Skip to main content

What's the best way to relax? Ask McNally Sensei!

I feel good today! I was up a bit late last night, but I dragged myself out of bed regardless to go jogging this morning. I'm able to jog! A little bit, but still it's a LOT better than before when I couldn't jog or hardly even walk long distances without any pain. Yes, go me!!

As the title implies, Sean (McNally Sensei) led class last night, and he wanted to make sure that we were all very relaxed during class. So what did he do? After warm-up exercises he had us do suburi. A LOT of suburi. 50 sets of Jogeburi (swings using full range of motion behind our back and forward), Men, Kote, Sayu-Men (Tai-a sabaki), Katate Men (Only 20 for each hand). We then partnered up to do a hitting drill down and back across the dojo floor. One person would hold Kote height, and the other would fumikomi with each step and hit Kote with each step, as fast as we could. Finally we did 5x5's, down and back. If you don't know what 5x5's are...well, you're lucky!

After donning our Men, we proceeded to do some modified Kirikaeshi. we did 10, 20, or 30, depending on what level we thought we could do. I did two sets of 20 and a 10 to finish it out. By this time I think most people were very, VERY tired, and so Sean decided to start class properly =).

Next up were some basic Men, Kote, and Do drills. We were instructed to take our time, and do 3 instead of the usual 5. Sean focused on keeping the relaxed feeling, the feeling of letting our shinai slip through our hands, but able to apply proper Tenouchi when needed (i.e. when striking or when someone tries to knock our shinai out of the way). Being so relaxed made my hits feel really good, especially on Do. I tried to remember to do small steps, which I think I succeeded at, but I noticed that my hits were a little off...grr...it's a see-saw, back and forth with me!

We moved onto some Debana Kote drills, and again emphasis was on staying relaxed. We were not supposed to be concerned with getting hit (as the Kakarite) but instead of having relaxed, proper movement. As the Motodachi we were supposed to try and hit Men, but also to keep it relaxed. Interesting enough, we hit faster when relaxed than when our muscles are all tightened up, but keeping ourselves relaxed through the strike is a very hard task, indeed.

A couple of drills that I haven't done in a while finished out our time before we moved onto waza-geiko. The first was a "tap" drill. Motodachi held up their hand so that their Kote was flat in front of them, and Kakarite did a hopping motion like we do in jigeiko, and hit Men going forward, and Kote going back. We started out slow, and then built up our speed, while keeping our shoulders and muscles relaxed. We were instructed to go as fast as we could while remaining relaxed, and at that point to strike 10 times and then push through to finish. I actually enjoyed this drill very much, it was a nice change of pace. The last drill we did involved Kakarite hitting Men and going through, then turning around and immediately trying for an opening to hit again. Motodachi was instructed to chase the Kakarite after the initial Men strike, and then to try and find their own opening when the Kakarite turned around. I had a lot of fun with this drill, I hope we do more like it in the future.

During Waza-geiko I worked on Nuki Do. Trying to get the correct timing, the correct body movement, the correct hand position...basically everything. I feel like I'm getting better at it, but at the same time I find more and more to work on.

After a short break, we finished our night with jigeiko. I was able to practice with a few people before I had to step out due to my heel. I'm putting way too much weight on my right heel when I do fumikomi, so I'll have to work on distributing my weight more evenly over my foot. Some ice should help get me back into practice on Wednesday night, though.

A few thoughts:

Men: Make sure that on small Men strikes I'm lifting my hands up high enough, but not too high. I'm trying to cut out the wasted movement. Also I need to make sure that I'm hitting as my hands are coming down, not on the way up.

Kote: I think I can take a much smaller step on this strike. It seems that when I'm at the proper distance I can reach my opponent's Kote without much forward movement at all. Also on small strikes here make sure my hand is coming far enough up to be valid.

Do: Still a lot of work to be done, but I think I'm getting it. Slowly but surely. Still focus on bringing my left hand to center, and focus on a smaller fumikomi step.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Return to Form

It's been a while.  At first it was because I was just busy with work and life and training (always training!) but then I let this blog slip away from me and it kept slipping and slipping...and here we are, a full year has passed without any new entries.  It's time to change that!  I have always loved not only reading blogs myself, looking for little pieces of info or advice or a new take on something to give me another perspective, and I've also enjoyed sharing the information that I have, as well as the experiences and the ups and downs of kendo life.  I'm not perfect, it's definitely not high-level stuff, but I have a passion for it.  And hopefully I can keep that going for many years to come. So today it's time to get back to it!  I'll do my very best to keep this updated regularly with new entries.  This is also a perfect chance to reflect back on the last year.

2017 was a HUGE year for me, kendo-wise.  So much happened that I'm actually pretty bu…

Suburi

I've joined an online club.  Many of you, if you are reading, may have seen it or are even members yourselves.  It's called the Hundred Suburi Club 2018, on Facebook.  Check it out if you'd like!  This may be a shameless plug for it, but that's ok, it's my blog.  It's been fun joining in with other like-minded people around the world to share this experience.  I didn't necessarily join for the suburi itself; I've already been doing that consistently on my own time anyway.  For me it's more the community aspect of it, and being able to cheer on and motivate others, as they do the same for me, and share our stories back and forth.  Kendo really is a friendly group, and this gives me another way to meet and greet new people.  With that being said, though, it does make me think of my own suburi and practice and small tidbits of info that I've collected or realized throughout the years.  I want to present some of that, BUT please please please, if y…

PNKF Winter Shinsa 2018 - Yondan

Yondan.  It's what I've been working towards for a while now, and it's what I tested for last weekend at the PNKF shinsa in Seattle.  For any that don't know, yondan is 4th degree black belt in kendo.  I've heard that it's one of the harder tests to pass, somewhere around 25% pass rate if I remember correctly.  The test itself isn't long, timewise.  I simply had to do two rounds of sparring, 90 seconds each, and nihon kata 1-10.  Total time on the floor is roughly 8-10 minutes.  Everything I'd been working on would hopefully shine through in those precious few minutes.

We arrived to the venue around 11:30am.  There was quite a large group of us there for testing, to challenge a whole range of different mudansha and yudansha ranks.  I'm happy to say that overall it was good for everyone else, as we had a lot of success.  Personally, though, I knew I would be facing a tough challenge and it didn't help the nerves much.  After suiting up, getting m…