Skip to main content

Going Out In Style

Yesterday was a special time for the members of my dojo.  For the past school year we've had a nidan from Japan training with us.  He came over as part of an exchange program for school, and yesterday was his last practice with us before he heads home this week.  The energy and emotional levels were high, and we all did our best to give him a proper send-off.  I'm sure that he'll return home with some lasting memories, and I'm glad I got to be a part of all of it.

Sensei really emphasized having sharp footwork and sword work yesterday, and we spent much of our warm-up time working on these aspects.  Stepping forward and back, side-to-side while snapping our trailing foot into place quickly, as well as making our strikes all one quick motion, instead of two motions (bringing the sword up, pausing, and then swinging forward to strike).  Personally I feel like my swing is ok, it can always use more work, but the footwork is something that I can definitely pick up the pace on, and something that I've been working on recently.  Just not quite in the same way.  So all during practice I tried to keep that focus of sharp, crisp footwork and snapping up my trailing foot quickly. 

As an extension of the sharp, quick strikes we also worked a lot on kote and debana kote.  Except for a few hiccups I felt really good with them yesterday.  For the most part I was accurate, and quick.  Although when going against jodan I still have so many issues with the timing.  I feel like I'm either way too early and not actually doing the right timing, or I'm way too late (usually this) and the target is gone before I can hit it.  It's definitely frustrating, I don't feel like I'm getting any better at it when facing jodan.  But I'll keep on it.  Hopefully all of the advice that Billy gives me will start sinking in sooner or later.

After a few weeks of missing him in rotation, I finally had a chance to do jigeiko with Ando Sensei again.  I tried to focus on just hitting and not hesitating like I have been known to do with him.  It seemed to work pretty well, for the most part.  Even when he struck me (which was often), I felt like I was also pushing myself forward to strike.  So even though I maybe would have lost the point if it were a match, I felt like I won in overcoming myself.  These small steps might be just that, small steps, but they are encouraging nonetheless.

At the end of practice we had a going away event of sorts for our friend that was leaving.  All of the yudansha formed a big circle with him in the middle and he did tachikiri-geiko with all of us.  In other words he had to fight all of us, in a row, with no breaks.  We started with us at the shodan end of the spectrum, and worked up to Ando Sensei in the final round.  Each round lasted one minute, and we pushed our friend hard.  There were only about nine of us, but by the end I could tell that Shu could barely stand.  But he was still able to grab a burst of energy here and there and throw out some great strikes.

In the end we had a great practice, not only as far as training goes, but for the fact that we were able to send our friend off in style. And hopefully in the future we'll be able to practice with our friend once again!

Photo by W. Sinclair


  1. Looks like a great group! :)

    Funny that you should mention the sharpness required in footwork, because only recently have I also been made very aware of similar issues. I lack any snap, my coordination sucks and on fumikomi I even step through with left. Yikes! So that's what I'm practicing at home this week: footwork, footwork, footwork.

    1. I'm not stellar at being snappy, but I think I'm pretty decent at it most of the time. I have been working on really exploding with my fumikomi and follow-through lately, though, so this emphasis on being snappy with ALL of our footwork falls right into place with what I've already been focusing on.

      Someone told me once that "Kendo is 80% footwork, 20% sword work." I'd have to whole-heartedly agree!


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…