Following advises

Posted October 8, 2008 by MarcoAT
Categories: Kendo

Sometimes, in any aspect of our life, we are given too much advises, some times good, some times useless, and sometimes they crash each other, you know, “You can do this, and the opposite“.
Last weeks I have received a few very good advises.

Too tight.
That is how a dojomate described my kensen doing jigeiko. And he was completely right. The following practice, I tried to relax myself, starting by the kensen and it worked… more or less, but I felt lighter and faster. Good advises indeed.
But, it has a drawback, I tried to be so relaxed that when I attacked, I lost my grip in my right hand, crossing my right hand through the tsuka and putting both hand almost together.

Wrong movements
The other one is more difficult to follow, and it appears it is a bad habit I took. Very easy, every single time I tried men in jigeiko, instead of moving my forearms up and forward, I move them down and back my forearms and then move then forward. Uhmmmm, I have to work hard in it.

Anyway, more Kendo on Friday, and then two weeks off. A few days on the Scottish Borders are waiting to me.


All about men…

Posted September 26, 2008 by MarcoAT
Categories: Kendo

Tags: , ,

Kote, Do, Men kaeshi tsuki plus do while kicking your rival’s knee and smiling looking to the camera… who cares?

Not me, at the moment. Just men, harai men perhaps. 

Have a nice weekend

A proper post after a while…

Posted September 24, 2008 by MarcoAT
Categories: Kendo

Tags: , , , ,

There are a lot of things I like of these time. I´m studying a lot what it is supposed I have to -the very spanish Oposiciones de Magisterio-, spending more time with my family, and practicing lots of kendo and fitness everyday. And, what it is wonderful about that is I’m cutting drastically my time in front of the computer, so, in spite of having no to much time to catch up emails and update this blog, I am not wasting whole hours watching stupid videos on Youtube o reading the same news in five different online newspapers. So, I’m happy, very indeed. And very very tired. Can’t wait to October break and having a few relaxing days with my two girls somewhere away from Edinburgh.

Right, let’s talk about kendo.


Having in mind my studying time has squeezed my life, my attendance is quite regular, one or two sessions at week.


They days I don’t attend kendo I am doing suburi, with the exception of Wednesdays. 500 hundreds or so: Jo-guburi, shomen, kote, kote men, haya suburi, katate (one hand) suburi. It looks a lot, but it doesn’t take me more than 10-15 minutes, so it is not big deal. I know, I know, it is better one hundred ok than 1000 incorrect, it is quality, no quantity, therefore I tried to stay as much focused as I can, it isn’t just swinging your arms.


Lately, I’m using my bike to do some cardio work. I use my bike everyday to go work; I have intervals of 3/4 minutes effort + 1/2 m resting time, using different gears combination to keep a reasonable and safe speed, but forcing my body to change its rhythm. Crunches and push ups at home 3 or 4 times at week and gym time to time, once or, maybe twice to do more specific work.
Me, ME!!! I cannot believe my eyes, me who I was a heavy and proud smoker, the same one who see any physical effort as a punishment

Kendo, the real one, I mean

I’ve been doing this work since one month and I can see a difference in the dojo. I feel stronger and more resistant to exhausting, therefore, I can be more concentrated in my kendo than moaning myself about how tired I am.

My focus

  • Big swings, at least in uchikomi-geiko and kiri-kaeshi, leaving ko-waza to ji-geiko and shiai practices.
  • Straightness: My back is still bent sometime. It looks I loose my concentration during ji-geiko and I start to bend my back, above all doing kote.
  • Kata: step by step. I’m working sanbonmen, uchidashi side, first big cut. Gosh, it is more difficult than it looks. My sensei gave me a very good advises and it is to leave to the katana weight to make the hard work. Interesting once you get it.
  • Shikakae waza: Omote and ura harai and then go for men. The rest… or well, sometimes if I’m lucky. Debana and nuki should be there, but … OK, next week, next week….

Things which have appeared (and I wasn’t looking for)

  • Hiki waza. Yep, it is there. I don’t try hard on these technique, for a long time, I use it more as a “safe” gateway from tsubazeira rather a technique attack, probably because I didn’t know how to work it out. Now, I can do “some” thing. In fact, last session we had a shiai practice and one of my points was scored doing hiki. The good thing is I didn’t think too much about it, I just saw the chance and I did it.
  • Do: Slightly better as I used to be but I just used in Uchikomi-geiko.

