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Harai Waza

Another month down, another new focus for training.  This month we'll be focusing on harai waza.  Here are some of my personal thoughts on it, from my own training and experience.

I really had trouble figuring out how to start this entry.  Normally I just open the page and go to work, letting whatever ideas and thoughts I have flow out onto the screen, but this one really had me stumped for a while, mainly because everything I started to write sounded really negative and I didn't mean it to, so I think I'll just go with it and try to get to the point that I was trying to make in the first place.

When I first started learning harai waza it was part of kihon kata three.  If you want to be fancy, that would be the Bokuto ni yoru kendo kihon waza keiko ho, kihon san - harai waza.  The idea was simple: strike the motodachi's shinai out of center and deliver a men strike, all in one smooth movement.  It was one of the physically minimal  kata that we did, as it just require…
Recent posts

Debana Kote

I've written about this before. I know I have.  But, just like anything in kendo, my understanding of techniques evolves and changes as I gain more experience.  I read something earlier which goes along with this.  Sinclair Sensei talked about painting a line, and every time you come to practice you paint over it and over it, until the faint line starts becoming more solid and more vivid in color.  If you'd like to read it, it's here:

The Red Line

For this post, though, I'm not going to talk much about how to actually perform debana kote.  I'm sure I've done that enough in the past, plus I'm sure anyone reading this will have their own way of doing it, or their own instructions on the intricacies of it that work for them.  If not, I encourage you to talk with your sensei about it!  I believe that debana kote is one of the most effective waza out there, no matter your rank or skill level.  The waza is simple enough to grasp at first, but as you practice, lea…

PNKF Shinpan Seminar

Last weekend one of my dojo mates and I drove across the state to attend the PNKF Shinpan Seminar, hosted by the Bellevue Kendo Club in Bellevue, WA.  Let me tell you, if you've never driven 10 hours in a day, and attended a 5-hour seminar on top of that, you aren't living.  Or, perhaps, you're living more than I did that day!  I was a zombie when I got home, but we had a successful trip over and back, complete with our routine stop for sushi on the way out.

There were a few main concepts that were covered during the seminar.  First off, almost all of the matches that we practiced with were either junior kids (10 and under) or high school kids.  The reason for this is because these are, a lot of times, the hardest matches to judge correctly.  A pair of ideas introduced to us were ichidori and sakidori.  I don't know if these are kendo-specific terms or not, but in the context of our seminar they helped us to understand what was being presented.  Apologies for my defini…

UW Taikai 2018

Last weekend was the 42nd Annual UW Taikai, held each year in Seattle, WA.  Thinking back, I believe this is just one of two taikai that I've competed at every year since I started at it, with the Kent Taikai in December being the other one.  This year was a bit special for me, as it was my first  time in the 4Dan+ division.  I'd be fighting the top-ranked people around, including many regional and national team members.  It made me both excited and anxious to think about it, as the level of competition for me was about to jump drastically from what I'd been used to before.

Our trip started on Friday, as we took our trip across the mountains and the state to Seattle.  We had our usual fun along the way, including celebrating our sensei's 70th birthday.  J Marsten Sensei was hosting a special kodachi kata seminar that evening, though, so we hurried to try and make it to that.  We pulled up to the dojo with just enough time to get dressed and out on the floor to go over …

Palouse Kendo Club

This Sunday a few of my dojo mates and I traveled to Moscow, ID to visit the Palouse Kendo Club, a relatively new club to the area that was started by my friend Maina.  The club has been active for a little over a year, if memory serves me right, and we'd always talked about having visitors to the club, but we were finally able to put it together and schedule it.  Six of us traveled over, ranging from 3 kyu up to, well, me! 

We pulled up to the dojo about 20 minutes before training was scheduled to start, and after greeting my friend and getting a quick tour, we were suited up and ready to go.  All in all, they had six people that showed up to train with us, and we trained for a good two and a half hours.  We started with warmups and suburi, then moved straight into footwork drills.  I have to make a confession:  I don't particularly like footwork drills.  I don't like running, either, but I do both because I know that they're both good for me and will improve my endur…

The Long Game

If you've been training for any amount of time, you probably have a laundry list of items that you are working on.  Our dojo has an established process for addressing how to tackle these items to try and keep them manageable for each person.  This works great for short-term goals and improvement, and can help build good habits for later on.  I, of course, have a list of things I'm working on, but I also have a set of long-term goals that I'm working on developing.  These are goals that I feel are a bit more complicated than basic corrections.  A lot of these goals are multi-part, and I'm working on breaking them down into edible pieces that I can use to build on each other, similar to the system that we already use for improvement.  Here are just some of the thoughts I have an how I'm thinking about approaching them.  Maybe by outlining them here I can solidify my plans.  Perhaps I just might find a new and more efficient way of approaching them, as well.  Who know…

Hiki Waza

Hiki waza have never been my specialty, but every once in a while I have a moment of clarity and an alarmingly high success rate.  The moments are few and far between, but they are there.  I've always believed in having strong hiki waza, even though my personal preference is to attack forward using shikake or oji waza.  I like having the ability and confidence to use techniques that work in any given situation I'm in, and since there's a lot of time spent in tsubazeriai having a strong hiki waza repertoire just makes sense.  This month our dojo is going to be focusing on hiki waza, and on some main points to make them work.  As always, this is just my personal experience and opinion on things, so take it as you will.

When discussing this subject with my sensei, there were a few main points that we came up with that help to create successful hiki waza.  The first we touched on was proper tsubazeriai.  I'm sure we've all seen scenarios where one (or both!) competit…