Skip to main content

PNKF 2010 - Patience

It's Monday, and I'm reflecting on this weekend's events.  What a great weekend!  It was full of training and good friends and bonding with the team and lots and lots of Kendo!  Not much happened during our training in Bellevue on Friday since it was open floor training.  A group of us were selected to be receivers for the beginning class, which was fun.  They have a lot of kids that practice with them, so it was interesting to see some young people up and coming in their training.  During open floor I was able to get in a few jigeiko matches with some of the Bellevue locals, but I think the highlight was when Takado Sensei showed up and I was able to jigeiko with her.  She hit me, a lot, but I still enjoyed myself and enjoyed the time to practice with her.  Afterward we went back to the hotel to have dinner, clean up, and rest up for Saturday's taikai.

Saturday came pretty quickly, and I felt like I had no sleep at all.  But sleep or no sleep I was determined to do my best that day.  We headed out and arrived at the taikai around 8a.m. to help with court setup.  After getting everything in order we all got dressed and did a bit of suburi, kihon drills, and jigeiko for warmup, then headed back for opening ceremonies around 9:30.  I wish I had a picture of the opening ceremonies, as we had a lot of kenshi participating that day, including people from as far as Alaska.  Four courts had been set up for the day, and they were all used thoroughly.  My matches weren't for a while; they began after the 13-15 year boys and the 3-1 Kyu categories.  Out of those categories we did have some winners.  Dan took first place in the 13-15 category, with his brother Andy taking 3rd (both of them are Sinclair Sensei's boys).  Marek also took 3rd in the 3-1 Kyu category.

After getting my Men and Kote on I waited patiently for my match.  I wasn't overly nervous, but I had a healthy bit of the shakes going on.  A few matches into the 0-4 Kyu category and I was finally up.

My first opponent was a Yonkyu from University of Washington named Stern.  I came right off the line with a fake to Men followed by Kote.  my opponent reacted exactly how I thought he would, by raising his hands to block Men, but unfortunately for me he stepped back when he did it, and I didn't fumikomi far enough to hit his Kote, so my beautiful setup was all for naught because of my bad distancing.  I'll definitely work on this in the future.  We exchanged blows for a while, both of us doing some great Kendo, and about halfway through the match I finally scored a clean Kote for the first point.

We went back to our starting positions for the second point, and after fighting him off for ALMOST the rest of the match I got careless and my opponent ended up getting a Men to tie things up a few seconds before the match ended, thus forcing the first overtime (encho).

The first encho came and went without either of us scoring a single point, although my opponent got close as he hit Men just a hair after the flags went up to end the round.  This forced us into a second encho.  The rules for this taikai stated that if we were still at a tie after two encho rounds that it would be judge's decision for the winner, and I didn't want to go to that.  About ten seconds into our final round I stepped forward with a Kote-Men to taiatari.  I stepped to the side and then knocked my opponent's shinai away and I hit Hiki Sayu Men on his other side to score the winning point.  After the match Sensei came up and congratulated me on my win and my good Kendo, but he also gave me advice about keeping my point.  He said that when I have a point I should work to keep it and not be overly aggressive, like I was out there.  I should have patience and play with my distance and move in and out of tsubazeriai, or even stay there if my opponents wants to.  I shouldn't be greedy for that last point because that's what almost cost me the match.  I'll be sure to take this advice to heart next time.

Final Score: 1-1 (Ruiz in double encho)

Second round and my opponent was a guy from Steveston by the name of Leung.  I could tell from the start that he was very, very good.  I hardly had time or room to setup properly because he was all over me in the match.  Partway into the match he went for Kote.  I had guessed he would so I pulled back for Nuki Men.  I had the timing down but my Men strike was just off target, so it ended up sliding off to the side.  He recovered very quickly and hit Men to score the first point.

After resetting we traded blows a little more.  I ended up in tsubazeriai with him at one point, and noticed that his hands were just a bit high.  I stepped back for fumikomi and his hands went up to block Men, but I had other plans.  I threw a Hiki Do at him, and when it connected (CRACK), all three flags went up.  I felt really good about this one, because I had been working on it, so it was great to see that I was able to pull it off in a match against someone else.

We reset one more time.  The score was tied, and this was the final point.  I stepped in and circled a bit, and had plans to try and set up my opponent for another strike.  I knocked his shinai out of the way to see what he would do, and backed up for a second.  When I stepped in again he flew at me with a Men strike, which caught me completely wide-open.  When the flags went up I knew I had lost the match.  But losing was alright with me, as he was definitely a very experienced kenshi.  I didn't step out of bounds or drop my sword, or incur any other penalty against me, so he beat me on pure skill.

Final Score: 2-1 (Leung)

With my matches I gained valuable insight on my own Kendo.  I can see some strengths shining through, and see that some of the issues I've been working on have started to disappear.  I've also seen what I need to work on to continue growing and maturing in my Kendo.  The rest of the day passed, and I was able to witness, photograph, and record some truly great Kendo and matches (Seth vs. Tanimura Sensei, Sean vs. Jeffy, and too many others to list here).  I am thankful for this experience, the whole trip was a great time for me, and I hope that my teammates feel the same way.  I'm looking forward to the Kent Taikai in a couple more weeks, and to coming back next year to see how well I do again.


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&…