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First lesson in bogu

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  • #31
    You probably are getting a little bruised around the wrist, but if your kote are new, your arm could be blue from the indigo dye rubbing onto your sweaty skin. Also, brand new bogu is kinda stiff in general, it needs use to break in more and soften up a little.

    You've got some experience with other pretty physical martial arts, you'll probably 'toughen-up' where you need it and be good to go. Listen to your body and use the appropriate protection when needed.

    Originally posted by Little_Fox View Post
    I also find even if people open for me, my reaction to it is very slow or sometimes I'm so pent up I don't even notice the opening.
    That's exactly how the training goes at this stage. You just stated exactly what you should be working on during jigeiko with your seniors. Notice the subtle openings (they'll become much more subtle as you progress) and train yourself to react quickly and correctly to them with good balance, posture, and body coordination. Try to be ready for these openings as much as possible, try to eliminate the hesitation to strike at these while being careful to maintain good form and strong kiai.
    This kind of training is exhausting, it will test your mental will and physical conditioning. Have fun!

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    • #32
      Ahh, I forgot to mention commitment. When I'm working with beginners in bogu, I try to get them to attack with full commitment, follow through, and spirit. I see so many beginners that make these 'half-hearted' attacks. They'll reach out with their arms to strike me, but immediately recoil them in anticipation of a block and counter from me, or anticipation that I will just attack them faster. Their entire body, footwork, and mental attitude reflect this fear of being struck. Just press forward and follow through when you attack just like you do while practicing your kihon (basics) before you guys go into your jigeiko/sparring. This will grow into good quality kendo.

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      • #33
        I do try and put my all into strikes; one of the few things I have no problem with is a good kiai and going through, as having done karate I know the importance of it. But I get disheartened as my strikes rarely hit, then I feel a bit of a tool for shouting and going through and finishing a poor cut...

        I'm now confused about protectors...my arm is blue from bruises, definitely not dye haha. Very sore. I'll treat them with arnica then see how it goes. If i can't manage, I'll invest in a protector.

        Thanks for all the encouragement by the way, means a lot for a newbie to hear that from experienced kendoka!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Little_Fox View Post
          I do try and put my all into strikes; one of the few things I have no problem with is a good kiai and going through, as having done karate I know the importance of it. But I get disheartened as my strikes rarely hit, then I feel a bit of a tool for shouting and going through and finishing a poor cut...

          I'm now confused about protectors...my arm is blue from bruises, definitely not dye haha. Very sore. I'll treat them with arnica then see how it goes. If i can't manage, I'll invest in a protector.

          Thanks for all the encouragement by the way, means a lot for a newbie to hear that from experienced kendoka!
          My first few sessions I was a mess of a red/blue/yellow/green bruises in my wrist. The more and more I practice the less it bruises, BUT I did have one big suggestion that helped a bunch. When recieveing kote strikes point your thumb further down like you are doing tenuchi with your right hand and keep the center. Causes the gap in padding to close up. Keeping center causes them hit the tsuba/fist of the glove instead of your wrist when they are "axing".

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Little_Fox View Post
            I do try and put my all into strikes; one of the few things I have no problem with is a good kiai and going through, as having done karate I know the importance of it. But I get disheartened as my strikes rarely hit, then I feel a bit of a tool for shouting and going through and finishing a poor cut...
            A strike that has just missed, but has been sold with a strong kiai and good zanshin has been known to result in ippon. Don't worry about being hit all the time or not being able to hit a single time. We all grow out of it. I can probably strike a fresh-kendoka-in-bogu-for-the-first-time at will, but then our sensei does that to me too.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Little_Fox View Post
              Should I keep at it or does it sound like I am just not meant to do Kendo?
              KEEP AT IT!!

              You started in bogu right around the same time (it was about six months for me) that I did. I had the same impulse at first but it is worthwhile. Bogu is going to slow you down for awhile. It is going to exhaust you more easily and it is going to make learning technique into a totally different process than what you have been going through for the last few months. It still does it to me since I have only been at Kendo for a year or so. But it is worth it. It is so worth it. Every day you realize you have made even a small improvement will prove it.

              Keep at it!

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              • #37
                There definitely are situations in which pads would help, but I just hate the idea of relying on them. Yes, we do start later than Japanese or Korean people, typically, but at the same time, wearing pads doesn't really help fix the problem. People getting hit will rely on them, and people hitting may not realize they must correct their tenouchi.

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                • #38
                  I understand the OP's lament is over an unexpectedly poor bogu debut. It's not the bruising of wrist so much as a bruising of ego that is the issue. I think most, if not all of us have experienced the "God, I really suck at this" period, especially after first practicing in full kit. I recall I went through several years of such angst, so 5-1/2 months is way too soon to arrive at a conclusive assessment. You are at the point where your commitment to kendo is really being tested now. You will always have a long way to go. Nature of the beast.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Little_Fox View Post
                    I also find even if people open for me, my reaction to it is very slow or sometimes I'm so pent up I don't even notice the opening.

                    As DigitalDowntown has already pointed out, that how training goes at this stage, even if you are slow, the training is meant to get you used to doing a cut, running through and performing zenshin and turning around ready to cut again, repeated practice like this trains you on what you have to do. If you are never allowed to hit, then you can't train these aspects.

                    Also being honest, you not the only one who finds that your reactions are slower when someone opens up for you, but it's good practice still. I been doing Kendo for 10 months now and I still find that if my senpais open up for me, am too slow in cutting when before if they don't open up for me and I attack on my own initiative, I cut faster when I see or feel there is an opening.

                    Every so often, we do this practice where one of us or our Sensei stands out and soon as he bangs his shinai on the floor, one of us will attack as soon as we hear that sound! It's like musical chairs.

                    Don't give up Kendo yet, keep at it and even if you get bruises and pains, that's all part of the experience and joy of being an Kendoka! Wear them like medals! Right now, am currently sporting a few nice and large bruises on both my forearms from Kote cuts!
                    Last edited by IronWarrior; 28th July 2011, 06:46 PM.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by yoda-waza View Post
                      I understand the OP's lament is over an unexpectedly poor bogu debut. It's not the bruising of wrist so much as a bruising of ego that is the issue.
                      Yeah, the bruises to my ego are the main issue here. I'm used to physical bruises from doing other martial arts haha. ^^; I guess I just have to stick at it and hope my reaction time improves!

                      Thanks again everyone!

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                      • #41
                        Had my first in-bogu practice this week. I agree with what everyone else is saying. I'm re-learning kendo. I have to find my equillibrium all over again, and even with a pad, hits to the kote HURT.LIKE.HELL. I'm using club bogu, and I have no idea how old it is...I have very bony wrists, too, so that doesn't help! I'm pretty sure the wrist pad makes no difference for me, haha.

                        I even took a few hits to the men that hurt just a tiny bit.

                        But yeah...very tiring...very clumsy, and I felt like my do strikes were in slow motion, and way off center...you really take your peripheral vision for granted out of bogu...Boy, did I feel a sense of elation when I took of men after practice and felt the cool air hit my head....

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