Friday, January 16, 2009

Interesting Revelations

Well, I'm sitting here in bed waiting for that stupid Rhinovirus to die and let me get on with my life (the common cold). So I thought I'd take some of the copious amount of free time I now have since I can't really do much else and go over some things that I was taught in Kendo and Iaido class this week.

In Iaido, we spent some time going over breathing techniques while doing the kata. Breathing is something that is emphasized, but not really discussed, so it's a nice thing to actually go over some possible ideas on how to break things down. I have been looking for ways that I can go from just doing the various seitei waza to actually putting some meaning behind the techniques. And after learning what I did in Sunday's practice, I think I may have found at least one way to reach that particular goal.

I'll use Gohonme: Kesagiri (五本目:けさ切り) as an example since that's what we applied it to in class. I was basically told to try slowly breathing out as I stepped forward and make the nukitsuke and take another slow breath while doing chiburi and noto. After trying it out a few times, Atkins-sensei said that he noticed a big improvement in my execution. The main thing that breathing did was help me actually concentrate on how I make my cuts and how I can better execute techniques. I really would love to add this to my regimen of the other kata to see how things work compared to last time.

Tuesday's Kendo practice had some shiai-geiko in it to help us prepare for the Detroit tournament. Here are some notes that Takano-sensei expressed to me and the class:

- Whenever I go for an attack, I need to try to make sure my hit makes a distinct sound before the other person to make sure I get the points scored in my favor.

- I really should try to pay more attention to spacing. If your back is close to the boundary, the normal reaction seems to be to try to go forward and forcefully push the other person back. But another option to use would be to actually move to the side in case the other person has the idea to taiatari you right out of the boundary. Conversely, if the opponent is in a similar position, it is possible to taiatari them out of the court, but then you run the danger of being at a disadvantage. Another option is to use pressure to get them to unconsiously move back and get them to step out.

- When moving back to reposition ourselves, it's best to hold the other person's shinai with yours so they can't easily go for any openings that come up.

Out of all the suggestions that she gave me, the most important thing is that I needed to make use of "tame." I've never really heard that term before, but what I gather, I need to make effort to build up my energy and then explode with an attack instead of just moving when ready. There really isn't too much I can say beyond that since I haven't had a chance to work on it (I was supposed to do that yesterday...), but I'll be sure to get that straightened out the next time I can go to practice.


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