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  • Reflecting on grading

    I just had my Ikkyu test and one comment I got was I wasn't going through. What I was "trying" to do was good straight Kendo. I would try to go through but I would tai atari him every time. In order to go though I would have to stop my momentum and go around him.

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Usually when beginners are continually running into tsubazeriai after the hit, they are slowing down after the shinai makes contact and not giving the aite any reason to move. This shows a lack of confidence in your attack. Speed up through your hit and carry on to the other side.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
      Usually when beginners are continually running into tsubazeriai after the hit, they are slowing down after the shinai makes contact and not giving the aite any reason to move. This shows a lack of confidence in your attack. Speed up through your hit and carry on to the other side.
      We weren't really going into tsubazeriai. Our dous were slamming against one another and we were bouncing off, backing out to toma. I don't remember ever going into tsubazeriai.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kapplow View Post
        We weren't really going into tsubazeriai. Our dous were slamming against one another and we were bouncing off, backing out to toma. I don't remember ever going into tsubazeriai.
        Part of what Neil is saying is that if you strike a proper men your arms will form a ^ at shoulder height. If you accelerate through the cut your opponent will get out of the way or receive your tsuba and kote in the mengane and be plowed out of the way.

        When I get stuck, it is because I either raise my hands over my head (stupidly cheering myself on) or stop accelerating ( taking a nap) after the strike.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mark View Post
          Part of what Neil is saying is that if you strike a proper men your arms will form a ^ at shoulder height. If you accelerate through the cut your opponent will get out of the way or receive your tsuba and kote in the mengane and be plowed out of the way.

          When I get stuck, it is because I either raise my hands over my head (stupidly cheering myself on) or stop accelerating ( taking a nap) after the strike.

          I was trying to do that but what happened instead was my elbow smashing into his mengane(men) or my kensen stabbing him under his men(kote). I guess my shinai was bouncing up?

          In normal jikeiko I can sometimes see the opening, strike and go though. But for the test both me and my aite weren't looking for openings. We we just closing in, aiuchi, then we would both try to go though and end up smashing into each other.

          Thank you both for helping me. I will try to accelerate more after the strike.

          In my last 2 gradings they would gather us together after the test and point out common mistakes. They didn't do that at the summer camp. I really need to try to fix this before the next grading.

          Comment


          • #6
            Million dollar Question

            Did you pass by the way? And if so then this is one of the things you should be working on till your next grading if you think you're ready.
            I concur with Neil, plus in a shinsa setting things can turn out fantastically beyond your normal Kendo.
            Alas it can also go to the deepest depths of your Kendo. It depends on your opponent if there is no communication then it will go badly.
            Apparently both of you weren't communicating and thus clashing into each other. It was something like " I wanna hit Men! No I wanna hit Men! Clash!" Like two deer joining their antlers. Nothing wrong at your present level. It should be getting better as you progress. Try to make it happen and go to practice as many times as you can.
            Last edited by Fonsz; 7th July 2007, 09:33 PM. Reason: Not clear

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Fonsz View Post
              Did you pass by the way? And if so then this is one of the things you should be working on till your next grading if you think you're ready.
              I concur with Neil, plus in a shinsa setting things can turn out fantastically beyond your normal Kendo.
              Alas it can also go to the deepest depths of your Kendo. It depends on your opponent if there is no communication then it will go badly.
              Apparently both of you weren't communicating and thus clashing into each other. It was something like " I wanna hit Men! No I wanna hit Men! Clash!" Like two deer joining their antlers. Nothing wrong at your present level. It should be getting better as you progress. Try to make it happen and go to practice as many times as you can.
              I passed but I really thought I failed. I knew that I wasn't going through at all.

              Can please elaborate on "communication" during shinsa?

              Also they made me fight 3 or 4 times instead of 2. Did they do that to match other peoples size?

              Comment


              • #8
                They might have made you do extra matches because they needed a body to match against others, or they might have been trying to make up their minds whether to pass you or not. Sometimes judges will have you re-do your shiai (or kata) to see something again.

                As for the going through... I had a similar problem when I took my shodan exam ( I passed thankfully). I knew we were getting 'stuck in the middle' too much and my aite didn't seem to realize that. In fact he kept trying to stop me as I made an attack. This is part of the communication others have mentioned. Both players need to realize that both sides need to go through for an attack. If you get stuck with someone that that continually is stopping you via tsubazeriai it makes both of you look bad. What I did to change this was to slightly change my attack so that if he stopped me upon attack I would hit and bounce out to the side at an angle to set up in chudan again. Although it's not a 'proper' follow through I think the judges realized that I was trying to get through with good zanshin and full commitment to my attack. To change things up I even threw a hiki dou after the aite basically held me at taiatari. (only time I have ever thrown a dou strike during a shinsa)

                The other thing is, hopefully your other shiai will show to the judges that it was not you that was not going through as your other opponent may be doing kendo differently (ie not going to tsubazeriai and banging dou).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kapplow View Post
                  I passed but I really thought I failed. . . .
                  That's a good thing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MikeW View Post
                    They might have made you do extra matches because they needed a body to match against others, or they might have been trying to make up their minds whether to pass you or not.
                    Thats another reason why I thought I failed.

