Friday, September 30, 2005

Back into the Groove!

Well its Saturday and I had my first Kendo in 2 weeks - good to get back into it again.

Class started with the usual Saturday warmups and then into Kihon Kote, Kihon Men, Kihon Do etc followed by ji-geiko.

Things to note:

1) Straight posture and drive with the hips.

2) Loosen the grip and Shinai and relax - i am way to tense in ji-geiko.

3) Zanshin!!!! Execute the cut and forward towards opponent and do good Zanshin.

4) Large cuts in Kihon! Don't get into habit of doping small cuts!

Some comments....

I really enjoy the warmup and kihon etc but am not enjoying je-geiko as much. Why? I think I'm too unfit - need to *REALLY* improve my stamina so that I can do good zanshin and keep following up with attacks. Takes me way too long to get my breathe back!

I also am still quite lost in relation of what cuts to do when and an not at all confident in finding/making openings. At times I just stand there and try to think what to do and get hit men and kote! I'm just trying to hit men and kote and follow through at present.

Many things to improve....

Plus I had other things on my mind today - my wonderful girlfriend is flying back from Singapore tonite - yay!!!!

Until next time...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

19/9 2nd Time in Bogu

Just a few key points - learnt a lot again today.

The big difference is that now that im in bogu I need to concentrate on my opponent while as a beginner all i had to do was concentrate on my cuts.....

Things to remember....

1) Work on getting correct miai (spacing) - important for lauching the cut and to avoid getting cut yourself.

2) Kiai - Need to improve that - still quite throaty.

3) Drive from the hips - centre of balance is there and not the shoulders so more hip drive - will lead to better cuts.

4) Posture - focus on keep my posture upright.

5) Fitness - really need to work on that - jieiko is tiring and will get worse with summer coming up soon :-)

6) Concentrate on men and kote and follow through in jigeiko - keep it simple for the time being and make sure the cuts become automatic and well done before getting onto any of the more advanced moves.

Shame my next training isn't until next Saturday - more work travel this week.......

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Ouch" - My First Bogu experience!!!

What can I say but "ouch"! I sit and write this just after i got from my first bogu experience - training tonite as the Hornsby Club.

Man, Oh Man - am i sore - covered in blue dye too and bruises everywhere - right elbow, right ribs and left ass :-) I feel like Mike Tyson's boxing bag - well battered!

Where do I start....i arrive at Hornsby tonite and find that its me and another guy both in bogu for the first time - glad someone else is there who is also "fresh meat" :-)

We line up for seiza and when it comes to don the men, I actually manage to tie my tenegui but need Doug's help with my men - at least its tied up now correctly!

My first impressions? Very awkward and feeling like i'm a rank beginner again!!!! Boy does this feel uncomfortable - limited vision, more weight on my head and its so weird holding a shinai wearing kote! Not to mentioned now being half deaf.....

Anyway....we start of with kiri kaeshi and its bad - very awkward and my cuts of just crap - small cuts rather than large ones and its pretty distressing when I get men cuts for the first time (not something you get taught in beginners - how to receive men cuts). I'm finding that the flaps of my new men are also still very stiff and keep restricting my shoulders and lifting off arms - really need to break it in!!!!!

As for technique that I refined over the last 6 months or flew out the door!!!! I was trying to get used to this new unfamiliar environment that everything was crap - mis-directed cuts, no tenouchi and my kiai was bad - too much throat and no enough diaphram!!!

We then covered some basics - kihon men, kote, do follow by nihon waza - kote men and finally sundan waza - kote, men, do. It was *really* strange having to receive cuts and move back - again something not learnt in the beginners class!!! After this we covered suriage waza and oji waza - again all new stuff for me!

After that it was onto ji-geiko...and boy, was this a challenge!!! I had no idea what to do so i just tried kote and men cuts and actually landed a few!!! Copped cuts everywhere and even went arse over with my men and tenegui flying off and getting a serving from Doug about denying other people - I thought that was a bit harsh..anyway it allowed me to catch my breathe! I was absolutely knackered - with a capital K - I mean big time...i need to improve my fitness! I was so tired in the last j-geiko I could hardly lift my arms and my breathe was laboured!!!! Talk about bloody hard work!!!!

