toshio Matsumoto (9th Dan Hanshi), the same document which I quoted for describing the Natural Stance Kamae.

The position of the end of hand grip should rest in the left hand as shown here:

The two muscles circled in the upper figure should be used to squeeze the end of shinai. (Aki Suzuki Sensei form Tokyo once told me the same.) Likewise, the same muscles of the right hand have also the same function.

The feeling is like supporting an egg with these two muscles without breaking it, as shown above.

The right hand should grip the shinai in a way that is hard outside but soft/flexible inside. To explain, he use the analogy of a "bull crap under the sun (hi na ta gu so)", which is hard outside but soft inside (rather interesting don't you think ;)?).

The position and angle of the thumb should be straight and relaxed, directed roughly parallel to the floor, as shown below:

This is connected to what I described with the right hand grip in my last entry.

Hope the above information helps!

Friday, November 05, 2010

V-shape hand grip

After two weeks of absence, my feet become slow again. After striking, I felt that I was dragging my feet over the floor.

However, Hsu Sensei corrected the way I hold the shinai with my right hand. I should hold it in such a way that makes the V-shape more apparent, facing myself. In other words my index finger is less perpendicular to the hand grip. This way, I naturally use more of my little finger for clutching the shinai.

I really want to get the speed up with my men cut. The slowness seems to have something to do with my foot work. Maybe it's because I don't push fast enough with my left foot, and my body center is not low enough. An indicator is the sound of fumigomi. The ideal should be a sharp "slapping" sound as almost all the japanese kendokas seem to have somehow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One beat too slow

It doesn't always happen that more than two sensei/sempais are telling you about the same problem. But when it does, you know you've found a critical thing to improve on, and that's fantastic.

What Tseng-Sensei (曾育仁) told me when practising with him was that I was "a beat too slow", and I tend to kneel down a bit before I strike, which made me slow.

While practising with Liao Sempai (廖泳畋) he also observed similar problem: I hesitated at moments when I should strike, or I would wait for the opponent's action and step backwards, basically not going forward enough.

He commented also that when I do shikake-waza, such as kote-men or maki-men, the body should go forwards already on the first strike to create pressure on the opponent.

These are great advices which can take me to the next level - a competitive kenshi.

Monday, September 20, 2010

To become one with the sword

Sometimes I get striked on the men when I doesn't cover it properly with my shinai. I raise my shinai to block, but my upper body bends back instead of dodge to the direction of the shinai. The bending backward creates a space open for the opponent to reach my men.

The other day while practising with Chou-Sempei (周群堯), I got hit again like this. I realised that I didn't trust my shinai enough. I didn't have the confidence that it can defend me against my opponent.

But then isn't it the same with attacking? To commit the strike, throwing the body onto the opponent to execute a powerful strike, is also to trust in the weapon in your hand that it's going to slice the opponent in half.

Didn't the folk use to say: "Becoming one with the sword?"

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Small cut

My performance in the last few trainings have been up and down. In some trainings my strikes were solid and confident, while in some I couldn't seem to commit my strikes fully. In situations where confidence was lacking, I not only attacked less and reacted slowly but I tend to bend my upper body backwards too often to avoid strikes. What a waste of training time.

In last night's training, however, I could commit to my strikes. It was almost like a conscious decision that I was going to launch my strikes forwards with confidence, and then I did it. It had also a lot to do with the fumigomi. When I stomp solidly on the ground, it helped to bring power and speed in my strikes.

Last night I also strike the do successfully for the first time against Ho sensei. First I put some seme and strike his shinai from the omote side as though I'm going for the men cut, and then I quickly switched to do.

Chang-sempai (張代林)let me practised small men-cuts after doing jigeiko with him. He asked me extend my arms up until the tip is just above the opponent's men, and then extend my arms and wrists forwards. Importantly, the wrist should not flex backward before striking, which was difficult for me since I was afraid of not having enough power. Bring the power in strike in this way requires good tenouchi with the body going forwards at the same time. I need to practise more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Short shiai-geiko

Last Friday we had a short shiai-geiko. I was in the less strong division, so I won all except one. My problem was that there is a tendency for me to return to kamae before any strikes, so when my opponent just comes up and strikes relentlessly, I just defend... Need to adjust this mentality for competitions.

