Friday, 9 December 2011

A Bit of Progress

Not updated for a while.

I've had a horrible month with lots of things in my life kicking off at once. Combination of increased university studies (Graphic Design degree), buying/selling our house and busy time at work as eaten into kendo time. I've had to accept the need to re-prioritise which wasn't easy as I hate missing practice... still been managing at least one session a week though.

On the up side I think I've managed a major step forward. For the past 12 months something's not felt right.. I've managed to improve my waza during kihon but struggled with imposing myself during jigeiko. I've been scratching about, changing my kamae, posture and weight distribution with little success. I could never put my finger on it.

However, 3-4 weeks ago Geoff Salmon sensei observed that I break/bend my left leg and raise my heel too much when I seme forward and/or cut, this occurs before the cut and during hikitsuke (drawing up of left foot) . As a result, my fumikiri (launch from back foot) is very weak as a lot of the forward energy is taken by my bent left knee and raised heel.

I took sensei's advice and tried to keep my heel down as much as possible. I initially found it impossible to do and concentrated on it so much I was getting mullered. Yet after a few weeks something clicked during a random jigeiko. From somewhere my leg and back straightened up and I seemed to be able to launch forward quicker than before, I began to feel much more mobile moving forwards and backwards. I tried to remember how this 'epiphany' felt so I could repeat it again.

Over the last few weeks I've been attempting to work this into my every day kendo. I still fall into old habits and have to mentally check myself. Yet, I feel this has been one of the biggest leaps I've enjoyed for the last 18 months. It has been working well for men cuts but I now need to re-engineer my kote and do.

Still lots to fix but pretty pleased over all.

Finally, two of my teachers Geoff Salmon and John O'Sullivan sensei passed their respective ZNKR Kyoshi and Renshi shogo exams. Pleased for them.


  1. I think this may be more noticeable/prevalent amongst 'tall guys'. We have a guy who is about 6'3" who has the same problem and we noticed the break/bend particularly during kata because you could see him literally bobbing up and down as he stepped off. This explained why his kendo always ended up heading downwards, totally negating his height advantage.

    I think for someone like me - 5'10", we're always heading straight level or upwards to strike our aite's men so there's no sensation that we have to 'drop' down to reach it.

  2. Agreed, its an easy habit to fall into... especially if you creep with the font foot while keeping the back stationary.

    I've lost count the number of times i've been told i'm 'lucky' to be tall. They don't appreciate that height introduces a completely different set of problems which they don't experience.

    Your mate should speak to Josh (squad). He uses his 6'5" very well.