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Showing posts from April, 2010

Rain Rain Rain

My walks for the past couple days have been rained out, but I was able to get in a nice long walk and suburi Tuesday evening. I find that I'm actually kind of enjoying walking now. It gives me a chance to relax, be relatively alone, listen to music, and think about everything that happens to cross my mind (which is mostly Kendo, since I walk to get better at Kendo).

Practice last night, in a nutshell, was tiring, but very satisfying. I had a couple of opportunities to work on my Do strikes with Takado Sensei, who gave me some really good advice on how to approach it. It's all about going back to the basics and starting from there. She had me step in and strike while my back foot came forward, being sure to put a lot of power into the hit and using my hips to drive forward and to the side, thus putting even more power in. By the time she was done helping I was able to get a very solid hit. Hopefully if I keep working on this I can translate it into my normal hit, complete…

Ando: The Man, The Myth, The Sensei

Considering I'm still sore from last night, it must have been a good practice =)...

After some warm-ups (those Hayasuburi are easier and easier every time I do them....I think all the at-home suburi is paying off), we jumped straight into our Men and straight into quite a few rounds of Kirikaeshi. Again, as always, we focused on slow, accurate, clean hits before speeding up. When I compare myself to other people in the dojo, especially Sean (who said to me when we started, "Just block as fast as you can"), I feel I'm still really slow at this part, but also I can tell I'm faster than when I first started, or even 6 months ago. Sometimes the climb is only one step at a time, which is ok.

We did a few rounds of basic drills next, with Takado Sensei leading the way. Let me just say, if anyone doesn't know Takado Sensei, she is a great teacher, but I'm pretty sure she is a robot. Or like the Energizer Bunny. She just keeps going, and going, and going...…

Blisters = No Fun

Oy....Had my first blister in a long time last night, and let me tell you, I DO NOT miss that feeling. Ended up having to tape up my foot pretty heavily for the end of practice. but I pushed on, and I'm glad I did. I didn't do as well as I think I would've without injury, but I'm proud of myself for continuing on. Now, let's get down to business...

Last night was a very good practice, indeed. The focus of the night was on big, proper strikes and cuts. When I say big, I don't mean big as in Jogeburi, where you bring the shinai all the way back to your tailbone and all the way forward. I mean big and is hands over the head, equal distance from the shoulders, wrists back, and shinai no lower than parallel with the floor. After warmups (which we did in 4 lines instead of in a circle like we normally do), Sensei elaborated on proper striking technique for a while, which is always very welcome. Even if I think I know something in Kendo, there's always so …

Sick and Tired

Practice last night was very bittersweet, but mostly sweet. I saw bitter because a few rounds into jigeiko and I had to step out because I felt extremely tired. I sat for a while, catching my breath, hoping to feel better. I didn't. I ended up feeling pretty nauseous so I decided it would be safer to sit out the rest of the time then try and push it. Not sure what caused it but hopefully I'll do better on Wednesday.

I arrived at the dojo early and did some warm-up suburi and stretching while the beginning class was in session. A LOT of katate suburi. I want to really get used to delivering power using my left arm so I don't have to think about it. I can focus my mind on other aspects that I need to work on.

We started off with 4 or 5 rounds of Kirikaeshi last night. First nice and slow, then we picked up the pace and went all out by the end. I think that I'm getting better with being faster. I didn't notice my shoulders tensing up as much last night. The …

Japan Week!!

Japan Week started today, with a big opening ceremony at the downtown mall, which we were a part of. Unfortunately my camera was dying so I was only able to get pictures of our Kendo demonstration, but they also had Taiko drumming, singing, and traditional dancing, including the Bon dance which I took part in. It was definitely a lot of fun!





We start with Kata. My partner and I did Kata 2 & 3, and we had other Kenshi around us doing two Kata, as well, so we showed all the Kata up through 7.

Afterwards we put our Men on and did some uchikomi geiko. We started with Kirikaeshi, and then 2x each of Men, Kote, Do. Then we switched to Kote-Men and Men-Taiatari-Hiki Do-Kote-Men (That's a mouthful!).





That was the end of the demonstration for me, but we had a few jigeiko matches after our part was done. They did a good job of demonstrating to the crowd what a real match would be like. Overall I would say that our demo went very well. We were all very loud and full of spirit and d…

6a.m. Suburi!

It was not easy getting up this morning. I didn't get to bed until about 11:30 last night, after a quick bite, cleaning my armor, hanging up my keikogi and hakama, and getting ready for bed. 6a.m. came WAY too fast, but I'm glad I was able to drag myself out of bed and do some suburi. I had a nice view of the sun coming up over the hills and houses as I went through my various drills (9 different drills with 30 strikes each, plus some extra Hayasuburi at the end, because, well, I wanted to!).

