Skip to main content

Kendo, Straight Up


 I have a problem.  It's not a huge problem anymore, as I've worked to improve it, but it is a lasting problem that I've had since about the time I started kendo.  I lean.  I'm not talking about the Fat Joe kind; I'm talking about leaning my upper body into my strikes. 


Since I'm a firm believer in proper technique over getting points or strikes, I want to fix this in myself as soon as I can.  I can go back and watch videos of old matches and see just how bad it used to be.  It was terrible!  Especially in my kote strikes.  I can say that it's gotten a lot better and I'm usually able to carry myself fairly properly, but in the heat of a match or jigeiko I still tend to lean in just a bit.  Luckily Monday night this was the focus of our training, and Billy presented some points that I'd never thought about and ways to fix it.  The main idea that came up was that people tend to lean when they try to strike from too far away.  When we come up short from our body movement, we (guilt as charged) break posture and try to lean the upper body forward to get that extra distance.  How do we fix it?  By striking from a distance that is comfortable for us, of course!  The idea was so simple, but one that I hadn't thought about.  I'd fallen into the thought that if I just kept trying it, it would eventually get better.  This was all wrong and I'm glad it was brought to my attention.  I'll definitely be looking at that as I practice from now on, and focusing on it here for the next few weeks to see what other improvements I can make.

Since I started the new year, I've been doing some super secret (or not so super secret) training at lunch.  I mentioned in the last post that I was going to be doing this more, and I've stayed true to my word.  I've been going three times a week for the past three weeks, and I can already see improvements.  My hips no longer feel like they're sore and ready to give out at any moment.  My legs feel stronger and are able to move me into position a lot quicker and solidly, and they don't feel tired as soon.  Also my men strikes are feeling a lot better these days.  This might be due to the extra time I've been putting in, or it might be due to some words of encouragement that Sinclair Sensei gave me.  I'm guessing it's a little of both.  No longer do I feel so hesitant to use it, and even when I get hit I've been trying my best to finish my cut and push through, as though I did land a good strike.  These little changes in my physical ability and mental state are definitely helping me, and I'm hoping that I'm building good habits through the continued practice that I've been putting in.

So, to anyone out there that's struggling with "the lean,"  I would say the simplest, and most effective, advice is to move in a bit and shorten your distance.  I tried it and even for the one class it helped a lot, and I'm confident I'll see some good improvements and changes as I work on it myself.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Suburi

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…

PNKF Winter Shinsa 2018 - Yondan

Yondan.  It's what I've been working towards for a while now, and it's what I tested for last weekend at the PNKF shinsa in Seattle.  For any that don't know, yondan is 4th degree black belt in kendo.  I've heard that it's one of the harder tests to pass, somewhere around 25% pass rate if I remember correctly.  The test itself isn't long, timewise.  I simply had to do two rounds of sparring, 90 seconds each, and nihon kata 1-10.  Total time on the floor is roughly 8-10 minutes.  Everything I'd been working on would hopefully shine through in those precious few minutes.

We arrived to the venue around 11:30am.  There was quite a large group of us there for testing, to challenge a whole range of different mudansha and yudansha ranks.  I'm happy to say that overall it was good for everyone else, as we had a lot of success.  Personally, though, I knew I would be facing a tough challenge and it didn't help the nerves much.  After suiting up, getting m…