Skip to main content

Money In The Bank

If all goes well this weekend, last night was my last night as a Nikyu.  We head over to Seattle tomorrow and have our shinsa on Saturday, and then I'll have time to show the judges that I deserve to rank up to Ikkyu.  I'm excited for this opportunity, I've been training for it since the last shinsa in February, and I feel confident that I'll do well.  Sensei definitely knows each of our strengths and weaknesses, and what we're ready for, and he wouldn't recommend me for it if he didn't have the confidence that I'll make it.  For that I'm super grateful, and for everything that he and the rest of my Kendo family has done for me to prepare me for this weekend.  Ando Sensei put it into interesting terms for me.  He said that it's like  I made a deposit at a bank.  I gave them something that was mine, it is mine, and now I'm just going to take that deposit back.  It's always been mine, but now is the time to go collect it. 

After our kata practice I led warm-ups, and I did so with that mentality.  The mentality that said, "Time to step it up, Chris."  I felt more assertive, like there was a little more authority in my voice.  These were MY warm-ups, and I was going to lead them with confidence.  Big thinking for a such a somewhat small task, but I believe in giving my all in whatever aspect of Kendo I'm currently doing.

Afterward we jumped into Kirikaeshi for a bit.  I've always thought about my breathing and rhythm during this drill, but again I need to step it up.  I'm pretty good at doing the whole drill on five breaths.  Now I need to dig down and work on doing it in three breaths. 

We did a couple of different Men strikes.  One the basic strike, in which I focused on pressuring forward towards Tsuki and then raising up at the last moment for Men.  I've also been working on making the Men strike smaller, with less wasted movement.  We did a variation in which we stepped into position and then did fumikomi Men.  I did this with a (medium) swing, and honestly it felt better than it has before.  Usually when I do a medium swing while doing fumikomi at the same time it feels funny, but it felt more comfortable today than I remember.  Maybe I'm getting better?

We moved into Kote and Debana Kote.  Lately Sensei has been having us hit Kote and then "close the distance," instead of hitting and passing by.  This feels more advanced and more aggressive, and I try to remember to strike and then keep my left hand in place and use the right hand to bring the shinai back over my shoulder.  Sensei also pointed out that I need to snap the shinai tip up after I strike, just like I snap it down when I strike.  I'm hitting and not bringing it back far enough, or with enough speed, so I'll remember this and be sure to work on it.  With my Debana Kote I should have this feeling as well, except that after I strike (going forward) I turn to the side and continue my kiai and zanshin.  Also Billy pointed out that my Kote strike against Jodan needs to be at an angle, like Sayu-Men.  Right now I'm striking down and that just causes my shinai to slide off of his Kote.  So much to work on...

Hiki waza was next, either Men or Kote, and both sides were looking for an opening.  My goodness...  My hiki waza definitely needs work, and I'm going to talk to Sensei again to see if he has some good advice for me to improve this aspect.  I'm very much a "go forward" type of kenshi, but I take it a bit too far because my hiki waza is pretty weak.  I definitely want to continue the forward mindset, but I also want to have effective hiki waza when the need arises.

We split into groups at this point, with me being thrown in with the Yudansha, and did a few Ai-Men drills before finishing out the night with jigeiko.  I was told that I tend to crouch down before I spring forward, so I should work on getting rid of this habit.  I know I have noticed it when I see videos of myself, so I need to work on exploding forward from a good kamae position, instead of crouching into it and then springing forward.

Jigeiko was good but I did have to step out before the end so that I didn't overdo myself again.  Monday night I pushed hard, a little too hard, and ended up in a very weakened and immobile state by the end of the night.  But tonight I pushed up to my edge, maybe a little further when I had my last jigeiko with Seth, and then said "Yeah, that's enough for tonight," before stepping out.  It was a great night of training, everyone gave it their all despite the heat, and I think we all accomplished a lot.  And hopefully if all goes well we'll return on Monday with some new ranks and a lot of energy to go out and improve even more!


  1. "If all goes well this weekend, last night was my last night as a Nikyu."


    Tonight is your last night as Nikyu should all go well this weekend. We are not only a Nikyu or a Shodan or a this or that when we are in practice or in shiai. We are always these things. ;p

    Enjoy the shinsa! :D

  2. VERY true. I do believe that it is an "all the time" thing we do, not just something that happens at practice or shiai or other Kendo events. I just didn't want to get too far ahead of myself, I guess :-)


Post a Comment

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…


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…

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…