Friday, July 29, 2005

Saturday Training 30/7 - Patience is a Virtue

Two posts in one - now thats value for money! hahaha

First off, last Wednesday's training was not overly exciting for me. Learnt a lot though!!!!

Did Kata to about 8pm and learnt how to do no 3 and no 4 - long way to go before i'm any good at them though :-)

After that Takashi Itakura sensei gave a 30min seminar on the basics - rei, correct posture, bowing etc then into things like how to dress properly and to ensure hakama is tied correctly etc and then into the correct way to execute suburi. Picked up quite a good points - especially about dressing correctly and how to bow etc.

Finally, 15 mins of doing footwork practice - Myee, Ato, Migee, Hidari etc. We paired up and the person opposite had to follow his partner - quite hard as when the command was given i'd do that rather than the opposite - should be watching the partner and following his lead.

So Saturday rolls up again and its off to training - arrived early and was inundated by an invasion of UNSW Kendoka :-)

Warmup was interesting as Doug took it as Payne Sensei was absent. Only real different thing we did was hayasuburi - 50 and then 30! Actually got my heart rate up and I quite enjoyed it - need more of it to increase my exercise :-D

Beginners were then shepharded off outside under Takashi Itakura sensei where we covered the basics - posture, men, kote cuts etc.

The important things I learnt there were:

1) Get the cut right and do it everytime as if going for a kill - technique above speed.
2) Patience - Don't rush things and get the basics right. A wise old man once said that you need to master the basics if you are expected to succeed in greater things...
3) Keep the body straight when doing cuts.
4) Focus!!!!! Watch the opponents eyes when doing cuts - not their kote or other body parts.

I also practice my fumikomi and i think its starting to come together.

Will probably also start training at Hornsby on Tuesday nights. Spoke to one of the guys who trains there (Rick) and he gave me lots of encouragement to train there - looking forward to going there to ramp up my training!

Also, finally paid for my Bogu! Woohoo!!!!!! Getting a Koei G20 series Men, Kote, Do - can't wait to receive and start training in it! Should get it in 5-6 weeks at a guess....

Friday, July 22, 2005

Saturday Training 23/7 - Preparing for Grading...

Saturday is here and I'm keen for training! I'm over my sore throat and all set to give 110% Kiai! Missed Wednesday training due to work's official launch - so tired after that!

Anyway, training today so the usual warmup with Payne Sensei and then the rookies joining the ranks of the Bugu clad for some Kiri-Aeshi and some men waza and then kote, men waza (nihon waza). Got some good words on encouragement from Mr Forrester (motodachi for my line). Thing to remember is don't go around the motodachi after executing a men cut - GO STRAIGHT!!!!!

After 20-30 mins of that (which i really enjoyed) it was off to beginners class taken by Ben Ng. We covered some basics such as drawing the sword and going into sankyo etc. After that it was some basic suburi and later some kote, men and Do cuts - pretty much what is expected in grading. We finished up with some Kiri-Kaeshi - good stuff indeed!

Things I got out of this session:

1) Ten-ouchi and fumokomo - need to work hard to get these 2 techniques correct!

2) Keep my cuts crisp and correct - slow down and do them right (especially in Kiri-Kaeshi - need to make sure my cuts are from above the head and not in front).

Submitted my grading form and am now looking forward to grading....and getting into Bogu!

Bring it on!!!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Saturday Training 16/7 - Continuity is good....

Another glorious winter's day and its time to get up and go do some Kendo training! 3 consecutive sessions in a row now - woohoo!!! I'm stoked with that as I have been missing way too many for my liking due to work!

Saturday training started off like most other training - Sensei Payne getting everyone to do warmups and then Suburi - all good stuff. My men cuts felt a lot better then they did on Wednesday night and I think that having a good warm up really helps me to achieve that!

I felt more confident! I've also been reading a great book on Kendo (lent to me by Daniel Harrison) - "Complete Kendo" by John Donohue and I think that what i have read has also helped me improve my Kendo - great read so far and I highly recommend it to any Kendo beginner!

