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!

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.