Ho-Sensei told us:
  • In Shiai, one cannot wait until the opponent shows a complete opening before striking. One should strike when it appears just a little chance.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Natural stance kamae 自然身構

After reading a document written by Toshio Matsumoto (松本 敏夫), 9th Dan Hanshi, talking about various detailed fundamental aspect of kendo, including body postures and weight distributions in kamae and during strikes. It got me excited after reading it, because I have noticed a few things which worried me at the back of my mind:

  • 1. I lose the ai-men strikes very often, and my shinai tends to miss and drift towards my opponent's left-side.
  • 2. Most sensei's kamae appears that their left hand is not exactly aligned with the tip of the sword, but shifted very slightly to their left. And I have also seen black and white pictures of some renounced 9th and 10th Dan Senseis, holding kamae in this way.
  • 3. Kuroda-san once mentioned when I visited him in Tokyo that shifting the left hand slightly to the left and pointing the shinai towards the left eye of opponent. But I haven't actually gone out and try it.

After reading the document by Matsumoto Sensei, I think I found that could be the answers to these questions. The following are some main points:

  • The bottom of the waist would face directly towards the opponent, however from there above until the shoulders, the body is twisted naturally towards the left, with the direction shown by the dashed straight line in the picture at the top.
  • The root of thumb of the left hand is placed in front of the navel, and because of so, with the upper body facing slightly to the left, the left hand is slightly off-center, which is drawn as the solid line connecting between you and the opponent.
  • The tip of the shinai should, however, be on the solid line pointing towards the opponent's left eye or between the eyes. So that a triangle is formed by: 1) the line connecting the two shoulders, 2) the tip of shinai to the right shoulder, and 3) the tip of shinai to the left shoulder. (As shown below.)

  • This triangle should be maintained during movement, and is the basis to all attacks and defenses.
  • The left hand should be at the "body-centerline" (the dashed line in the top diagram) always.

This is what Matsumoto Sensei called the "natural stance (自然身構)". Because this is the most natural, without the unnecessary tension, for example, on the left wrist if it were to be exactly on the center-line (to the opponent).

He also said that there are following three advantages to stand this way:
  • The opponent's tsuki-attack slides off easily.
  • When you strike men, the opponents shinai slides off easily.
  • Difficult for the opponent to strike the kote.
However, one should be careful that if the shinai tip is too much to the right side, the men would be left open.

I experimented with this last week, and had good results. My ai-men was stronger, and suriage-men felt more natural. It seems that because I wanted my shoulders to face directly forwards before, my left hand tended to shift to the right during the strike, which is very self-destructing. Maintaining a natural angle with the shoulders seems logical since the right hand is much farther than the left hand. I remember once I asked Ozawa Sensei if it's ok to have one shoulder extending farther than the other, he said promptly: "Ok, ok!"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Focus on each strike (and another Czech visitor!)

For some reason, in the last training while practising with Ho-Sensei I could do clean and solid cuts. I could bring my body forwards, and could feel that my posture was straight from the beginning of the strike to the end zanshin. Ho-Sensei gave me some encouraging words because of that.

However I then asked myself, how can I do this in every training? For that, knowing the reason why I did well is important. I suspect that it was because I was very focused on every strike, partly due to the weather condition, the ONLY thing I was able to put on my mind was me in kamae, and my opponent in his kamae. In other words, focusing on just myself and the opponent is essential in bringing out powerful and committed strikes. I need to remember this and try to do this every time.

Another good news is that we have another young visitor, Marek Novak, from the Czech Republic, in addition to our already old friend Adam Urban, training for the summer in our dojo. Welcome!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

What to do in Jigeiko in bad body condition

It's summer now in Taiwan, and training in a dojo without air-con is one hell of an achievement itself. One constantly need to regulate his own training tempo in order not to dehydrate or faint from this crazy temperature and climate.

