Archive for March 2008

Breathing (Kokyuu)

March 29, 2008

Sometimes, it looks as the world spins about the same topic. In this case is breathing (in a kendo way, of course). Recently, I read again Honda sensei’s articles about Attitute to Jigeiko (reading these articles is a must for any kendoka) and, among a lot of stuff, Honda sensei spots that kata-geiko is the best way to learn breathing. The night before my last practice, looking for new links to this blog, I found these articles about mokuso and correct kamae (spanish only) which remarks the importance of breathing and, surprise, surprise, first half of my last practice was about breathing. What is going on??

I am not very interested about this aspect at the moment, I have more important aspects to improve and to be focus on, but, once I got some basic information, why not keep on eye? Who knows, maybe, one day, it becomes natural…

Kendo breathing is based in diaphragmatic breathing and, for a number of reasons, it isn’t new for me. In fact, I have a good basic knowledge about how it works and I practice it almost everyday for five minutes with one of my students in the High School. A good diaphragmatic breathing provides your body a bigger income of oxygen, therefore, it can help you to have more energy, recover quicker when exhausted, be more concentrated, sing and raise your voice without damage your throat (perfect for teachers), relax yourself… (nothing about understanding your partner when she is in a mood, sadly)

Trying to do kata or kihon with an adequate breathing pattern (some ideas clicking here) drives you to a another mind state. I am not talking about karma or something like that, but who have practiced apnea before knows what it is about. On the other hand, being concentrated in this new way of breathing, made me have a lot of silly mistakes such as footwork or proper cutting. Kirikaeshi is ok, I am not able to do it in just one breath but I try to use one of the pattern that Honda sensei taught us last year (Breath, men, Breath yokomen, men, breath yokomen men turn finish breath). However, attempting Ji-geiko using this breathing is, to me at this moment, rocket science. Enough with my footwork, kamae and wazas to try to discover the rhythm of my opponent’s breathing and keep mine.

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Kirikaeshi study

March 25, 2008

Right, first proper post. 

I’d like to have a quick look to my grading a few weeks ago. To begin with, I must say I am very happy with my performance, I did my best in spite of being nervous. I couldn’t make it better so this is the best kendo I can offer you.

I am kakarite. I was lucky enough to have as motodachi Dez, probably the finest kyu of my Dojo, so it made things really easier. 

Today I would like to focus in the kirikaeshi stage, leaving the jigeiko to better moment.  

Good things I can spot: Concentration, spirit, kiai (always!), breathing, cuts (maybe).

Areas to improive (so not good things): kamae, correct maai and footwork, footwork, footwork… Gosh, I had not realized how bad my footwork can be at the moment. Above all the first mens before the yokomen. I’m crossing legs 50 cm!!! I’m raising my arms where I’m moving my left foot!! I don’t need to do that, it’s the other way around. And I have strong legs, I can reach without that impulse.

Any other comment it is more than welcome.

My way to shodan. Hello everyone!

March 22, 2008

Last Tuesday I had a not good practice, nothing worked properly. I was so pissed off with myself. Same faults again and again, always on a rush, not goo d posture, no good breathing, no good cuttings, no goog anything…one of these days, definitely. And then, as I normally do, I took my bike, loaded my bogu and took the way back home. While riding, I was thinking about the practice I wanted to do something and, why not, write about it. 

 Recently I achieved ikkyu. Good for me! Well done! Clap, clap, clap. It is a motivation to keep on doing my kendo, to be happy about my progress, but it is also a good moment to think twice about things. Think about doing things properly, no more crappy things, lazy kamae or careless waza, at least on porpuse. Or more imporant, think about respect, respect kendo, respect your sempais and kohais, respect your kendo community. Don’t know, but I believe there is a responsability around this, when you have a grade. 

 Next step, shodan, involves too many improvements. After having sessions like last tuesday or watching my grading on a dvd, these improvements are more that I thought and I should start right now. It is the moment to take some aspects seriously.

 Yep, I decided to create my blog about Kendo and my way to shodan. Sounds good, isn’t it?. The only problems is how I could find the time to write here. I am just working full time, studying teaching, studying English, raising a wonderful wee daughter, having a life with my partner…

  Neither today nor tomorrow, but I like to write about a lot of things: Kamae, footwork, attitude, shiai… my thoughts and worries about kendo. For how long? I expect one year, but you never know, maybe less, probably more.  But I am sure of just one thing, the last post will be “I got shodan”.

 Have fun, enjoy it.