Practice last night was really good, although my mom didn't show up. I was hoping she would come and catch my practice, but since she'll soon be moving over here then she'll have time to come another time. We started with our normal warm-up exercises and suburi, then moved straight to some Kirikaeshi, really focusing on making good clean cuts. After a few rounds of that (both slow and faster at the end), we did a lot of work on Men strikes. Katate Men, to help us focus o…

It's all about the follow-through

Practice last night was really good. I paced myself and was able to last the whole time. My mind is totally set on Obukan in June, so everything I'm doing in practice right now has the focus behind it. I want to do my best, win or lose. If I can do that, I'll be happy. Plus it will be fun to test my Kendo against others and see what is good and what needs improvement. I'm sure I need a LOT of improvement. I can see things that are obvious to me, but it will be interesting to be in a taikai setting and see what other things come out to work on.

Kiai: Mine is getting to be very loud and forceful. I was playing with different timings last night, but still it's something that I have to consciously do. If I keep practicing though, using different variations and timings then hopefully one of these days it will just flow naturally, without thinking.

Fumikomi: I'm getting a lot better with keeping my foot down while doing Fumikomi. Sensei said that he didn't …

3/18/2010

I've been productive on my blog this month! Yay for me!

Footwork: This didn't use to be an issue, but ever since I started wearing my bogu I've been doing weird things with my feet. Namely lifting my right foot WAY up during Fumikomi. Sensei gave me some advice to fix it. He said to slide my foot forward about six inches or so and then Fumikomi and it should help keep that right foot down where it's supposed to be. I know that when I consciously think about it I can do it right, but when I start thinking about other things I start lifting my foot up.

He also said to snap my left foot into place faster. He said that I should almost be hitting as my left foot is coming up to my right foot after the Fumikomi, that's how fast it should be. When I started thinking about this, it also helped to keep my right foot down during Fumikomi. I'll just have to practice this until it becomes natural again.

I'm also still working on turning with my weigh…

3/16/2010

Had practice with Takado Sensei yesterday.....oh my goodness. THAT was tough! It felt really good, even though I was tired beyond belief. She said it was the curriculum she was putting together for national team training, so I feel pretty accomplished because I was able to get through...mostly. I still am not wearing my Men so I didn't do Jigeiko (well, I did, but just without my Men, meaning I got hit in the Kote and Do a lot).

-Footwork: I was working on turning last night, with my weight forward again. I think that I was doing a pretty good job for just starting. Now I need to move past my opponents a bit more before turning, because I have a different distance since I'm stepping into them when I turn instead of stepping back.

-Debana Waza: I SUCK at this. Will have to work on it a bit more. Takado Sensei pointed out that on Debana Kote I can strike from my normal Kote position instead of having to bring my hands all the way up and then strike. I have …

3/13/2010 - Bogu!!

FINALLY!! I have my armor! I received it on Monday, and I absolutely LOVE IT!!! But now the real work begins. Monday practice involved me fighting with my Kote the whole time, trying to hold a proper Kamae and grip on my Shinai when I'd swing. This led to a lot of weird issues I was having with...well....everything!

Wednesday was a lot better. I was able to concentrate on things other than my Kote, so I was able to fix the abnormalities that popped up on Monday. Sensei gave me permission to wear my Do whenever I wanted, too....

...which I did today. It actually felt really good. I thought my arms would be way out to the side, but they weren't. It didn't restrict my movement or anything at all...BUT, it did make me tired a lot faster, since it's more added weight. I'll just keep practicing with it and pretty soon I'll be used to it.

-Footwork:We did a drill today where we hit various targets, and push through, and then immediately have to t…

3/2/2010

Had a nice blood blister on my hand last night....didn't notice until halfway through the very last drill. Oh well. No pain, no gain, right? I also was asked to lead the intermediate class. I was so very nervous, but I did my best and heard I did a good job with it.

-Footwork: I need to remember to move from my center. Wendy pointed out that was a leaning ever so slightly last night. Remember, lead with my center, move with my center. As she says, imagine that I'm going to go in and give someone a "chest bump". I can do it when I think about it, now to move that from conscious thought into unconscious action.

-Strikes: Still need to work on my small strikes (Men, Kote, Do). I think I'm lacking in that department. Maybe I will have someone go over it with me before class one of these days.

-Kiai: I still need to vary my Kiai....Still working on that one.