What I do is that I shift more from using the shikake-waza to the oji-waza in the jigeiko, and take more time to seme and experiment with the different seme techniques.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Fumigomi practice

Last Saturday I went to the morning keiko (Asageiko) at the Taipei Japanese School again, where Kamiyama (上山) Sensei (7th Dan Kyoshi) heads the training.

After the keiko he gave very valuable advices on the correct fumigomi and the practice for it, which I will describe in the following.

Step 1: Take one large step forward with the right foot. One main point is that when the right foot makes contact with the floor, there is a sheer-like force going, not straight down, but forward-down as shown in the picture below.

Step 2: Quickly draw the left foot to the right one, and stand on the soles of the feet, so that the body is going slightly up.

Step 3: Repeat the exercise.

This is really the tip that I have been looking for to improve my men-strikes, for a long time. So I'm eager to share with you guys here! Hope it helps!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

New Homepage of Taipei Kendokan

Check out the new English page for the Taipei Kendokan, that I made. Come to visit by all means when you are in Taiwan!!

Back to live in Taipei

I finally moved back to Taipei from Hsin-Chu, which means that I can go for training at the Taipei Kendokan more often. My goal is to train from twice a week moving gradually to three times a week. However, living in Taipei while working in Hsin-Chu means that I need to get up at 5:30 in the morning and go to bed at 10:30pm in order to catch the dedicated bus going to my company. Everyone awed at my new schedule, and some bet that I won't be able to last long, because it's too tough. Well I'm tough, too. ;-)

Speaking of toughness, the weather is becoming unbearable to train at the dojo. I need to make sure that I have enough water in-take well before the training. Last night I felt so dizzy towards the end of the training. When I practised in Europe, I thought taking break during the training was a shame. But I tell you, in this climate this is really a matter of life and death. We usually take a 5-10 mins break after 1hr, just before mawari-geiko and jigeiko.

Yesterday I put a lot of attention on my feet, making sure that they are not too far apart. And also their fluency when executing zanshin after the strike, for both forward strikes and hiki-men strikes. There should be a smooth coordination.

Looking forward to the next practise.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

First time at the Taipei Japanese School

On Friday we had a looong training from 8pm-10:30pm, because Ho Sensei wasn't there and So Sempai led the training. The extra time was due to additional program following the jigeiko, which included the kakarite executing kote-men-hiki-men/kote/do followed immediately by men-debana-kote.

  • In order to have enough time to hit the debana-kote, one needs a solid taiatari, which makes the motodachi pause.

At the end I was really exhausted, trying to keep on going. The movement however became more and more proper - always happens.

Saturday morning at the Taipei Japanese School

The lack of sleep didn't prevent me from getting to the Taipei Japanese School (TJS) at 7:30 in the morning. There Kimura-Sensei (now 7th Dan, a former student of Ozawa Sensei) was expecting me.

2007 Autumn - my first time in Tokyo. Ozawa Sensei, Kimura Sensei and me.

When I got there the children were practising kihon without the bogu. Three 7th Dan Japanese teachers and a few other adult ones were instructing them. It was interesting to see how they explained the basics, and of course I got to practise my Japanese listening skills! For almost every item, men-uchi and hiki-men etc, the children had to use the sliding footwork all the way across the hall after the strike. This really trains their leg muscles and fluency to the movements.

Afterwards we put on the bogu and became motodachis to the children. It was a new experience for me to have so many kids coming to practise with me, and to teach them. At the end it was mawari-geiko for the adults.

I got a few insightful advices from Kimura Sensei:

  • Try to communicate with the opponent with kensen from to-maai.
  • When doing seme, no matter how tall you or your opponent are, direct your movement downwards and not upwards.

The second advice I had never head before. However, it solves some of the questions I had in mind. So it was really a unexpected reward of this visit, as well as making a couple of new Japanese friends who are teachers at the school! I think I'll be back there soon!

Monday, May 31, 2010

30th Anniversary Taikai

The 30th Anniversary celebration finished successfully. About 10 teams participated in the competition including 4 teams from Taipei Kendokan, 1 team (all japanese senseis) from Shang-Hai, 1 team from Renpeikan (Japan), 1 from the police, 1 from Yi-lan County, 1 from I-Shin Kendokan, and 1 from Hsin-Chu City. The winner was the Renpeikan team and the second was one of the Taipei Kendokan team. The joint third were Shang-Hai and Hsin-Chu.

