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  • Kakari-keiko

    How do you approach kakari-geiko?

    How does it help you improve your kendo?

    Depending on your level of understanding kendo, what do you think is the purpose for kakari-geiko?

    How does suburi, kiri-kaeshi and waza keiko influence the way you perform during kakari-geiko?

    There’s no right or wrong answer for this so anyone at any level can respond.


  • #2
    In summer camps, the hardest part of keiko for me by far was doing kakari-keiko…I hated it. Our summer camps were 3 practices a day for a week and towards the end of the week the majority of the last 2 practices was kakari-keiko. It was an ass-kicking experience to say the least.

    Going through this experience as a kid, you don’t understand that keiko teaches you to be in the right state of mind. The most comforting thing for me during those times is that I suffered through keiko with my friends. The best friends I ever made were through kendo.

    With that said…based on my own experiences, this is what I’ve come to understand why kakari-keiko is so important for ones development in kendo. To gain any benefit from kakari-keiko depends on how and what you do under the guidance of your sensei. As you gain more experience in kendo, your purpose for kakari-keiko evolves and it never really stops. There are many variations to kakari-keiko, and even though it evolves as you gain more experience as a kenshi, the purpose for kakari-keiko is to polish your kendo to a shine. I think of keiko like going thru an automatic car wash…suburi, kirikaeshi, waza keiko and finally kakri keiko. If you read my posts from last year, you may have some idea what my focus is when I keiko, it’s mostly body mechanics. Tai sabaki.

    The mental aspect of kendo grows the better you mechanically become. The mind and body becomes one. For me, this means every physical thing we learn in kendo in the beginning becomes internalized; not just waza, but also elements for seme, maai, tame and zanshin. It’s like learning to make homemade chicken soup, first you need a big pot (physical) then you make the broth and add the other required ingredients you need to make a great tasting chicken soup. Sidenote… I don’t know how to cook, but the wife does.

    On the other hand…if you just go through the motions in keiko, you’re just making Campbell’s instant chicken soup. You know there are pieces of chicken and vegetables in it but you don’t know how to make the broth. The only thing you know is you need a cup to pour the soup from the can and you put the cup into the microwave for a couple minutes and presto! There is a lot more involved in basic fundamentals than just Campbell’s chicken soup. There’s a lot more to kendo than just swinging the shinai from the hands and feet as fast as humanly possible. This thought process is purely physical that can’t be fully internalized because the physical movements are unnatural; it limits your technical abilities executing waza, which mentally clouds the mind.

    You need to know how to make chicken soup from scratch, chicken soup that becomes uniquely your own.

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    • #3
      Thought I’d ramble some more about kakri-keiko….as I said there’s a big difference between mimicking executions and executing strikes with natural movement. As you gain experience in kendo, your executions for men, kote and doh should be improving and yet even after years of practicing, some people never get the hang of executing specific waza, namely doh. Migi and nuki doh really isn’t that difficult to execute because if you have the confidence to execute men or kote, you can learn to execute migi and nuki doh.

      The more you practice it in waza keiko and refine your movements in kakari-keiko, you’re going to gain the confidence and understanding how to use it in ji-geiko. That’s how it works right? Executing waza is all about feel…externally and internally, in other words, executing waza shouldn’t be too complicated to execute, it should be simplified through repetitive keiko. It’s only complicated because you don’t understand how your body should be moving, you need to simplify your mechanics. (Read my posts on moving without the shinai)

      What do I mean by simplify? In order to execute various waza, your body mechanics needs to be moving consistently as a whole; it needs to be moving in unison. (Ki Ken Tai Ichi) There are variables when executing certain waza such as hand/wrists movements and feet movements but what ties these movements together is the tanden. When you strike from the tanden, then executing various waza becomes universal.

      If your body mechanics are inconsistent, then executing waza becomes complicated. For example, if you read the current article at kenshi 24/7, Yano sensei said you don’t seme and then execute, seme is part of the execution. It’s not

      1: seme to create an opportunity and then

      2: execute a strike.

      This is what nuki doh is, it’s about how you execute the technique. I said this before in another post, men nuki doh is just nuki doh, it only becomes *men nuki doh*if the aite decides to come for your men because he felt the pressure to attack. Kaeshi doh is no different; the parry in kaeshi doh is really incidental, you don’ wait to parry the aites shinai first and then strike…that’s considered a *one two motion,*you’re already too late to execute because you lose too much distance. Migi/nuki and kaeshi doh is just one continuous physical motion, just like it is for men and kote. Seme is not categorized as a separate element like we’re first taught, neither is maai, tame and zanshin, all 4 are internalized in your kamae as one element when you execute a strike.

      In my opinion…by refining your body mechanics in kakari-keiko, (tanden striking) is the way to internalize the 4 elements. Once these elements become internal, then you have a better understanding for sen, that is you see the connection between sen and waza. That’s why speed is not that important, it’s all about your ability to time a strike. But your kamae needs to be correct, if your kamae isn’t correct, then executing waza becomes complicated.

      My 2 cents.

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