Skip to main content

The Power of Motodachi


Hey hey!  It's been a while.  A bit too long for my tastes, but I've had many personal things going on, as I have had this whole year.  First things first - I have a new son!  He was born about four weeks ago and he's been a little bundle of joy, wrapped up in some typical baby antics.  But he's finally here and it's a joy to have him be part of this world and my life.  So while I've still been able to practice pretty regularly, most of my free time has been devoted to him and not to doing things like writing regular blog posts.  But I hope that anyone out there (hello?) that is still reading this can understand.


With that being said, there's something that really struck me last night, as I sat talking with one of my friends and kendo teachers.  That being the importance of being a good motodachi.  It's always been one of my goals to be the best at kendo that I can personally be, and that includes all aspects of it.  One of the roles that we all play, quite frequently, is being a receiver (motodachi) during drills.  Being a good motodachi, in my opinion, benefits everyone involved.  It has obvious benefits for your partner, because then they are able to practice to the best of their abilities and get the most out of their time with you.  I think everyone has experienced the...difficulties of working with a motodachi that just isn't giving their all that night.  I will be the first to raise my hand and say that I've been guilty of being lazy, tired, not into it, etc, and that reflects badly on me and takes away from my partner's training.  It also has an effect on the group as a whole.  If you are a good receiver, you give that spirit and that feeling to your partner, and they take that on to their next partner, thus spreading the spirit and intensity about the room.  When everyone is doing this, it brings the feeling in the room to an almost palpable level.  I love those practices so much!  We could be practicing anything that night, but when the spirit is that high everything is intense and exciting and everyone feeds off each other and adds to the excitement. 

One thing that may not be readily apparent is how much benefit one gets for themselves when being a good motodachi.  I believe that it is equal to, if not more, benefit to be a good motodachi than to be a good kakarite.  As motodachi, you have a chance to really study your partner and find out how they move and react, depending on the drill being done.  You can find the nuances in their techniques; figure out what they do right before they launch an attack; find out what they do when they feint versus what they do when they make an actual attack.  There's a lot to be gained there alone, but in other drills (oji waza drills, etc) where motodachi is instructed to make an attack during the drill, that is even more opportunity for motodachi to really work on making heartfelt attacks.  If I go out and just throw a men strike at someone during a drill, there's nothing behind it.  But if I take that drill and turn it into an opportunity for me to blast my partner's men, despite them trying to keep me from doing so, well that's a challenge.  And when I have that focus and I'm able to get my men strike in even though they tried to counter my efforts, that's a small victory that I'll take and use again and again.  So again, being a good motodachi, in my opinion, has some very obvious benefits, as well as a lot of benefits that we might not think about at first.  This is the reason that I try and be the best motodachi that I can, and I put everything that I have into it.

Now, with all that being said, there is a time and a place for going all out as motodachi, or holding back.  That's something that has to be determined during each drill that you do, based on the instruction given, and/or figured out with each partner that you have.  I'm obviously not going to go flying in at a kyu that's new in bogu the same way that I would one of my peers or seniors in the dojo.  Also if one of my peers was actively wanting to work on a specific technique, I would probably tone it down for them, depending on what stage of development they are at with that waza.  But when we're instructed to go all out, either by our sensei or by my partner, I will do my best to give them a good challenge by being the best motodachi I can be.

Comments

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…

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…