My team lost to I-Shin Kendokan, though I won my match 1-0 as the jiho. I scored a debana-kote, however wasn't able to score a further point despite some attempts to strike men. I guess that they were too slow, and my opponent just saw them coming and blocked. And I almost didn't use any kote-men, fearing that it might be too slow. More practices required!

All in all it was a good atmosphere. I was stunned by the performance from our most experienced team (members consisting 4~5 dan) and the Japanese team (many are 7th Dan). The matches were really top-notch, which further encouraged me that there are so much room for me to improve and perhaps that, if I work hard enough one day I will be like that!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

30th Anniversary coming up

This weekend will be one of the biggest event held by Taipei Kendokan so far - the 30th Anniversary - on this Saturday. There will be over 100 invited guests from other dojos in Taiwan and Japan, doing jigeiko and some team shiai. There will be 4 teams from us, 1 women and 3 men teams, and I will be fighting as Senpo in one of them.

Last night's training I didn't make my left foot follow up quickly enough after the strike so that my body tend to lean to the right. Sigh.... the annoying mistake popped up back again. When can I get rid of it completely?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strike at once

Yesterday I took the train up to Taipei to practise, because I felt the lack of practise and disipline led to my kendo basics becoming loose. Especially after watching my old Dresden kendo friends great performance at the 19th Leipzig Championship, and how much they have improved, it really stimulated me and gave me a positive motivation to train harder.

Recently I focused on improving kote-men, and trying to put pressure on the opponent making him strike first so that I can use oji-waza.

Ho Sensei gave some tips during the class:
  • kote-men should be as fast as possible, and it is important to bring the shini smoothly forwards right after striking the kote. To strike fast, the left foot stays sometimes at the same spot while the right foot stomps twice for the kote and men-strike.
  • when seme to strike kote, one can lower the kensen while moving in a little. This makes the opponent feel pressured and at the same time thinking that there is an opening for a men-strike. When he intends to strike men, execute a debana-kote.
  • when striking men-kaeshi-do, make sure to extend the arms up and forwards to block the men-strike, instead of blocking from the side. This is faster and safer since the opponent's shinai wouldn't get so close.
After my jigeiko with him, he gave the folloing advices:
  • Do not let the striking opportunities pass. When I see an opportunity, strike at once without thinking. I tend to make a pause before I strike, so that Ho Sensei and make a oji-waza on me.

The weather is getting warmer making it difficult to train...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Congratulation to Ozawa Sensei!!!!

It was exhilurating to hear from a friend that Ozawa Sensei had just passed, what is said, the most difficult examination in Japan, the 8th Dan kendo test. I asked another friend to check the internet to see if it was indeed real, when he confirmed it. I was so excited! Finally!! There were 1530 total examinees over the two days and only 21 people passed.

I called Ozawa Sensei to congratulate him, and he sounded very happy, but "tiring" he said. I bet! The next thing that entered my mind was, I need to practise harder and not disappoint Ozawa Sensei nor Ho Sensei or anyone whom I look up to.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Taipei Youth Cup 2010

Last Sunday was the Taipei Cup, in which we had one team consisted of 7 people including me. We got the third place in the end, lost unexpectedly to the Taiwan University Alumni, who came the 2nd.

I was placed in the Jiho (the second place) in the match. My opponent scored a men-nuki-men first, when I carelessly striked men while my left foot was too far behind my right, meaning I couldn't jump far. Now 0-1. "Be calm..", as I told myself. Then after a few exchanges of strikes, he leapt in, and without thinking I took once small step behind to void it, and immediate striked his kote. "Kote-ari!", a men-nuki-kote. It was a 1-1 draw.

We lost the match 2-3. Ho Sensei was not happy about my performance of the day because I made many mistakes with basics. I need to:
  • always make sure I draw my left foot quickly when doing seme.

  • usemore hiki-waza.

  • do not bend my body when striking kote.

