Tuesday, October 14, 2008

1st Annual ECUSKF Student Tournament

This past weekend marked the 1st anniversary of the East Central United States Kendo Federation (henceforth ECUSKF) Student Tournament. The purpose of this particular tournament is to better cultivate the Kendo of the younger people by allowing them to fight each other in an environment made just for them.

Before I begin, I would like to congratulate all the participants. You fought very hard and made the spectators very proud!

Of course, being 23 and not a student in any way, shape or form, I was only there to do score keeping and make myself available for any other help that might be needed. This was the first time I ever got to score keep as well, so there was a bit of learning on my part. The scoring for Kendo is more than just saying that someone got a point and won the match. There are marks for what kind of score they got, if they had a penalty (hansoku), a no-show or whether or not the scores were judged by matches. Nagata Sensei asked me to do it in Japanese, which was really no problem at all. I got to learn some more Kanji and vocabulary from reading the instructions (the Japanese version was a bit more clear...hmm...) so that was pretty fun.

Being there was a blast! Seeing the little kids beating each other up or competing in the basics (kihon) tournament really put nothing but smiles on my face. They all fought very hard and looked like they were enjoying themselves the whole time. Seeing this sort of lit my kendo fire a bit.

After the tournament, we had a joint practice which was really just an hour of free practice, so we just go up to whoever we want and fight them for a few minutes before moving on to the next person. I was sort of freaking out a bit because, I was just going and going with one person after another with what I felt was a lot of spirit. The strange part was that I was really able to keep going after practice was over. I'm not sure if it had something to do with seeing the tournament (my spirits tend to go up after a tournament or exam) or if there may have been something in the Lexington water.

Of course, I can't finish this without any sorts of things I need to fix. There were three points that was made to me:
  • I need to know when to stop and complete my hits. This is really more of a recent phenomenon, but I sometimes get into a hitting frenzy where I tend to hit any chance I get. While that fact isn't so bad, it can count against me cause it could cancel out any sorts of points I may have made with my first hit by trying to fit in a second one. A more specific example would be a nidan-waza like kote-men. We do that a lot during practice and it tends to get into our minds to do a kote-men, no matter what the outcome might be with the kote hit. What we eventually need to get to is that we have the mindset to do one hit, but follow up with the second one in case the first one doesn't hit.
  • I seem to be tensing up a lot with my arms. Can't really explain it that much other than the fact that it tends to happen if I'm high in energy and ready to go. While it might feel like I'm going fast, the tensing up only slows me down and tires me out quicker. Looks like this is a big one to finish.
  • I could try to make use of shikake (offensive) and oji-waza (countering). Those actually tend to be my weak points since I'm either not fast enough or not accurate enough for them to become useful (Koizumi sensei noted this issue). These can be very important tools to grab the center if I happen to be at a disadvantage so I should make better use of these techniques.
I would definately like to congratulate Elizabeth and Nagata-sensei and all other people involved in planning and running the event for their efforts in getting the tournament going with very little issues. Everyone was very impressed and definately wants this to happen again.

Well, good night peeps!


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