Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tough Night at Tora

Paid a visit to Tora kendo club this week... phew, it was a tough one.

A combination of reduced practice (holidays), warmest day of the year and the athletic kihon blew me out.

Its times when I visit Tora and UCL when I realise I need to improve my kendo fitness, they are able to handle extended kirikaeshi drills and kihon with enough energy for 15 mins of jigeiko at the end.

By this time I was a gonner with arms/ legs like lead.

I did gain something positive out of it though. For some reason my kirikaeshi has gone to ratshit over the last 6 months, my left hand is all over the place while my right remains centralised.

One of the seniors at Tora suggested my sayumen angle is too flat (coming in sideways) and so I should angle it up. This immediately improved my cuts. Now I know what to sort out I can work on cutting properly again.

I've also ordered a new men from Miyako Kendogu in Japan as my existing one is getting a bit manky. I have to wait a few months for it to be fabricated and sent over.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Portsmouth Visit

Due to the Easter break we arranged a club visit to Portsmouth Kendo Club.

About 10 of us made the trip down to spend three hours of Ono Ha Itto Ryu and kendo practice.  The guys at Portsmouth have taken an interest in Itto Ryu and take every opportunity to train with Blake and Harris senseis, this was no exception.

A few snapshots of Harris sensei's ad-hoc seminar.

The day ended with an hour of jigeiko and it was good to mix it up with a few new faces.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Easter Hates Kendo

It's easter holiday season again which means school closures and disruption to regular kendo :(

My regular place was shut so I planned a visit Tora kendo club. However, first capital connect had other ideas (surprise, surprise) and cancelled my train. Not straight away mind, they let me wait 30 mins on the platform so we could watch the late train wiz past without stopping to make up time – no announcement, nothing (F****** ****s!). I hate that train company.

I have been working on a number of things over the last few weeks with varying degrees of success. Some resulted from another pasting I received from Young (as usual), who explained that I rely too much on Hiki waza because my Shikake waza and attacking presence is weak.

I have to admit my faith in my men attacks is at a low, I can never seem to get though. As a result, I’m using oij waza more to try and compensate for the poor success rate. I suppose I should keep plugging away and not get caught up with ‘must win’ attitude.

On a plus point he did say my footwork is improving, but I still need to increase my distance.

I’ve been doing a bit of research on the net to try and get an idea on how to improve my Shikake techniques.

One vid interested me in particular, I’m wondering if this will help me attack from distance. HERE.

I was also given a few more tips from Katsuya sensei. These included:
  • Attack/seme by bending both knees so it looks like I’m moving forward. Salmon sensei also demonstrated this technique to me a few weeks ago. I have since tried this a few times in jigeiko and I cant quite get it to work. Will persevere.
  • Don’t stand there doing pointless tapping and fiddling with the shinai. These moves must serve a purpose otherwise keep kensen straight.
  • I explained that I have difficulty fighting rank beginners and end up getting tangled up. Katsuya suggested I use straight, big waza with follow though and zanshin. This can help create an opportunity to change target if the opportunity arises which means I can learn something new.
  • I should open out chest with my shoulders back in kamae. Not only does this improve posture and appearance, it also means the shoulders can snap forward slightly with the cut and increase its effectiveness. If the shoulders are already rolled forward in chudan then the have nowhere else to go while conducting a cut.
Blake sensei has also been bashing into our heads that we should sustain our attacks until be mentally beat our opponent. He doesn’t mean unleash in a torrent of kakarigeiko cuts, but maintain absolute pressure. E.g. kote, men…. Hiki men without procrastinating, then zanshin and ready to immediately beat the opponent if they show an opening/ signs of weakness.

He repeats the phrase “Beat the man, not the equipment”. Words which I feel takes kendo from a mechanical process to understanding how to dominate the opponent.

Another phrase I heard last week made me chuckle. This was ‘Statue of Liberty’. This was coined by a dojo mate to describe an opponent who rigidly stands in chudan and allows you to run onto his sword point.

‘Statue’ describes their pose and ‘liberty’ describes taking liberties in thinking you’re going to simply run onto their kensen. Heh, I like it.

Edit//: This is ace! HERE