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  • feedback for exam video

    I don't think I've posted a video before. I have (most of) my second bout from my recent exam online at youtube. I start on the left.

    The feedback I got after the exam was that I needed to have lower zanshin rather than letting my shinai bounce up into jodan so quickly. And watching it again myself, the thing that leaps out at me is that I feel like I have "old man kendo" sometimes. My leaps and fumokomi look very short and non-dynamic.

    Anyway, thanks for any comment and criticism!

  • #2
    Hi. First off, well done for going for the exam in the first place. That's what's most important. Also, I'm not one to critique anyone's Kendo, but you asked for feedback.

    I guess from the tone of your post that you did not pass. As someone who passed Sandan not that long ago, I feel for ya. The pressure was certainly on and I felt it. Same as you.

    I think the only reason I passed is that I was able to demonstrate Seme. From what I've been told this is key to passing Sandan. That ability to put the Seme on and then apply a strong strike. I'm not saying you didn't do this, but maybe increase it further at your next attempt?

    Lastly, your own evaluation of your performance is correct I think. You did lift your arms into that high Jodan-esque kind of position. Once or twice is fine (particularly if you've moved quickly into tsuba-zeriai), but maybe because you did it repetitively that caught the judges eye in a negative way, and they thought "look at that guy, he keeps doing that thing".

    So, best not to give them anything to latch on to eh!

    On a positive note, your posture looked good and your kiai/spirit was certainly Sandan level.

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    • #3
      Nice video, and based on that one Keiko, I think that justifies a pass for Sandan - I am sure it would here in Japan...

      As for feedback, I don't think you raising your arms is such a big deal, and certainly shouldn't be a reason for you failing that Shinsa...

      In fact, if you did fail this, then I don't think it was anything 'technical' as it were, as your form is easily good enough for Sandan... What I would say though is, if you compare yourself to your opponent, she is constantly coming forward, and although she doesn't seem to get a decent hit on you, many of your attacks seem to be in response to her pressure, and not from forward pressure of your own - if that makes sense... For example, from To-Ma it was often your opponent that made more of an active effort to get into Uchi-Ma and seek out a chance to strike.

      Secondly, you cut off your Kiai immediately after failed strikes, so it shows that your attacks lacked Sutemi.

      Again, for Sandan, I still think that this video shows a pass - so I hope you did. But for your further improvement, and to work towards Yondan, then I would consider the above.

      Also, I don't think you have old man Kendo, not at all. but try to avoid doing Ayumi-ashi when going backwards after hitting Men (0:53 in the video) to avoid that slippery slope

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      • #4

        Hey JJcruiser, can I PM you?

        After passing my sandan exam a few weeks ago on my ninth attempt in a span of four years, I can tell you that at least in the part of the US I'm in, it wasn't a casual thing at all...
        Last edited by enkorat; 25th April 2014, 10:17 PM.

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        • #5
          Yes I passed. But I didn't want to prejudice the feedback at least initially.

          ​Yes of course, enkorat, PM me away, though I was having trouble making it work recently.

          Originally posted by D'Artagnan View Post
          What I would say though is, if you compare yourself to your opponent, she is constantly coming forward, and although she doesn't seem to get a decent hit on you, many of your attacks seem to be in response to her pressure, and not from forward pressure of your own - if that makes sense...
          ***
          Secondly, you cut off your Kiai immediately after failed strikes, so it shows that your attacks lacked Sutemi.
          ***
          Also, I don't think you have old man Kendo, not at all. but try to avoid doing Ayumi-ashi when going backwards after hitting Men (0:53 in the video) to avoid that slippery slope
          This all makes sense, thanks Andy.

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          • #6
            Hey hey, well there you go! You passed. So, all is well.

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            • #7
              Congratulations on passing! I thought it was OK for sandan, although I would have liked to see some more fluid movement from you. For the future, you need to get in the driver's seat. She dictated most of that match, and most of what you were doing was in reaction to her. For yondan, you will need to manage your opponent. Just something to consider for your development over the next few years.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                I thought it was OK for sandan, although I would have liked to see some more fluid movement from you. For the future, you need to get in the driver's seat.
                Thank you very much!

