Posted tagged ‘sport’

Hiki waza, and more.

May 28, 2008

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

    May 12, 2008

    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.

    Thistle cup is coming!

    April 24, 2008

    Oh yes! The Thistle cup, the most important shiai placed in Scotland is coming, Saturday 3rd of May, Aberdeen. So the shinais are being oiled, kiais tunning and teeth are being sharpened. Yes. I recognize it: I like the “sport face” of kendo. I love it, actually. There are people in Kendo who dislike the idea of competition. They believe that competition infects kendo with a sporty attitude, leaving the martial art aspects just for the books and kendo kata. Ok, fair enough. They have their reasons, they probably are right in some aspects and, of course, they are respected by me.

    But I don’t need to agree with. This feeling is great: being in the court, step in, bowing, sonkyo and go! You have two or three minutes -depending on competition- to beat your opponent and not been beaten. If you win, you think for a few seconds you are the king of the world, if you are defeated, you fell miserable. I haven’t had a lot of experiences in shiais, just the Kyusha shiai in London and some casual shiais that the uni guys state every fortnight. Love at first sight I must say.

    If I talk about my preparation I should talk about my lack of preparation. I have just moved house, so two weeks out of kendo, plus personal and professional duties make me train just a week. This week, promise, I do some suburi, at least.

    How is this related to my “way to shodan”? I believe shiai can have a didactic approach: You must control your nerves, you have a short time to show what you know and there is no second chance if you don’t offer your best. And, even doing your best performance, you can not get it. Do your best whatever the match end up and control yourself, basically.

    Honda sensei brings us very good information about attitude to shiais in this document. As usual.

    Sensei’s hangover (I)

    April 17, 2008

    Definetely no, I am not going to talk about how senseis use their secret super geiko to overcome a morning after a night plenty of beer, friendship and popular songs. No, I am talking about my feelings after a few sessions with high skill senseis. With tons of new concepts and basics revisited, my mind remains blur for a few weeks until that knowledge is assimilated (or completely forgotten).

    Last month we have been pleased to hosted Kobayashi sensei, Murata Sensei and a well known kendo-ka in the UK, Honda sensei. Very different styles, indeed. In this post, I’m focusing my attention in Kobashi’s teaching, leaving for a next one Honda’s visit.

    Kobayashi sensei (nanadan kyoshi, Assistant Professor Sport Science, Jintendo University) and Murata sensei (rokudan renshi, Italy) visited us thanks to our sempai, Andrea Fontanot and his guys from Edinburgh University Kendo Club. Kobayashi sensei is a mature man, versed both kendo and koryu, who with you can feel the old tradition of Kendo. He worked in the very basics and enlighted us with some very useful concept about kamae, grip or eye contact.

    • Kamae: straight, looking forward, your head, shoulders, even your toes. Showing confidence, discipline, authority, you show your kendo even before than adopt chudan.
    • Eye contact: Looking at the eyes of your opponent from beginning until the end. When you are moving forward, your eyes show your spirit moving forward, when you are moving backwards, your spirit is still moving forwards. Your eyes reflect your spirit.
    • Grip: always in the same place. Do not release your grip when you raise your arms to deliver a cut, no “off/on” in your gripping. Always on, and when doing tenuchi “more on”. Loosing your grip when raising your arms provokes you need an extra effort, time and movement when you try to cut, loosing speed and, over all, power. It makes your cuts more defined, more real.

    He taught us, of course, more things, included who old koryo forms are related to modern kata and Kihon ho. However, my focus is just in the mentioned points. As you can imagine, it is hard, very hard when your very basics are taught again.