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Keeping the Center on Beginners?

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  • Keeping the Center on Beginners?

    Hi everyone, I've been reading the forums for a while but this is my first time posting.

    My question or topic for discussion rather, is whether or not to keep the center line when facing a beginner. What do you guys think about holding your kamae and letting your opponent run into your kensen?
    I often practice with a lot of beginners and they all have very big men strikes (which is good for them), but I normally try to avoid holding my kamae and letting them skewer themselves on my shinai. I usually try and practice some sort of waza or something. But I know that the concept of keeping the center line is very important in kendo.

    When I was a beginner, doing my big men strikes, a sensei just held his kamae and I ran right into his shinai with my throat. He told me that I couldn't come in without the center. So listened and keep that in mind whenever I practice kendo. But because of that, as a beginner, I was afraid of coming in and doing big mens so my men strikes became small and weak. I actually had to practice and re-learn a strong seme and no fear when coming in to have a good men strike.

    Here's the dilemma: When practicing with beginners, how do I show the importance of keeping the center and of a good men strike without sticking them in the throat/chest and making them afraid to come in? I've tried telling them to first, take a step in and apply seme, then go for a men strike when the opponent opens up, or to try harai. But then their kamae gets all crooked and it's too obvious when they are going to try a harai waza.

    Perhaps it's just a matter of time when to introduce new concepts to them but of course I'm only san-kyu so I can only teach by example and have many things I need to improve myself. What do you guys think?

  • #2
    R.Yau
    welcome to the forum!

    Here's the dilemma: When practicing with beginners, how do I show the importance of keeping the center and of a good men strike without sticking them in the throat/chest and making them afraid to come in? I've tried telling them to first, take a step in and apply seme, then go for a men strike when the opponent opens up, or to try harai. But then their kamae gets all crooked and it's too obvious when they are going to try a harai waza.
    Good point.
    There are couple of topics about being motodachi. You might want to read them as well. ('kakari-geiko under training and another under concepts)

    Without proper technique, tome-tuki can be very dangerous, especially if you are 3-kyu. As you probably experienced before, tuki can cause big fear, and is very difficult waza.... thats why many dojo do not teach or allow to use tuki untill you are in dan-rank.

    My suggestions are :
    If you are going to let beginners strike, keep you center untill he is about to cut your men, then move your kensen to your right 5-10 inches. so that he wont skewer himself. (in actual situation, if you move your shinai 1 inch...maybe less, opponent can hit clean men)
    Or, keep center and a moment beginner is about to swing, practice on your debana-men or debana-kote.
    Of course as you advance, you can practice ouji-waza or uchi-otoshi waza against beginners too.

    I believe there is no need for beginners to learn harai-waza. (may form bad habbits)


    My sensei told me that when you practice with kohai, practice with opponent's level times 1.5 (so if beginner is 3 kyu practice like 2.5kyu. if shodan, practice like 1.5 dan)


    just my 2 cents,

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    • #3
      why not tell them. after telling them, show/demonstrate it to them so that they'll get the real picture. my sensei told me to practice my wrist instead of my whole arm going down when i'm striking men.

      ~taganahan

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by R.Yau
        Hi everyone, I've been reading the forums for a while but this is my first time posting... What do you guys think?
        I haven't been skewered with a tsuki. The motodachi allows me to go in just to get the technique correct. I will sometimes be stopped if I don't have center, or am performing it wrong, or my kamae is wrong, etc... and then told to do the drill again.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've been skewered with tsuki before, but many sempai will simply check my mune with their kensen to show me when i haven't gained center. (I think the original question was about ji-geiko, not drills where the motodachi will always give way in the end).

          It would seem to be a question of balance: seeing ji-geiko as a time for mutally practicing strikes and waza, and allowing them, but also getting a better feel for ma-ai, suki, and center.

          Once during ji-geiko a beginner went kakari-geiko on me with no regard for center or clean strikes and wouldn't stop. i told him to slow down and try to get the cuts right rather than just go crazy (especially on my ribs and elbow). But he wouldn't listen. So i just held kamae once, and predictably he ran right into it, and slowed down a little after that.

          But yeah, generally, it seems to be a good opportunity to practice your debana and other waza, rather than scare the hell out of your kohai.

          However, our sensei has been having us (including kyu-grades) do a lot of tsuki drills recently. I would think that you'll never learn how to do or receive it properly and get over the fear of it if you never practice it. (Although we often have to explain our new hickies to non-kendoka the next day - "That's just Shinai, my new girlfriend.")

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by R.Yau
            Here's the dilemma: When practicing with beginners, how do I show the importance of keeping the center and of a good men strike without sticking them in the throat/chest and making them afraid to come in? I've tried telling them to first, take a step in and apply seme, then go for a men strike when the opponent opens up, or to try harai. But then their kamae gets all crooked and it's too obvious when they are going to try a harai waza.
            as a san-kyu, you should not be doing tsuki to someone who is even more junior to yourself to merely prevent what you think is a bad men strike. this is a matter of safety AND etiquette. it is one thing for your sensei or a high-ranking sempai to do this to you, but quite rude for someone junior to do it to anyone close to them in rank. in fact, even my yondan sempai will very rarely if ever do this to ANYONE.

            if you want to emphasize the importance of keeping the center, instead of thrusting tsuki, you should yourself be attempting debana timing, or better yet, just a straightforward ai-men.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by not-I
              (Although we often have to explain our new hickies to non-kendoka the next day - "That's just Shinai, my new girlfriend.")
              hahahahaha. .. ... I have nothing to add.

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