Sunday, June 08, 2008

How important do you think timing really is?

Sigh, my wrist has been kinda sore for the past week so I've been out of Kendo and Iaido for the time being. Since the tournament is coming up, I don't want to risk injuring it further and ruin my chances of going to Las Vegas.

If you have been doing Kendo for a little while, you probably heard your sensei or sempai keep telling you of ways to improve your timing and how important that is. It's not that we don't believe them since we try to improve timing and strength along with the other Kendo requisites if we desire to improve ourselves.

But do we really understand the whole concept of timing? Most likely not. But this video that has been circulating on youtube for the past week or so should help with that. The guys involved in the video have the experience to move so fast and accurately and the judges have the experience to be able to see who is hitting what. But for us normal people, we have a high speed camera that helps us see just what's happening just before the hits that give them the edge. I don't want to give anything away, so here's the video, and I'll just leave it at that.

EDIT: Due to the fact that I'm having some issues viewing the video in its embedded form, I'll just post the link below.

Kendo in High Speed Camera (Slow Motion)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Iaido Happenings and Random Crap

There really isn't too much to report on the Kendo front in terms of lessons. I did learn Kata on Sunday, but it was from a book so I don't really consider myself knowing it until someone can physically bring me through the movements. After that, I went to UC and basically went through drills as I was told that I was either moving too early or too late (sigh, the many contradictions of Kendo...).

I can take a moment out and talk about Iaido a bit. I started up in February and attended every practice that I was able to, with the only reasons being that I happened to be at the Kendo training camp that weekend.

Things in Iaido are going pretty well. As I am going through the motions, I am learning how there is so much more than meets the eye to the movements. There's always some better way to take out and sheath the sword or getting the swing correctly and whatnot. I think I'm slowly getting the grasp of the goings on there, though I have a LOT of work to do. A few months ago, one of the former members came by and showed off his Iaido skills (his name escapes me, unfortunately). Everything looked so clean and crisp. As I was watching, I was wishing I would get to that point, but of course that could take years. So here I am, attending practice at 8am on Sunday mornings to improve on the iaido.

One thing I would like to address is the whole concept of teaching stuff. I attend the Northern KY Kendo Club (they also do the Iaido there too) to get in some extra practices, but ended up having the teaching duties laid on me since I happen to outrank the people there (I'm only an Ikkyu by the way).

Here are some of the issues/ideas that I am facing

- I am an Ikkyu, so I sometimes wonder how far would I need to go before overstepping my bounds or something. The people seem to not have a problem with me teaching so at least the rapport is there. One thing I do want to do is try to keep an open dialogue of sorts. So I may be teaching them my way of things, but encouraging people to question my motives to get me thinking about what's going on and stuff.

- I don't want to change things around too much, but then I don't want to keep things exactly the same. Anyone can do warm ups, drills and end practice, but there needs to be something in between so that people can leave practice learning something. I'm probably thinking too much about this though. The formalities can remain the same, but I can pretty much do whatever I want in the middle, I guess. I just need to add some of my own flavor to it. I did learn quite a bit so it's nice to be able to pass that knowledge on.

- There's only an hour to do stuff so it's a matter of what to do and what is just fluff. I guess I could have some sort of themed practice as in one that concentrates on basics, and another on waza and another on fighting, etc.

I dunno, sometimes, I think I may be thinking so much about what I could be doing wrong, that it hinders me from trying to do what I think is right. I guess one of the reasons why I'm going through this is that I'm not used to being in the leadership position. There are some that are born leaders and others that need to warm up to things and I represent the latter case. We'll see how things go though. I have a few points I want to get across to the people there to hopefully get some sort of good stuff out of them.
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