Kendo practice, 25th November 2007

O’Donnell sensei came down from Do Shin Ken yu Kai to take the session.

Suburi – Was pointed out that during haya-suburi we should actually be covering quite a distance with the ‘hop’. The example given was the side lines of a badminton court (handy as there’s one marked on the dojo floor), which after some wikipedia’ing appears to be 0.48m. I’m still having problem doing this one, I quite often feel as though me feet are about to slide out from under me. I wonder if I’m just moving my feet too much compared to my upper body.

Also introduced to another suburi exercise for ki-ken-tai-ichi. The idea is to complete a cut while jumping and switching feet across (So, start in normal kamae (right foot front), jump, cut and then land with left foot front). The timing felt very strange, and it really shows you have to be relaxed on the cut to get the speed of the swing fast enough.

Kirikaeshi – Sensei said that there’s too many ‘parts’ to kirikaeshi to be able to improve them all at the same time, so we should concentrate on one part to do perfectly for each set. The hands should drop to tsuba-zeriai naturally after the cut as part of cutting forwards, there shouldn’t be a deliberate pulling back of the arms to get into position. Then we did a form of kirikaeshi where motodachi would block 2 strikes, and then not block the next 2 strike, this was to show that striking area should be same all the time and kakarite shouldn’t be altering their cut just because of the block.

kihon – men, kote, do, kote-men, harai-men. Seme in and strike, try to do all on as few breathes as possible. Ensure that zanshin is continued after last cut, there should still be a connection/awareness between the partners until the exercise is completely finished

Kihon II – A sequence of kote, men, tsuba-zeriai, hiki-men, kote, men, tsuba-zeriai, hiki-kote, kote, men, tsuba-zeriai, hiki-do, sashi-men.

Kakarigeiko/Uchikomigeiko – Today it wasn’t a set one or the other. You’d seme in and then motodachi would decide if it was uchikomi or kakari, but this was for every cut. Found it hard, as I’d seme in and then either hang waiting for an opening (uchikomi-geiko) or try to force the opening (kakari-geiko), and usually a split second afterwards I’d work out that motodachis intent was the opposite.

Jigeiko – Feedback from Sensei was that I need to push in more. Just sitting at distance won’t work, need to probe opponent for openings and mistakes. I think I’ve been thinking too much about the working from distance parts of recent lessons and not working on moving from toi maai to issoku itto maai with enough pressure/presence to force an opening

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