Saturday, 5 December 2009

Kiai from the Tanden

Friday practice was taken by Tony, one of the seniors at the club. He demonstrated the benefits of dropping our kiai down to the tanden instead of shouting from the throat/upper chest. We had to push our stomachs out so it touched the tare as we breathed in, clench our abs then kiai from deep down. We had to maintain the kiai until after the cut to display proper zanshin.

As an exercise with a partner we were told to wedge a shinai horizontally between us at lower abdomen level. One of us then had to move the other using a combination of kiai, stomach tension and push from the hips. This helped us understand that all cuts and movement originates from the tanden.

After 25 minutes of kihon we went to jigeko. We had visitors from two other clubs (Shinichido & Kenseikai), this swelled numbers to about 40 kendoka. This resulted is a brilliant night and was a shame we didnt have longer. So many people, so little time!

I tried to put what I learned about seme on Thursday into practice, with mixed results. I had a good practice with Manny (a visiting 5th dan high grade). I scored a few men cuts but had trouble dealing with his debana kote, I cut fresh air on many occasions as he nipped in, cut then moved away before I could react. My biggest revelation was that recognised a few of his seme as I kind of know what to look for now, I just need learn how to deal with it. Manny told me to be more observant with my kote men cuts, if the first cut is successful then don't go for the second as it can spoil the point.

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