After a bad time, always a good time is coming. Summer wasn’t good because a number of serious reason, but now things have came back to normal, and i wasn’t very happy with my kendo either.

I will keep my finger crossed, now everything is OK, running smoothly, happy finding a balance, but things can turn wrong in a blink of an eye. So, let me enjoy a few more days, weeks, months…

We have a date

Posted September 24, 2008 by MarcoAT
Categories: Kendo

Tags: , , ,

22 of february 2009. Irish International Goodwill Taikai, Dublin. I have to confirm a few last things but this seems the date I will be tested to get shodan.

5 months to go.

Okuden (the third book)

Posted June 20, 2008 by MarcoAT
Categories: Kendo

Tags: , ,

I have just read this and I believe is priceless. If you struggle to find time for your life, your kendo and your work, next text is a must.

Written by Ryoichi Shimano, you can find it here:

“I go to Noma Dojo located in Gokoku-ji, Tokyo, every morning. My house is in the northern part of Saitama prefecture and it takes about 2 hours by train to get to the Dojo from my place. So, if I get up around 4:00 am and catch the first train, I can be on time for the morning practice which starts at 7:00 am.

Three years ago, when I got ready for a practice and entered the Dojo, one Sensei came to me and whispered, “Shimano-san, Shimano-san. Would you like to know the secret of how to be a strong Kendo player?” I wondered what he was trying to say and, at the same time, why he approached me, since there were many other Kendo players. I was pretty confused but also curious. So, though I thought that he was acting strangely, I asked him, “Yes. Could you please tell me what the secret is?” The Sensei stared into my eyes seriously for an instant, but then he said gently, “It is to get along with your wife.” Then, he left me and went back to his position at the Dojo.

Now, I became really confused. To get along with my wife? How can that be the secret to be a strong Kendo player? I was completely puzzled.

However, as I spent time to think over it, I realized that how fortunate it was to be able to keep practicing Kendo at Noma Dojo every morning like this. I should, of course, thank Kodansha1 for keeping Noma Dojo open. But, at the same time, I also realized that I could do it thanks to my family. I noticed that I had thought that Kendo was a personal thing, and I had been careless about my family when it came to Kendo. However, I can leave home and come to practice because my home is at peace. I can keep a calm mind thanks to the other people around me. “To get along with your wife” is definitely a secret to be a strong Kendo player. Not only in Kendo. You can do your best at work only if your home is at peace. After I understood this, I became used to telling others “The secret to be a strong Kendo player is to get along with your wife!” whenever, say, I had a chance to discuss about Kendo while having some drink with my friends.

One day, I told the Sensei that I was promoting his great secret. He said, “Oh, yeah!? That’s good. By the way, what do you wear when you go to bed?” I was confused again by his strange question and replied, “Well…” Then, he said, “You should wear Nemaki.2 Not something like pajamas.” I was totally at a loss. What is the relation between his secret and that question? “Remember the scenes in some TV dramas. Characters are always in pajamas when they have a marital quarrel. You cannot have a quarrel with Nemaki,” he said and laughed like Mito-Komon-sama.3

But, why wear Nemaki but not pajamas? Why did he mention it when I was talking about his secret? You might have already guessed it. In the case of pajamas, it takes time to undress. On the other hand, in the case of Nemaki, you can split open the front part easily. Yes, the essence to get along with one’s wife lies in such things, too.

Thus, the Okuden of my Kendo secret is “to get along with your wife,” and the methodology is “to go to bed with Nemaki.” I am not kidding at all. So, please do not take me wrong. If you have any worries about your Kendo, why don’t you look at the face of the one who sleeps next to you once again. To be a good couple seems easy, but it also seems very difficult.

I am determined to practice “to get along with my wife” and to devote myself to Kendo. So, I decided to disclose this as the Oku-den.

By the way, when I attended the wedding reception of my friend the other day, I was asked to make a speech. So, I announced this Oku-den and people told me later that they were really impressed. My gift to the couple was, of course, Nemaki. “

Hiki waza, and more.

