Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Liverpool Squad Training Weekend

Squad training again, this time it was held in Liverpool. I didn't really fancy the drive up there but I was able to break the journey by staying with my folks in the midlands on Friday night, this left only a two hour trip in the morning.

Turn out was good and it was nice to see lots of new faces. After everyone was changed and ready, Mano sensei gathered us around and explained the theme of the weekend - Tame.

As you can see from my blog i've spent a bit of time collecting online sources which focus on seme and tame (they are directly related with each other). However, reading up and putting into practice are different beasts.

Sensei instructed us on entering our Issoku ittō-no-maai and applying pressure to the opponent in order to unbalance or urge them into striking for oji waza. This is done though a combination of seme and tame.

Now i'm still learning these concepts and my success is still very haphazard. Therefore, i'll leave the detailed theory to the 6th-7th dans (see links on right hand side of page). What Mano sensei made clear though is tame isn't simply waiting, its an attacking mind and intention without physically rushing in. This is where kendo's battle of will and minds emerges.

Mano sensei outlined these points, apologies if I've forgotten anything:

  • Identify your own Issoku ittō-no-maai as this is where you will apply pressure.
  • Seme can include a step in, once in Issoku ittō-no-maai further seme can manifest as a movement of the shinai or bending of the right knee (see here). There were others which I can't recall.
  • Remain stationary but project intention/spirit with posture, kamae and body language - we've all been done by a sensei this way i'm sure.
  • Tame isnt simply waiting for an opportunity - its creating an opportunity without resorting to rushing in.

Overall, this is a very high level concept which I'm still battling with - I tend to move in too close without applying adequate pressure. I think once someone has cracked seme/tame they are on the road to an advanced level of kendo.

Over the two days I experienced enjoyable jigeiko with quite a few new people. My only shiai practice match finished in a draw (no points). I was matched with a squad member specialising in jodan, I think I did ok but I was far too defensive which spoiled the fight. I'm still unable to score ippon :(

On the injury front, I managed to complete an impressive toe-in-hakama-arse-over-tit technique which left me sprawled across the dojo floor. Spent the last few days hobbling about with a sore right big toe.

I also caught a nice tsuki in the throat due to my rubbish tsuki-dare - check out the kensen asterisk!

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