Spent the session working through kata. Looked at both Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho and the full Kendo Kata.
Due to some gradings coming up Sensei worked through Bokuto Kihon 1-4. Making note of the following points:
Kihon 1 – Check distances. Each cut has a different start ‘distance’ (for the initial men a little closer than for the kote strike but not as close as for do).
Kihon 2 – Should be a clean flowing movement between Kote and Men
Kihon 3 – The harai movement should be small and coordinated with the right foot moving forward and with the upswing for the men cut. It shouldn’t look like a wild swing in from the side and then a disconnected cut. Also motodachi should only allow their bokken to move just enough outside of the bodyline to allow kakarite to make the men.
Kihon 4 – Both sides should take a 1/2 step in to tsuba-zerai. tsuba-zerai should be done with straight arms, and the bokken should not be vertical as then your centre would be off.
Then we worked through Kendo kata 1-3
Sensei spent a lot of time correcting kamae. Left (hidari) jodan should be done without excessively turning the torso, the left hand should be over the left foot and above the eyeline. Moving in hidari jodan from chudan you should lift your arms and then they should move into the final position from above (ie; swing up with a large movement and then settle down into jodan).
Kata 1 – After the initial approach you should be close enough that Uchidachi’s strike would hit Shidachi (the aim being to cut through the tsuka (handle), both of shidachis hands, their head and down through the torso) so that shidachi has to move to avoid the cut. Uchidachis swing should be a large arc (based on what they’re trying to cut through), and should leave uchidachi off balance (weight too far forward.). Shidachi’s nuki movement to avoid should be small, and the sword/hands should move upwards not backwards (ie the kensen shouldn’t drop and the bokken shouldn’t become level).
Kata 2 – Uchidachi’s cut should end just below shidachi’s wrist. Shidachi’s strike should be made with a step forward (ie; shidachi shouldn’t just step back and strike, but should evade (nuki waza) and then step in to ensure the cut is on target)
Kata 3 – Sensei broke this down into small steps to build it up:
- First, uchidachi performed tsuki with shidachi performing the parry. The tsuki needs to be a strong tsuki and aimed towards the solar plexus. Shidachi’s parry should be performed while stepping backwards but pushing the arms/bokken forwards. The parry should be enough to move uchidachi’s kensen, but only enough to avoid the body/
- Then performed the above, but this time with shidachi’s retaliatory tsuki/push.
- Then begining with the approach from gedan, and trying to build contact/tension while coming up into chudan and then following through with the sections already practiced.