It came as a huge relief to take off my bogo at the end of training!

Some key points I learnt:

Miai - very important to keep distance otherwise i could wear a shinai in the throat :-)

Kiai - more diaphram than throat - not fun sounding like Kermit the frog...all croaky!

Aggression - Need to be aggressive and land cuts and follow through....not to worry about defence but just attack.

Footwork - Fortwork is critical, especially since you need to turn your whole body instead of your head.....which leads to...

Posture - drive forward with the hips and keep a straight posture or you could wear one on the back of the men....easier to launch attacks as well with good posture.

Overall, it was a great training session - a huge lift in intensity but a really new, weird environment to train in. I'm now covered in bruises and will no doubt be sore for the next few days. It will be a huge struggle to make Willoughby training tomorrow. Saturday looks more likely.

Again, really need to work on my fitness - damn hard to play Kendo when your out of breathe and your muscles are burning and its a struggle to get your shinai to chudan no kamae.....i can see now why so many people quit Kendo at this stage....

Anways....i shall keep going and aim to improve my kendo and fitness at the same time!

Until next time....

Monday, September 12, 2005


Ahhh - the anticipation! Today is the day me thinks - the day i finally train in full bogu - tare, do, men and kote.

How do I feel? A tad nervous, especially having read some people's experiences on the Kendo World forums but looking forward to stepping up the intensity of training that comes with wearing Bogu. I expect my technique to be all over the place and my first cuts i expect to be very tentative :-)

I've been trying to practice putting on my tenegui and men and found the men easier to tie then the tenegui which looks like a rats nest on my head - hopefully that will improve in neatness over time :-)

Hopefully I will have a few (postive) comments after training tonite...stay tuned.......

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


As I sit here half asleep (2hrs time difference is a killer) in a customer’s small computer room (in Perth) my mind drifts to Kendo – I was thinking about my progression since I started the sport in April and the various steps of progression through kendo newbie-ism.

I started off feeling uncomfortable with the concept of swinging a shinai and doing this funny footwork called suri-ashi and training in trackie pants and a T-shirt.

I believe the defining moment for me was when I first started to train in a gi and hakama – from that day forth, my Kendo improved, my confidence improved and things just started to gel into place.

The next step for me in my Kendo development was grading – wearing a tare for the first time and getting graded to 5th Kyu – made me feel like I really belonged with the rest of the club now that I was graded. I think it went a long way to improving my kendo self confidence as well…..

My next goal is to start training in full bogu – which if things go well should be next week!

And then gi-keiko….my list of people I want to play is quite large :-)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Saturday 3/9 - I feel good!

Its Saturday, and time for Kendo! Woohoo!

I rocked up and started today's session by strapping on my Tare and do - it actually feels good to train in partial bogu. And I think that this general feeling of goodness was reflected today in my kendo - good clean confident cuts and good footwork and together with good kiai (though I must remember to use less throat and more diagphram).

After the usual warm ups and suburi, Payne Sensei had us newbs line up with everyone else and we proceeded to do fast men and kote men cuts for a while - it felt really good! This then saw the bogu clad kendoka do jigeiko while Payne Sensei took us through doing the basic cuts on each other's shinai etc. I also have to remember to lift my arms more and do larger cuts rather then smaller ones.

The one big thing that went through my mind is that I now consider myself ready for bogu! A big statement indeed but I know I am now ready!

My footwork felt good, my cuts were clean and precise with good use of tenouchi and my fumokomi was happening just nicely.....not to mention good kiai!

My next training session is next Saturday (will be in Perth most of next week with work) so will train then in tare, do and kote and hopefully will train in full bogu at Hornsby on Saturday week - really looking forward to that. Need to start practicing tieing my Men and wearing my tenogui now :-)