Posted May 28, 2008 by MarcoAT
Categories: Kendo

Tags: , ,

Hi all,

I´m back finally. After a few weeks out of Kendo, trips and family commitments, everything is coming back to normal: work, life, phone line, flat, kendo… The last one thing will be when my internet provider decide to restore my broadband, but it looks it will take some more weeks. Moving home, I love it, you know….

Let´s talk about kendo and my way to shodan, that it is the point of this blog:


I´m quite happy lately, my suburi routine is becoming an habit. Almost everyday I find a gap to practice at least ten minutes. Better than nothing. Even more, in my week in the Alps, I woke up one hour earlier than our children, so I could stretch, run a lite bite and do some suburi in the mountains. Then, I started my day plenty of energy. Coming back home, I try to do some everyday, sometimes indoor, sometimes outdoor. Good, I fell better as time goes by.

Kendo practice

Last night was my first practice after almost one month off. Result: blister in my palm. The reason is, because I´m doing suburi with bokken, I had not grab a shinai since then, and handle, rhythm and sweat are different. Don’t mind at all, it is just another blister. And, jealousness, envy, bubbles coming from my mouth when I saw my colleges doing ji-geio: I left my bogu at home. My hand is OK but not good enough for kote or strong body contact. Just in case, leaving my bogu at home is the best way to avoid any temptation. Any big temptation.

Our sensei is putting his focus now in hiki waza. Good. Hiki is one of those techniques I have ignored since I started. Mainly because I am focused in the very basic ones, and, I must admit, I cannot manage hiki at all. My fumikomi is painful, my cut very weak and my shape “curvy”. In addition, it isn’t expected that ikkyu know this technique properly.

But it is not a reason to ignore it at all at this point. So far, what I have done after tsubazeria was back to chudan as safer and quicker as possible, trying to deflect any incoming hiki.

Points to remember doing hiki:

  • Your body moves backwards, but your cut goes forwards. Basic, basic, basic.
  • When moving back, keep on eye on body weight distribution, from the left to the right at the moment of cut. A way to practice this is being in tsubazeria, move backwards with your right food risen and cut with fumikomi. Not easy, even, it doesn’t look easy neither
  • Zanshin, of course, after cutting.
  • Tsubazeira, half technique, half trickery, but you can create openings in your adversary by moving your shinai.

    Have a nice week

    Good times, bad times

    Posted May 12, 2008 by MarcoAT
    Categories: Kendo

    Tags: , , , ,

    I had too many things in my plate last week. I couldn’t practice at all, neither a normal practice nor suburi at home, but now, quieter and more exciting times are coming.


    I could find sometime at home to do some suburi finally. Just ten minutes, but at least is better than nothing. Shomen, kote, kote men, yokomen, sho men, 2 minutes each with non stop. I don’t know if it is the best way, doing it with no pauses but I feel great. It is tiring but last ones look the best ones. I live in a tenement, so my ceiling are height enough to practice indoor (just bokken, no shinai, just in casa). Problems: No haya suburi or jyougeburi because of the lack of room. I know, it is not great, but at least is something. At the moment, I’m focused to keep my grip in the same position, as Kobayashi sensei told us. It is interesting the shape of the movement, stiffer, I guess, but more effective if you are thinking as a cutting movement…

    My thumb

    My right thumb worries me. I have had a long term injure in the join between my thumb and the palm of my right hand. Last September, during Jigeiko, I broke “something” there, it was not a bone, but something was not working properly. I must say it was quite painful and, surprise, surprise, I didn’t care too much it basically because I had my first competition in London (fly tickets and hostel already paid) a days after. So I didn’t take the care I should. Now, looking back, I am realising it was a mistake, my injury got worse. After London I decided to go to my GP and give a rest to my hand. Doctor told me it was “probably” a ligaments problem, therefore, painkillers and rest. I expected to be off two or three weeks off, and s en kegoo. My hand was still a bit sore, but I could manage it, and after New Year, it seemed to be ok.

    Until Thistle cup, during my first and only match, a hit in the same spot: same pain and bigger worries. It is clear that et isr ot ongatime. . Anyway, I could do suburi with no problems and normal practice, next practices I am not going to carry my bogu and I have to keep away from jigeiko for a while (damm!!!!!!!).

    Next week

    Finally, I am going to the Alps for a week in a school trip. Having know I am going to have some spare time every day (no too much), I will take my bokken with me and keep on doing some suburi and stretching exercise.