Skip to main content

Hiki Waza

Last night was a great practice. Not that I did all that well, there are still tons of things I can work on. But I pushed myself pretty hard. I had to step out just a couple of times, but I jumped back in and gave it my all, and by the end I was ready to fall over and very, very satisfied with myself.

The past few practices we've really been concentrating on eliminating wasted movement and time from our strikes, and having faster footwork. We continued this focus last night, but the meat of the training was centered around Hiki Waza. And tasty meat, it was! After going through a few Hiki Men drills, first just doing the strike, and then trying to move our partner so we created an opening, Ando Sensei showed us a very effective technique to use to throw our partner's/opponent's shinai out of center, so I tried to incorporate that technique into the rest of my training last night. I felt pretty good with some of my strikes, not so much with others, but I can start to feel what Sensei explained to me. He said that our Hiki Waza, or any strike, should be like dynamite. What he meant is that dynamite doesn't gradually build up to an explosion. It goes from a stand still to exploding instantly, with no down-time or lag in between. This should be the way that I practice Hiki Waza, too. I should go straight from pressuring my opponent in tsubazeriai to attacking and launching myself backwards. I have a nasty habit of having down-time in between pressuring and attacking, and it was my focus last night to work on eliminating that down-time, that extra step, that wasted time. After I got a taste of how it really felt, I wanted more. I want more! I'll be sure to keep working on this whenever I can, including being more aggressive with it in jigeiko (since many other people had luck doing it to me last night in jigeiko).

The other piece, like I mentioned earlier, has been a recurring theme, and a much needed one. I took some video of myself this past weekend, and noticed that I do have a lot of wasted movement, so through the other drills I did (which consisted of mainly Men strikes), I tried to remember to not being my hands back as far. I have a terrible habit of dipping my shinai too far down, which I've mentioned before, so I tried to concentrate on not bringing it back so far, and eliminating wasted time as well by not slowing my swing down at any point. Also, just a small though in the back of my head, was driving the shinai up and back down with my left hand. It seemed to work out pretty well, and my thoughts were reinforced by Sinclair Sensei, who said that in the past few weeks since we started working on faster shinai speed he's noticed my speed change significantly. It's always good to hear encouragement like that on issues that I know about and am working on.

Footwork...where to begin. I still feel pretty slow with my follow-through steps. We went over a previous drill again, one in which we did fumikomi and then follow-through steps (ayumi-ashi), with the purpose of speeding up our steps after the strike, rather than slowing them down. I feel like I can speed up my steps, but not very much, so this is something that I'll definitely have to work on. Plus after trying to do this the whole time my legs starting cramping just a little bit so I had to back down on it during waza-geiko/jigeiko at the very end. When I had run out of steam but was still in, I tried to concentrate on finding openings and making really good hits. Not many hits, but good ones. Trying to put all of my force and spirit behind these few choice hits. It seemed to work pretty well.

All in all, a great training session, and one that I was definitely thankful for. I've wanted to work on Hiki Waza, since I felt mine was pretty lacking, and last night I learned some valuable information and techniques that I'll be able to practice and work on from here on out.

A few thoughts:

Men: Continue working on shortening my strike. Once I can do a really good, fast, big swing, I can start working on making it a smaller strike. Sensei also went over this, saying that after we work on big swings for a while we'll be working on small swings with no wasted time or movement. I'm excited!

Hiki Waza: Keep working on going from a "stand-still" to exploding with my attack. I got a taste so now I know what I'm working towards, and I hope to see more improvement in the weeks to come.

Ashi Sabaki: Try to speed up my follow-through steps as much as I can. It starts in the mind. I have the basics, now I have to think faster and push myself to go faster.

Jigeiko: Think, act, and react faster. I still need to work on seeing openings, or creating them myself. I did pretty well with a few Harai Men last night, and it might be best to concentrate on a few key techniques so I don't try to overwhelm myself with a plethora of techniques that I can only do passably.


Popular posts from this blog

The Ups and Downs of Kendo

Anyone that knows me knows that I love kendo.  I don't think I could do as much as I do with it if I didn't.  But loving kendo doesn't mean that it's easy.  Far from it, in fact!  If anyone says otherwise I would honestly question if they're doing it right.  From the first day where everything is brand new, to years down the road where you're trying to figure out the mental side of things, it's a challenge.

I've often had times when I just wasn't getting something.  Whether it was a new waza, or a new timing for an existing waza, or any other number of things that came up during training, sometimes things didn't click with me, and I would have many, many practices that felt fruitless.  It seems that every time that happened, though, If I kept at it and practiced, it would eventually click with me.  I'd wake up one day and "get it".  Not to say I'd be perfect at it, but the overall shape or timing would suddenly be there.  It r…

Kent Taikai 2018: How to Deal with Disappointment

A sobering entry today, but hopefully a valuable lesson for me and anyone reading.

Last weekend my dojo mates and I participated in the Kent Taikai in Kent, WA.  I look forward to this tournament as it's a little smaller and more intimate than the PNKF Taikai we attended last month, and it's a chance to catch up with my kendo friends in the area as well as participate in some good matches.  This year delivered in that regard.

We had six competitors this year, ranging from 1-3 kyu up to the 3-4 dan divisions.  One of our new-to-us members participated, as well, so that was fun to welcome him to our crazy taikai weekend trips.  The trip itself went well, and the pass was clear for us so we had a smooth ride to the Seattle area and to training at the Bellevue Kendo Club on Friday night.  It was a good night, and I was able to have a lot of quality keiko with the kodansha over there, as well as received some helpful feedback and advice that I'll be putting into practice soon.

Training Through Adversity

We are officially out of the old dojo and into our new (temporary) location in the valley.  Fortunately we were able to keep the same schedule in the same location, instead of having to change the training days and/or locations throughout the week.  We were also able to continue training from the old dojo to the new location without missing a beat, as we only took a day off for Independence Day last week before we were back at it that weekend. 

All is not fun and games, though, depending on how you look at it.  The new location comes with its own challenges and we're all going to go through some growing pains as we adjust and learn to use the space effectively.  This change has made me think about the way I train and how to put a positive spin on it and use it to continue to improve, hence the reason for this post!  Hopefully this will shed some light on my thought process when it comes to training in conditions that aren't ideal or optimal. 

Two of the biggest issues that I&…