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                • #9
                  First congratulations on passing your sandan. Now it's time to tighten your himo and start preparing for yondan. To that end her are my observations:

                  The business about where your hands end up...from my point of view there's this danger that you're bouncing your shinai off the target rather than cutting and letting the shinai naturally rebound a bit because it's not actually a blade. I think you are dead on that your movement in the attack is not as strong as it could be. To work on that in basics be sure that you don't enter too deeply. Force yourself to attack from a distance that's a bit uncomfortable...until that distance become comfortable and really concentrate on getting a strong push/kick out of your left leg. One thing I noticed that may be part of the reason was that your back seemed quite arched rather than just straight. That puts your weight in a position from which it's really hard to get moving forward. This also contributes to the seme issues that others have mentioned.

                  It's really hard to see from the video but there are a couple of things that really contribute to seme physical and mental:
                  1. You have to have a great kamae. Your kamae has to be a bit scary, intimidating so the opponent doesn't want to break in for fear of what might happen.
                  2. You need, therefore to have no doubt that you control the center, and from that control are able to dictate what your opponent will do and when they can do it.
                  3. You have to have a strong, quiet confidence and grace.

                  Best wishes

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                  • #10
                    Thank you very much! I appreciate all the feedback.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by D'Artagnan View Post
                      Secondly, you cut off your Kiai immediately after failed strikes, so it shows that your attacks lacked Sutemi.
                      This. One hundred times this. You can't attack without full spirit in an exam: even if you miss you have to display the full intent to strike and win. That means you need to have kiai and zanshin no matter what, even if you think it's a botched men-uchi. In keiko we all sometimes hold back when we know we missed, can't do that come exam time.

                      The rest is all fine. You're a bit bouncy after the kote and I feel you should push through more after men-uchi (zanshin issues again) but you look like a perfectly fine san-dan to me.

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                      • #12
                        I'm only a year and some months into sandan myself but just to add to everyone's great advice (in a general sense rather than specific to the video), sutemi should be coupled with tame (buildup). Do not rush to strike but rather strike when there is opportunity and purpose. This means being ready to strike at anytime but only doing so when the time is right. It doesn't mean waiting but it does mean being connected to your aite so that you can sense when that time comes. That is I believe the necessary step towards the yondan requirement of controlling the opponent (still polishing tame myself).

                        I took my sandan within a renmei that was looking for tame and actually failed my first attempt for being slightly rushed. Some renmei do not necessarily look for it at sandan.

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                        • #13
                          Generally speaking, sandan is the last of the technical grades so we are mostly looking for technical stuff, ie quality of movement and waza. Seme, tame etc fall under what I class as mental things which we generally look for yondan and up. But for sandan compared to nidan we expect to see a better understanding of distance and opportunity. Rushing in that exam means you are not showing that you understand when you have a good chance.

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                          • #14
                            Congratulations on passing the exam.

                            What i did not like in this video:

                            You kept reacting to her seme not using your own (or maybe i have problem noticing your seme). You scored some men or kote-men but that is because you are faster than her.

                            You have blocked her attack attempts a few times and have not tried to perform oji waza.

                            You used only one kind of men attack - an average men. It could be nicer to use small, average and big mens, even just to confuse the opponent and change timing. And big men always look better on the exam.

                            I do not like your zanshin after kote. It is neither a tsubazerai position, nor a follow up and you leave yourself open for hiki-kote.

                            I think rising you hands a bit after a men cut is not so wrong as it looks you wanted to avoid accidentaly striking smaller opponent's head with your fists.

                            Overally your opponent was smaller and slower, in a shiai you would win but for the exam she was better i think.
                            Last edited by krys; 7th May 2014, 01:23 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks, Krys! Lots of good suggestions for me to work on.

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