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Showing posts from October, 2010

The Yudansha Group

Saturday's practice was downright awesome, and I feel that I pushed myself and did exceptionally well.  Not because I did perfect Kendo (that'll be the day), or because I picked off everyone in jigeiko (I didn't, not even close), but because Sensei gave me a challenge and I rose to it and pushed past my limits.  He invited me to practice with the Yudansha group, which usually contains the 1 Kyu and up kenshi (I'm currently 4 Kyu).  Yesterday we had a great mix:  a lot of Ikkyus and Shodans, a few Nidans, and Ando Sensei (Yondan).  It's definitely a different experience there.  Everything is faster, with purpose and intent, and I had to be at the top of my game, both physically and mentally, to keep up.

When Sensei asked me to join the group, I was almost at the end of my stamina, physically, but I took up his offer and jumped in with them, knowing that I wouldn't be able to step out at all for the rest of class.  I really didn't want to be that guy, the on…

Kiai!!!

I was trying to think of a title for my post today.  Most of the time I like to have a title that represents what I got out of the training, and sometimes it isn't necessarily what we focused on.  Last night we focused a lot on our kiai and spirit, but there was another topic that I almost named this post after, and I'd like to share a bit of it here. 

Warm-ups are a big part of our Kendo training.  Sensei pointed out, and I'm sure everyone would agree, that warm-ups are integral to being able to release our full potential for training sooner.  If we properly warm up, we're able to push ourselves early on, instead of using half of the class to get warmed up, as he put it.  I'm not sure how other clubs do it, but we have a three-stage process with our exercises.  We do exercises with the wrists and upper extremities, the legs and lower extremities, and the spine, and we do three levels of each which increase in intensity.  The physical exercise is only half of what …

Setting the Trap

I practiced on a Wednesday this week!  Not something that I have done for a while since I've been taking Wednesdays off as my self-appointed "rest day from Kendo," but last night I decided to go, and I'm really glad I did.  I only caught about half the class (I was helping out a kenshi with their brand new uniform), but that last hour was pretty intense.  They kept our group mixed the whole time, so I was able to practice with the higher Mudansha and Yudansha the whole time, including jigeiko at the end with a few of them.  There were some good times, some bad times, and I definitely pushed with all I had.

I jumped into the last hour of class, after helpiing out my fellow kenshi, so I didn't get a chance to do warm-ups or suburi. I'm not sure if this helped or hindered me, as I still felt just as exhausted after class as I do on any other day.  We were already in full swing with the training, and Ando Sensei was teaching.  He went over a lot of drills that ha…

Tighten Your Men Himo

Sensei talked a bit about the Tacoma taikai before class started, and the fact that everyone that went over did so well.  I'm sure that if you look around you can find results, and most of the people from our dojo that read this already know the results, but we did pretty well, to put it lightly.  In light of that fact, he wanted to remind everyone that we shouldn't relax at all because we won.  We should strive to work even harder, and those that competed should have a mindset as if they had lost each and every match.  He mentioned a saying that goes, "When you win, tighten your men himo."  So we should all be pushing even harder after a victory, not relaxing, and putting everything that we can into our practice.  On the flip side of that, though, he also wanted to advise us about pacing ourselves throughout practice.  We should always work hard and put everything we have into our training, but we should also be able to stretch ourselves out over the entire time, in…

Inspiration...

I've been thinking of what to write all day.  Not that writing a technical post is hard, I could do that in my sleep.  But I like to put a little more feeling into my writing.  A little more pizazz, if you will, so I found a little inspiration while talking to my friends, both today and earlier this week.

I love my friends and their inputs and opinions on subjects, and this week I heard two different opinions on the same subject, this subject being my posts here on my blog.  I've been trying to step up my Kendo lately, in part because there are a couple of upcoming taikais next month and I want to be able to be the best I can when the time comes.  One of my friends mentioned that potential opponents who've read my posts here would know what my strengths and weaknesses are, and could use them against me.  This is a very true statement.  My response to this was along the lines of, "That's ok.  As long as they've learned something from reading that's all I am…

No Wasted Movement

I love when I come home and my Men (helmet) is soaked.  Physically, it's kinda gross, but it means that I worked hard.  I pushed myself on and on, and last night I actually didn't step out, not even once.  Little battle like this are as big a part of my training as the bigger ones (like learning a new technique or fixing a long-established issue).

We have a taikai coming up this weekend in Tacoma, and our training was geared a bit more towards techniques and advice that we will need for it (for those of us that are going, I'm sitting this one out).  The focus of the night was on small Men and Kote, using the same teachings that we'd been going over lately, which are no wasted movement and no wasted time.  Sensei went over, in detail, the mechanics of striking small Kote and small Men.  Here are a few highlights that I pulled from each:

Kote
Left hand chest highUse the wrists and shoulders, DON'T bend the elbowsDrive the left hand down and snap the wrists forwardMen
Us…

Breath Control

Last night's practice was a bit bittersweet.  It was good, because I was able to hit a REALLY good Kote during jigeiko, and that made my whole night.  Bad, though, because I was fighting with a terrible pain in my side, so I had to step out a few times.  I think it's because I forgot to drink much water during the weekend...I'll be sure to pick up some more jugs of water at the store tonight.  Anyway, onto Kendo!

It's funny how it seems that sometimes the things that Sensei tells me to work on end up in our training lessons.  Last night we did a bit of extended training with Kirikaeshi, with a couple of points to focus on.  First up was breath control.  I've found, through my very limited experience, that Kirikaeshi can teach us so many good things about Kendo, including connection with our partner, strong kiai, good striking and footwork, proper taiatari, etc, etc.  The list can go on and on.  Breath control is a very...difficult task for me, for some reason.  I t…

"The Moment"

I had  Kendo practice yesterday.  That's no surprise.  Anyone who knows me knows the passion I have for it.  What was a surprise, at least to me, was the fact that I felt like I hadn't practiced in a LONG time.  Tuesday was my last practice, in the valley.  Recently I wrote about changing up my practice schedule, so that I could give myself body more time to rest and give myself more time to work on my own weaknesses at home.  This was the first week I was able to implement my new training schedule, which involves not having class on Wednesday nights now.  But just missing that one practice made me feel, mentally, like I hadn't practiced in weeks.  Physically, though, I felt good.  I felt really good.  My body felt great, I wasn't sore or harboring any injuries, so I was definitely ready to get back to the dojo.

Billy led our class again on Saturday, and we had a pretty good turnout, including a few people I haven't seen in a while.  After warm-ups we worked on foo…