2/23/2010

-Strikes: I think I'm doing better with keeping my sword a bit higher and not going all the way back when I swing. I've been very mindful of it lately. Also I was having an issue with keeping my left arm tucked in when I strike, so I've also been trying to remember to bring it out even with my right arm. Not sure how well that is going, but at least I'm aware of it and actively trying to fix it.

-Footwork: Not sure if this is an issue, and it hasn't been brought up by Sensei or anyone else, but I think I might be raising my right foot too high up when I do Fumikomi. Again, not sure on this one, but sometimes as I'm striking and going through it feels like it's way up off the ground. I read a suggestion by someone that said to "pretend that you are trying to kick the other person in the shin with your right foot." When I thought about this on one of the drills it felt like my foot was lower in the Fumikomi, so maybe a good piece…

1/19/2009

Wow...been a while since I last posted...

-Harai-Kote: Figured out, after some pointer from Mark B, that I was "flourishing" my shinai too much when coming around to the left side. He pointed out to try doing a kind of sideways "Z" movement, where I move down and to the left, then up and to the right (knocking the opponent's shinai out of the way at this point), and then down again and center to hit Kote. I worked on this quite a bit and was actually getting pretty fast with it. Sensei says to knock the opponent's shinai out of the way a bit more, but other than that my technique is looking really good.

-Kiai: Sensei pointed out today that my Kiai is very even, which is good for hitting and going through, but he said to switch it up a bit before I go. I have a tendency to fall into a pattern, and he said that can be harmful if I start doing it in tournaments. I will have to work on changing up my Kiai a bit (adding different ones, being lo…

10/29/2009

More practice. I'm happy to say that my shins seem to be getting better. Still sore and tender to the touch, but I haven't woken up to the throbbing pain and having to limp about for days after, which is a very very good sign. Also the breathing exercises are going quite well!

-Maai: I'm getting better at using the tip of my shinai to hit. A little too well last night; during Kirikaeshi on the first Fumikomi Men hit I was just a fraction of an inch too far back and totally missed the receiver's shinai....but I have the right idea! Now need to work on correct distance for Do hits. I find that I am always too close, no matter how far back I start. Sensei says I need to shorten my steps, but even when I do that I feel too close. Billy suggests that I turn my hips more when I hit. The technique and swing will be correct, but the turning of the hips will bring my shinai to the side more, and hit further out toward the tip. I will have to try this at …

10/22/2009

Practice, practice, practice. Here are some more thoughts:

-Spirit: The last practice we worked on keeping our spirit really high, and this helped immensely with my technique. After doing Kirikaeshi, Sensei pointed out that it was the best he'd seen us do it so far (there were a handful of us in the class at the time). He said that when we concentrated on Spirit and keeping it high, the rest of our techniques fell into place. Not perfect, but loads better.

-Maai: I still need to work on my distance. Hitting with the tip of the Shinai. I need to use that reach and the full length of the sword. The further out I can hit from, the better advantage I will have. I catch myself thinking about this a lot, and I'm working towards a point where it will come naturally.

9/25/2009

I will be moving over what little entries I have from my previous site. They are all in rough draft form. Just ideas flowing freely after class...

......Thinking about what I need to work on in my Kendo training. Mayhaps it will help if I jot them down here:

Maai: Not only proper distance from my opponent, and learning to adjust my steps to compensate for longer or shorter distances, but also learning to hit consistently with the very tip of my Shinai (Kensen). This starts to become a problem when I'm tired.

Footwork: Always a big issue for me. I need to learn to be lighter on my feet (I'm sure my feet will thank me, as I will begin to eliminate blisters). Also need to be sure to have proper footwork and technique all throughout practice. Also on the step to Fumikomi. to the sides isn't too bad, but stepping back and then lunging forward is VERY slow for me.

Striking: Small strikes, especially small Do strikes. Need to get that down and then add in my …

A journey begins

Hello all,

I have been keeping a Kendo journal of sorts, to record my experiences in keiko and to have a reference to look back at later on to see what I've improved, what still needs work, what has changed, what hasn't, and everything in between. Since my previous blogging tool decided to stop recording entries for me (grrrr....) I will now be using this site.

I have been doing Kendo, all in all, for about a year and a half. I started in 2005 at the Spokane Kendo Club, and was there for about 6 months before life, and my job at the time, took me away. It took me 4 years, but I finally got back into Kendo last May, and have been doing it ever since then.

For me, Kendo is a great thing in my life. It helps relieve stress. It pushes me to exercise and get myself into the best shape that I can so I can be better. It helps form friendship and team-spirit with my fellow Kendoka. The list is endless.

It's definitely not an easy road. Kendo takes discipline, time, and a w…