Of course the lack of practice lately was to blame. There is really no short cut but to do more suburi and more practice...

My friends came for some support. Thanks guys!!

Pretending to be bad asses.

I am the red one..

Not so pleased.. to be honest.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Kuroda-san's Visit in Taiwan

Kuroda-san and I met in Czech Republic about 4 years ago, when Ozawa Sensei was invited to Prague to hold a kendo seminar. Since then we've kept in touch, and met up for kendo and drink every time when I went to Japan. It all seemed like yesterday, and yet so far away. He is truly a special friend. Now I'm happy that he finally comes to Taiwan and visit me.

He arrived on Friday 3/29, and in the evening I took him to the Taipei Kendokan. As usual the training started with kihon, waza-geiko, mawari-geiko and jigeiko. Kuroda san's perfect body posture and balance could not be more familiar to me, and that's his uniqueness.

After the training at Taipei Kendokan.

My practice that evening was not so great as my right arm was too tense all the time. But it was nonetheless enjoyable to play kendo again with my old friend.

At the world-famous National Palace Museum.

Monday, 29th March

I took him to the Nation Chiao Tung University (NCTU) kendo club, and Kuroda san was asked to lead the session. The members who turned up for training were:

  • upon the point of contact between shinai and the men, the left arm is inclined with the shinai when looking from the side.

  • one should practise more large men-cuts. If one is good at large cuts, he/she is naturally good at small cuts.

Wednesday, 31st March

On Wednesday I took him to the National Tsing Hua University kendo club. The members who turned up that evening included many more advanced, who have trained for 2-3 years. Kuroda san was again asked to teach. So I told him that, and suggest he gave more tips on seme-techniques and correct attitudes as well as how to obtain them during training:

Kote strikes:

  • when practising kote, the kakarite should occupy the centerline first, and then the motodachi should push back at the same time create an opening while the kakarite makes the kote strike.

  • the kakarite should strike along the centerline.


  • always keep in touch with the motodachi's shinai before striking.

  • when sliding the shinai against the opponent's shinai, the kensen should lower slightly, so that it is difficult for the opponent to move the shinai to the other side and hit kote.


  • To seme, move the body forwards and direct the tip of the shinai towards the opponent's kote at the same time pressing his shinai down. This makes him want to raise his shinai up. At this moment strike do.

For me, he gave me the following advices:

  • My seme is too quick, and the opponents raise shinai easily to block. I should make the movement more subtle and slower, in order to let him feel the pressure and strike first while I use oji-waza.

  • Relax my right arm.

I hope Kuroda-san comes again soon!!

Here is one short clip of our jigeiko. Note: At the end of the clip I struck men when he attempted a kaeshi-do, but didn't manage to block the men-strike.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Japanese delegation at Taipei Kendokan

Recently many Japanese senseis visited Taipei Kendokan, I was however busy and couldn't attend the practice most of the time. Fortunately, I made it to the practice this monday, when about 15 Japanese Senseis visited the dojo, including about four 8th Dan.

I was please with my performance in that evening. I even managed to hit the kote of a young 8th Dan Sensei! Somehow my body balance was very good, and could make straight and fast attacks. However, some senseis just knew what I was going to do. Like Yonekura (米倉) Sensei, he made me think that I could reach his men, but every time when I do that, he made kaeshi-do on me.

Tomorrow Kuroda san (5th Dan from Kobukan Tokyo) will finally visit me, I'm excited to meet my old friend again!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Training to obtain the center

Last night I practised at Taipei Kendokan. There are some sempais from the dojo whom I just don't know how to fight. What makes me feel the most hopeless is when I loose over and over again the simplest ai-men strikes. When this happens, I get annoyed and want to make more men-strikes to prove that I can do it, which only makes my moves become even more predictable. I'm not sure how to act in this situation...

This Wed I practised at the Hsing-Hua University Kendo Club. There was a good turn-out rate, especially considering that they just had a competition last week. We started with the ooikomi-geiko with sayu-men, and then renzoku-wazas. My forearms were mildly tense after these exercises. "I used the correct parts of the muscles," I thought.

