Sunday, 21 February 2010

New Dojo

I visited Mumeishi for the first time today which proved very enjoyable and helpful. They have Holt sensei, Salmon sensei and a few high grade Japanese sensei who are nice to practice with. They also have and a bunch of kids who are lightening.

I first practiced with Funaki sensei who immediately picked up on my continual problem of weak seme and not relaxing my arms/shoulders. He also told me not to move backwards (I seem to do this more when I visit an unfamiliar dojo... must be the nerves). I performed a number of shomen cuts with seme and relaxed posture which gained approval. Why cant I do this all the time?

He also told me to concentrate intently, focusing on my opponents's eyes but viewing the whole body (The whole mountain).

I think i'll acknowledge seme and tense arms as a long term issue as it's pointless me repeating the same kind of post all the time. Coincidentally, the BKA recently posted a good article on Seme and Tame here, an article by Kenshi247 is here. A poster on KendoWorld forum submitted an interesting seme vid here.

I also practiced with Holt sensei who taught me improved zanshin. I tend to run though too far after a men cut so sensei explained I need only to run slightly over two shinai distances away (mine + my opponents). In addition, I need to keep my hands up and shinai forward during the run though and as I rotate to face my aite, not pull them into my chest like i'm doing now. This will stop people creeping up behind me and cutting as I turn.

Holt sensei's final point for better zashin is to turn the correct way to face my aite. If they are behind and to the left then turn anti-clockwaise, behind right then turn clockwise to face them.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Need input....

No kendo Tuesday and Friday as the school where we are based is closed for half term (swines!). Need to find somewhere else to practice :(

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Distance Issues (again)

Fridays practice was predominantly jigeiko.

Young wasn't practicing so he spent time watching us and providing advice throughout the night. As with previous weeks he said I should use my height advantage and attack from distance.

In addition, he picked up that my cut trajectory doesn't arc over enough and has the habit of hitting at a too sharp angle just above the mengane. This is because i'm reaching excessively with the arms instead of cutting with my whole body. Young suggested I push forward more from the hips/small of the back, therefore delivering the cut without leaning forward too much.

I'm finding it difficult to improve this aspect of my game.

I also practiced with Katsuya sensei who observed that my shoulders are too tense and narrow. I need pull my shoulders back for a relaxed posture.

Therefore my main points for the night are:
  • Cut with the body;
  • Cut from my own attacking distance;
  • Don't lean forward too much;
  • Arc my cut over more; and
  • Relax and pull shoulders back.

//Offtopic: Kenshi247 posted up a vid on facebook which included Tankendo. I've never seen this style before and I think it looks brilliant. Unfortunately Tankendo isn't practiced in the UK. Check out this video.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Kakarigeiko Practice

During Tuesdays practice we studied kakarigeiko to try and understand motodachi's responsibility during the exercise.

Blake sensei demonstrated the awareness needed to recognise shidachi's timing, distance and cutting style in order to create a fluid kakarigeiko for your partner. The basic principle was to dismiss a poor cuts from shidachi with a block and cut of your own (e.g. kaeshi do) and allow a good cut to complete.

He made this technique look pretty simple but I found it difficult to perform while we were going full pelt. There's so little time to try and judge your aite, assess the quality of their cut and formulate a response. I realise this only improves with practice and I can see how it helps during keiko, as you develop the ability to read your opponent (without the need to think about it).

On the shidachi side I was pretty poor. I lack the mobility to immediately spring back with hiki waza after taiatari, I must be leaning too far forward after my cut or something. As a result my kakarigeiko attacks appear unwieldy with little control.

On a non-kendo related subject... I was well happy last weekend because Derby beat those forest scumbags 1-0. Get in.