Saturday, 12 December 2009

Saburo Iwatate Sensei and Tatsuo Hayashi Sensei Seminar Day 1

The first day of a two day seminar run by Saburo Iwatate sensei and Tatsuo Hayashi sensei was enjoyable but tiring. Most of the seven hours was concerned with kihon and basic men, kote and do cuts.

This is a list of what was taught (what I can remember anyway):

  • Suburi
We were told to swing the cut over our head so the shinai hit between the butt cheeks. With timing of one the shinai was then swung over the back head to finish the cut. Making sure the arms were extended at the end (but keeping correct posture). This was done for shomen and sayumen suburi.

  • Posture & Fumikomi
We were formed into lines and told to place our shinai across our lower back and in front of our arms (straightening our posture). We were then told to push with the left leg (straight knee) and fumikomi, making sure the foot is only lifted a small distance and 'stomped' with the whole sole. No lifting the foot so the sole faces forwards or backward with the toes pointing to the floor, the sole must remain parallel with the floor at all times.

We were constantly reminded to look up at all times, our neck much touch the back of our kendogi collar. Iwatate Sensei said it should be as if we are looking at a 'far away mountain'.

  • Men
For a small cut we must start the cut as if we are attacking tsuki but at the last moment lift and cut the men, snapping with the wrists. The follow though must be straight and the arms not too high (right arm parallel with the floor). Iwatate Sensei stressed we should not run though at an angle after the cut.

  • Kote
For a small kote we were told that when we push forward, we must align our right foot with the aite's right foot then cut with a snap. The kensen must be pointed at the aite's tsukidare to show proper zanshin.

Iwatate Sensei insisted that there should be no body twisting or spinning to the side for a correct kote cut.

  • Do
Iwatate Sensei instructed how to perform nuki do with motodachi cutting men and kakarite stepping forward/right cutting do.

The main exercise came in three parts:
  1. Motodachi lifts their shinai above their head and kakarite steps forward/right and taps the aite's left do with his left hand. This is to understand the body movement.
  2. Motodachi lifts their shinai and kakarite steps forward/right and completes a do cut.
  3. Motodachi cuts men and kakarite steps forward/right and performs nuki do.
The do cut itself was a small action with the hands lifting about face hight, the left hand sliding up the tsuka to meet the right hand, then cutting the do at 45 degrees (just below the aite's elbow). The cut must involve the body, not just the arms.

We then formed into groups and performed Mawari geiko using only the techniques we'd been taught. I was told by Nishioka sensei that I should turn to my right after my run though.

After a short break we had sensei jigeiko for the last hour. I managed to practice with Davis Sensei (BKA Kendo Bucho) and Hayashi Sensei. The queue for Iwatate Sensei was huge and I ran out of time.

Hayashi Sensei was very strong (as you would expect from an 8th dan!). I tried to keep my posture and use seme, however he saw me coming every time. They're like bloody yoda these hachidans.

Hayashi Sensei indicated that I should immediately follow up and cut if an opponent retreats. Just like what Young told me on Friday night. This is obviously something I need to work on further.

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