In the end we had about 20-minutes jigeiko. My opponents were all junior to me, so my goals were to use as much oji-waza as possible. However, I also found that most of them don't know how to hold the center, and how to attack the centerline of their opponents.

This is something really difficult to explain. For me, I understood what the "center" is after training with many Senseis and Sempais with strong centers. I think only when training with such people can one understand what it is.

Tomorrow I will attend the joint practice for all kendokas in Taipei. Looking forward to it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cut right down

"Cut right down! Cut right down!" The instruction from Ho Sensei still echoes in my ears.. "Cut it like you want to split the opponent's head in half."

Many kenshi, especially young ones, tend to only tap the opponent when striking. I know this is not good, but sometimes I still do it without thinking.

More suburi is needed..

In the past few weeks I trained only once a week which is really terrible. However, there're something else also that needs my dedication also at the moment. Meanwhile, I will have to make sure that I split my opponent's head in half, well in my mind.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!! Wish you a good health and fortune in the year of Tiger!!

There have been full of end of (Chinese) year parties from my company as well as working for deadlines, which occupied most of my Fridays in the past few weeks. So I trained seldom. This Wednesday my body couldn't stand anymore, and took a train to and back from Taipei on the same day just for kendo.

My left fingers felt rather weak from a mild injury, which I think was caused by overstressing it when I did suburis at home. And my body felt a little heavy from all that eating, so I didn't feel so agile. However, I tried my really best, especially when doing jigeiko with Ho Sensei.

Ho Sensei commented after our jigeiko that when I should hit kote straight-on instead of turning already sideways and hitting with an angle.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Short Kendo Film

A short kendo film about kendo, made by Hungarian film maker George Perrin, starring mambers from Budapest Fonix Kendo Club. The trailer is very well made that touches me as a kendo practitioner who is going through these stages of training.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Accept criticism to become a better person

My mind had been a little weak lately, in both work and kendo. Yesterday I went to Taipei Kendokan as usual on a Friday for a major fix-up. I got what I wished for - 1.5 hr of focused mind, and a reminder of what determination means.

My body was really tired after my first jigeiko with Ho Sensei. Then Yung-Tien Liao was the second. I knew I had to try my best to attack, because it gets on his nerves if his opponent is moving backwards a lot, and he would really show that he loose interest. The result was good. I tried my best, though still he was much faster, I was able to make the best out of the 3mins of fighting with him. A little note about him is that, he often corrects promptly on my ettiquette at the dojo. At first, it is almost irritating. But then I had realised that it was good for me, and he meant well. So everytime when he corrects me, I accept and appreciate his criticism. And everytime when I can truly accept my mistake, I feel like a better person. So thank you, Yung-Tien!

Ho Sensei commented:
  • During my seme, I want to occupy the centerline, but the movement is too big, such that my kenzen is too off-center.
  • I missed a lot of striking chances. I should use my eyes better and hit accurately.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ryuzo-kun came for a short 2-days trip in Taipei this Sunday - how wonderful to see my brother friend here in Taiwan, after so many talks in Paris about Taiwan, its culture, and people over bottles of beer and wine! It feels strange to meet up finally here, no? Ryuzo?

Two things about kendo I learned during his visit:
  • When doing fumigomi, the left knee bends a little immediately after pushing the body forwards. The purpose is to drop the body weight fast at the same time drawing the left foot to the right one. The result is a much sharper stomping sound. I noticed in particular when Ryuzo do it, because it sounds very different.
  • When I seme my upper body leans a little forwards. I should keep it up-straight, and as Ryuzo mentioned it, like someone is pulling my hair up.

I hope we will meet again soon - whereever!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

No one will remember me if...

Yesterday I went to the Hsin-Chu Kendokan. Not so many people turned up, and I wonder if it was due to the rainy and cold weather..?

Peng Sensei told me after the training that I was not confident and motivated enough, which was why I lost in the competition. I need to try harder and attack more, he said. "Otherwise no one will remember you, which is a pity because you are still young." I think I hesitate too much. This problem pops up every now and then. Can I get rid of this parasitic problem once for all?