Friday, June 29, 2007

AUSKF Kendo Seminar: Day One

Today was the first day of the Kendo Seminar. Today was just a godo-geiko with the Sensei from Japan.

There were a lot of people there so it was a great opportunity to adjust to different styles of fighting. We were seperated by rank and put into groups and did mawari-geiko with sparring for about 20 minutes. It really took a lot out of me after the first few matches, but I made sure to not give up as my arms were getting more and more tired. In actuality, I was more concerned with the sweat getting in my eyes since I was sweating pretty profusely during the whole practice.

I got a chance to have a bout with Kobayashi Sensei and Ohta Sensei during the practice. I've never been with a hachidan before so it was great to have the opportunity to practice with both for the short time we were sparring. After the five minute break, we proceded to do some jigeiko with some of the higher ranking people. In that time, I was able to go against three people. I already had the opportunity to practice with the hachidans so that freed me up to go with the others in the shorter lines.

As far as personal issues, it would have to be that I need to pay more attention to my arm as I'm not extending it enough. It really helped when I was told to bring in my wrists more to help with the extension as it was pretty effective.

Well, tomorrow's another day and the official start of the seminar. There were a lot of people there today with more arriving tomorrow, so I wonder how packed it will be. I just know that I should just show up in my gear as I didn't realize the bathrooms were so small there.

Well, time to go for now. I'll post some notes about what I learned at the seminar after I get back.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


With the seminar and test coming up in the next week, I am doing whatever I can to mentally prepare for this monumental event. Of course, things are going a little slow as my life has been getting busier lately. To top it all off, I pulled a muscle on my back so I have been in pain for the past couple of days. While Kendo is very important to me, it's even more important to take care of myself so I can do it for as long as possible.

Because I want to take as much time to recover as I possibly can, I had to skip out on the advanced practice today. But, I was able to do the kata since it's easier on the body. I knew that I needed some more practice with Kata since it's been forever since I even did them but it wasn't until I was doing it until I really knew how out of touch I am.

I could blame some of my problems on the floor as it didn't allow the sliding to make things easier, but that would be the easy way out. As I was doing the kata, I felt a bit shaky doing it at first with some botched and confused moments. I eventually got the hang of things after some practice and a clarification to kata #3.

In the third kata, what I learned from a sempai is that the thrust the uchidachi makes should rotate the bokken while thrusting. Meanwhile, the shidachi meets with the uchidachi's advance before pulling back and moving the bokken out of the way. With this particular kata being the hardest one that I have practiced, I will take any sort of tip I can get.

Another thing I learned was about putting more Ki into my movements. For those not in the know, Ki (also called Chi) is the life force that keeps things alive and gives all living things the ability to function in life. It is said that those that learn to manipulate it correctly can achieve some superhuman feats. With Dragonball Z being one of the most popular Anime out there, the Ki that they use is referred to as Spirit Energy which gives them the ability to shoot stuff out of their hands. Anyways, back to the kata. Whether or not you believe in Ki, one can take the tip as putting more feeling into the moves you are doing by telegraphing your intent to your opponent. Of course, I don't have the credentials to go that much further about that subject. Even if I did, I would have to make another entry just for Ki. Once I took this tip into mind, I felt that my moves were a bit more solid, though I still have some work to do. In the end, this tip is a reminder to not get caught up in just performing the movements as opposed to giving them the meaning that they were intended to have when they were created.

What was really nice is that Robinson and I went through EVERYTHING in the kata including the bowing in and out. He made a good point in saying that people concentrate on the actual kata but for get the formalities. While it's nice to be able to effectively do the moves, it's better to have the opening and closing formalities correct to give the proper respect to your opponent and judges.

After the practice, I realize how much more work I have on the Kata. I have enough confidence to perform decently for the exam but, of course, I get those doubts people get before any exam. At this point, I just need to perform some more practice and keep everything I learned today in mind and I should do okay. Right now, I'm concetrating on recovering fast so I can get back in the game by Thursday's practice by taking Tylenol (I'm alergic to Aspirin and Ibuprofen which rules out OTC anti-inflammatories).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Seminar and Tournament Time!

I was able to negotiate with my superiors at Walmart, so not only am I able to working at Walmart, I am able to continue Kendo AND enjoy the seminar in its entirety!

Well, I just got a letter in the mail saying that they have my testing application and that I need to answer the question about either the elements of Kirikaeshi or the types of footwork. So now, all that there is left to do is to look at the testing criteria and make sure I know what I need to know to get ikkyu. When I finish the essay, I'll see about posting what I typed on here if there aren't any problems with that.
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