                    Originally posted by MikeW View Post
                    What I did to change this was to slightly change my attack so that if he stopped me upon attack I would hit and bounce out to the side at an angle to set up in chudan again. Although it's not a 'proper' follow through I think the judges realized that I was trying to get through with good zanshin and full commitment to my attack.
                    You descibed what I was doing better than me.

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                    • #11
                      I guessed you probably raised your arm too fast after hitting Men (was from you said your elbow hitting his mengane). If you keep you arm straigth after the hit like what been said above, I think you can go through.

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                      • #12
                        Omedeto Gozaimasu

                        Originally posted by Kapplow View Post

                        Can please elaborate on "communication" during shinsa?
                        This is in words what I would call communication during a Ji Geiko, Shiai, or in your case Shinsa.
                        Hello- Kiai!!
                        How are you? - Closing in and Kiai!
                        Do you mind if I..- Kiai!
                        I really insist... Kiai and closing in looking for a reaction, like step back, or dropping the shinai tip, something.
                        I really must insist to.... Move in physically or with Ki (Seme)
                        Your opponent goes whaaa?
                        Men!!!

                        If both of you are not closing in or just standing there and doing Machi (Sp?) kendo, passive waiting Kendo and then out of the blue something happens (Men) the other one does so as well.
                        The result of this scenario has been described very well by you and others.
                        So a bit of communication and respect for the other (let him "say" something as well) will not only help you at a shinsa but also at every Ji Geiko that you do. Not in a Shiai of course. but then he also wants to win so there is at least some sort of aggresive conversation.

                        I applause the wisdom of the panel to let you have some other Ji Geiko. This is not something that you see very often. This shows the right spirit for a grading. They are there to look for reasons to pass you. Not to only look for hints to fail you.

                        Congratulations and I suppose that half a year from now you'll be telling us how you did at your Shodan grading.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Practicing this week me and keegs were lucky to have a near one-to-one with our sensei in preparation for grading. He went over exactly the same issue you have struggled with. His solution, though very different to what I previously thought, was that if your opponent is static and no amount of straight cutting is going to shift him then you must veer out of the way at the last minute though aim to keep your arms straight.

                          This is probably similar to what MikeW is doing. The important thing is your intent is to go through and judges will see that. Constantly being stopped in grading doesn't look good for either of you so it's clearly beneficial to be the one to compromise, just a little bit.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dwez View Post
                            you must veer out of the way at the last minute though aim to keep your arms straight.
                            Originally posted by dwez View Post
                            it's clearly beneficial to be the one to compromise, just a little bit.
                            Wow I'm getting a lot of good info. Thanks guys. That was my problem. I didn't want to compromise. I was thinking, "Why should I veer aside?" "I'm goin though him! Right down the middle!"

                            So I guess I need to work on finding that happy medium...

                            And my shinsa "communication" skills.

                            It probably doesn't help that I only get to keiko with sensei and sempai about 6 times a year.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              running into the other person

                              Originally posted by Kapplow View Post
                              Wow I'm getting a lot of good info. Thanks guys. That was my problem. I didn't want to compromise. I was thinking, "Why should I veer aside?" "I'm goin though him! Right down the middle!"

                              So I guess I need to work on finding that happy medium...

                              And my shinsa "communication" skills.

                              It probably doesn't help that I only get to keiko with sensei and sempai about 6 times a year.
                              As someone who does these gradings it is very frustrating to me to watch my students in practice and/or the candidates in the grading run into each other.

                              As a beginner we teach to go straight ahead not because we truly mean it literally, but because you need to have a straight attack. Normally the beginniers do this circular attack trying to come in from your side becaues the figure out almost immediately the center is not open. Once established unless you are specifically doing tai atari the there is no reason to run into the other person.
                              Hit them straight on and then redirect your feet so that you just graze their shoulder as you pass buy,. Pull your shinai back up after you have cut down to their adams apple and assume the same position as receiving kirikaeshi so you can make a second or third strike. Start your turn as soon as the opponent starts to be lost in your peripheral vision. NEVER lose sight of the opponent! But why the hell do you want to run into them??? If you are not going to knock them over then don't waste your energy running into the opponent but rather generate even more energy through your footwork and kiai as you blow by them and leave them wondering where you went. That really empresses me as to your readiness for the next rank and if you have fatal flaws or not.
                              Someone who does these gradings as a judge 3-5 times a year.

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