Skip to main content

Same Window, Different Visual

Photo courtesy of J. Fugitt
Well, I hadn't realized it had been so long since I posted.  To anyone that is a regular reader, I am sorry for the delay.  July proved to be a very busy month in my personal life.  But hopefully I'll get back on my regularly scheduled updates.  I had no lack of training, though!

We're just about to finish up our semi-annual kata study, and I've learned quite a bit.  Nothing that I didn't already know about, but I learned a lot about the way I approach it.  The feeling behind the kata.  The subtle changes in tempo, rhythm and movements.  Kata is becoming less of a step-by-step guide and more of an actual dance.  I'm able to concentrate on things beyond the physical movements, because I have practiced the movements themselves for years and years.  Now I can make kata personal.  Wendy made a good point last week, stating that we must always try to learn something new when we do kata, or find news ways to look at it, even though it's the same movements over and over.  In this way we can keep kata fresh and exciting.  If we let our minds become lazy then we will not be able to progress, and kata will become a boring exercise that is only required for shinsa.  There is much to be learned through kata, if we only take the time to focus and study.

The same idea can be applied to the rest of our kendo.  Same window, different visual.  How many times during practice do we perform a men strike?  20?  50?  I'm guessing at least a couple of hundred times.  Each of those is an opportunity to make our strike better than before and to examine and contemplate our strengths and weaknesses.  Yet a lot of times I find myself just going through the motions.  Sometimes it's on purpose and I just want to let my technique be what it is and do kendo at that time, but other times I'm blindly doing the drills and my mind isn't on anything in particular.  I need to tighten that up a bit and work to always be mindful.  In this way, with this kind of focus, I can continue to find new and interesting aspects of my techniques and can better work to fix them.

Lately I've been working a lot on my footwork, trying to keep my feet in a good position so I can attack at any time, and trying to keep myself alert, especially during jigeiko.  Sinclair Sensei touched on some points last night about being alert and ready, especially physically.  Your posture and balance play into this a lot, and he emphasized the need to turn and be ready after a strike so that you can attack or counter as necessary.  We should turn and be ready immediately, which means one step back into kamae while keeping good balance.  We should also turn and not lose focus, bringing our shinai around into a good position while keeping our mind open to look for an opening or opportunity to strike.  His words, as always, helped me a lot since I'd been doing a little bit of that myself lately, especially the turning and immediately being ready.

I've really felt solid during jigeiko these past few weeks.  I don't know if it's from the extra team training I've been doing or my emphasis and bringing everything together and trying to attack with purpose, but whatever it is I feel like it's been working for me.  I have a lot more confidence when I fight, and I'm able to pick up on openings a bit better than before.  Plus I'm making my own openings, even on people at my own level, which is a great feeling.  I hope to continue this and break it down even more so I can see what is the catalyst behind this improvement.

Kata and keiko go hand-in-hand, and each can benefit from the other.  If we are willing to put in the time and effort, there's and endless array of things to learn and interpretations to be had from each one.  Same window, different visual.


Popular posts from this blog

Like A Pack Of Wolves

It's been a while since I last posted.  Partly because the site was doing some weird things to me, and partly because last week was a bad week for me as far as Kendo goes.  I was able to make practice on Monday and Tuesday night, and I felt like I was lacking.  I was kind of in a slump over my Kendo and I was really down and hard on myself.  But things picked up over the weekend because I found some inspiration and confidence and was able to bring it out this week, just in time for the Rose City Taikai this weekend!

Last night we trained in the dark.  Literally.  During our warmups a nasty storm blew in, with hail, thunder, and lightning.  While we were doing hayasuburi the lights actually ended up going out.  Did this stop us?  No, not entirely.  There were still a few people that finished out their sets in the (almost) pitch black.  Luckily it only lasted for a couple of minutes, but that's what I love about our dojo.  Even if the lights go out and all is dark we're stil…

Kendo in the Lone Star State

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Dallas, TX for a week for work.  Being me, I brought my bogu and shinai, of course, and planned on using my free evenings to check out the local kendo.  I was not disappointed.  I was able to get in four trainings total, amongst two different dojos.

My first night of training was with the fine folks at Dallas Fort Worth.  Ichimura Sensei and company were very friendly and accepted me in for training.  I made some fast friends and enjoyed keiko with many students and teachers.  Cooper Sensei struck me as very jovial, both inside and outside of practice, and I had a wonderful time exchanging attacks and conversation with him.  I put forth my best efforts, and appreciated getting to see and experience kendo way outside of my comfort zone in the PNKF region.  The two hour class went quick, but I had a couple more practices lined up there so I looked forward to visiting again.

My next training was at Plano Dojo, home of Chris Yang Sensei.…

Another Year, Another Decade

What a whirlwind year 2019 was for me.  It seemed to come and go quicker than I've ever seen in prior years.  One minute I was ringing in the new year, and now I stand on the edge of this year, not to mention this decade. 

2019 brought a lot of changes for me, both big and small.  I started a new job, which I'm thoroughly enjoying.  I was able to start traveling again, which I've always loved to do (even if it is for work).  We have not one but two new venues for training here in Spokane and were able to finish out the last few months strong, even though we had a bit of a lull in training due to no dojo.  Despite that, though, I was still able to clock 92 days of training this year.  Not bad for not having our own dojo for six months, I think.  I'll be shooting to break that number next year!

One of my biggest wins this year, personally, was the fact that I consistently did suburi every single day.  I'm part of a group on Facebook called the Hundred Suburi Club …