Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How Should I Really Be Trying to Fight?

I was reading over the newsletter that is on Kendo Guide and there was an interesting article from Kendo Nippon from Sumi Masatake sensei about the attitudes we should have in fighting. He seemed to talk about quite a bit, but there are four things in the article that I'd like to talk about and reflect on how it compares to what I do now and how it could affect my Kendo later.

Komei Seidai (公明正大) - fairness
This concept is more the thought process that we all must have when we go against people. There are various techniques that are available to us to find, create, disable and attack that are within the rules of shiai. But like everything in life, it mainly remains a judgement call for how to adjust to the given situation. Some rules may end up not being applied as strictly as others depending on who's judging or loopholes might be found and exploited.

But is it necessarily the right thing to do? One thing we should ask ourselves is whether or not we are following the principles of Kendo that the AJKF made in 1975. Not only that, if we were to become victorious, would it feel like a clean win? While there are specific guidelines to follow, there are many interpretations to follow with this. So we also must be able to adapt to the situation in case someone is not doing what we call "fair." Besides, if you lose due to someone being underhanded or not doing things right, then what does that have to say about your abilities?

Tameru (溜める) - To charge, store
I have been hearing a lot about this one lately. I have already used the whole spring analogy when talking to other people my interpretation of it. In short, one should act like a spring when preparing to attack and making that move. Pushing the spring down stores the energy and releasing it releases all that pent-up energy in one, forceful blow.

This is a pretty hard one to think about. It's one thing to try to find that opening, but what must be done to put yourself in that constant state of readiness? Even if I were to get that, what about making sure I don't tense myself too much and jeopordize my overall form? A question and possible solutions were discussed on the Kendo World forums a little bit ago, but a clear-cut answer seems to be impossible to find when stated that way.

Kuzusu (崩す) - To destroy
The Kendo definition to Kuzusu can be determined as destroying your opponent's kamae by using various Kendo concepts like seme and kiai. One thing that I have had issues with is just blindly attacking people without really trying to create that opening. Most of the time, it just results in either nothing happening, getting tsukiid in the throat and maybe, maybe, just get that lucky hit that scores the point.

I have been trying my best to change that, mostly through suggestion by Ariga sensei. I need to think about what I am doing before I attack, but then I also need to make sure that I have something to attack instead of going into auto-pilot. I've been trying to project myself to make the other person react and get myself to act accordingly.

Suteru (捨てる) - To throw away
The definition given on Kendo Guide is to committ yourself to the strike. There is enough going through one's head when they are trying to set up a strike, but once you have flung yourself out there, then you must keep going. This is one that I have a hard time with though because I seem to always have some sort of outcome already planned for me. And when things don't go my way, I can pull back.

At the same time though, I don't want to literally throw myself away and put myself on auto-pilot. This sort of thing isn't fair to myself, nor is it really fair to my opponent because I know I can do better than that. I'll most likely have to change my thought processes during practice to probably get that though. There are times where I tend to go, "If I do X, then I will hit Y." But maybe I should try to see what is going on and basically go with the flow. How I should go about doing that is another question that might take a lifetime to answer.

Of course, these aren't the only things involved in making that successful strike. But from what I see here, these three things seem to go over some of the many things that I have issues with that tend to hold me back.


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