So anyway, after the usual Suburi, Sensei had all us beginners lined up with the bogu clad veterans and we did some practice of various wazas - in my case (and with the other beginners) starting with Kirae-ashi. I found it very awkward having to land the suyi-men cuts on the sensei's (one of the Japanese senseis - i forget his name) men. Definitely an area to improve and one which I shall have to practice a lot!!!!

Then we moved onto Men, Kote and some Doh cuts - really enjoyed these and the sensei pushed me hard ("faster, faster"). I finished sucking in huge lungfuls of air :-) I got a lot of confidence out of that!!!!!

Some things of note the sensei said...

1) Kiai!!! Really start to use it for each Men cut - don't just yell - yell with spirit and gusto and like you REALLY mean it!!!

2) Look the opponent in the eyes!!!!

3) Go straight - motodachi will move - I was starting to go around and sensei quickly got me going in the right direction - straight!!!

Great little session. We then watched the bigu clad do oji-waza - thing I noticed is that distance is critical - something to remember when I'm into Bogu myself!

Things i still need to improve:

1) Fumokomi - Just not happenening and I really need to practice it more.

2) Te-no-unchi - Slowly getting there but still in need of improvement.

Another good session and I'm looking forward to Wednesday night again - time to improve my kata some more....

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Wednesday Training 13/7 - Men, Men, Men!!!

Rocked up to Willoughby today all keen and ready to go....

Started off with some Kata - I practiced mainly Kata 1 (Ippon-me) and Kata 2 (Nihon-me). I'm ok with both but need to watch footwork and remember to step and cut all the way through when doing Sidachi for Ippon-me!

Tried to practice Kata 3 with Andrew Van Hammond but was totally confused with the Tski thrusts and blocking - oh well - something to practice next time.

One thing I found is that going from kata to training with shinais without doing warmups (ala saturdays) means my cuts seem to take a while to get right - something I need to work on....getting cuts right straight away...

Andrew took the beginner class today, and well it was boring - nothing but a whole hour of "Men, Men, Men" men cuts - with some one handed men cuts thrown in for variation! Boring (extremely boring) but important to get the men cut right so its 2nd nature and lands right the 1st time. A point that Andrew emphasised again and again - land the cut right the 1st time!!!!

Things worthy of note:

1) Grip on shinai must be firm but not tight otherwise you will tire quickly (especially when doing nothing but men cuts in the space of 1 hour).
2) Make sure the cut is stopped and not bounced - very important. Comes down to patience and making sure each men cut is crisp (tenouchi needs improvement as well) and well defined!
3) Kiai!!!! Andrew had a go at the seniors and others in bogu about lack of Kiai - most important (though quite annoying when one has a sore throat/throat infection) as it fills you with confidence and making for better and more confident cuts - in fact doing men cuts with no kiai is just plain wrong!

It's been nearly 3 months since i started Kendo and I'm keen to get into bogu - hopefully soon.....

Friday, July 08, 2005

Saturday Training 9/7 - Confidence is up

You beauty! First time in Gi and Hakama today. Having been shown by Daniel how to put it on, I arrived at the Willoughby Doji and felt immediately comfortable. It feels right to wear a gi and hakama and it helped my posture and confidence....

Following the usual Saturday warmup with Payne Sensei (during which I found my technique to be quite good considering i spent the last 10 days in Fiji and missed a few sessions of training) it was beginner training with Rick.

Lots of Men and Kote cuts to get into the habit of doing the cut with left hand and gliding with the right. Footwork is coming along nicely though (distance between feet is ok now) but I still have some issues with left foot and weigh distribution when practice men cuts (1 step 1 cut) to an overhead shinai held up by partner. Need to remember to put more weight on back foot and to push!!!

Otherwise, my men cuts seem to feel ok when doing Kiri kaeshi - coming along nicely and just need to remember to slow down and concentrate on getting the cuts right.

Thats the big message for me today - be patient, slow down and concentrate on technique and then the speed will come....