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Positive kendo pt 4

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  • Positive kendo pt 4


    I hope this is all making sense, if not, my sincere apologies, this is all just my opinion based on what I was taught…so in conclusion, you need to ask yourself this one question; “How would you describe the quality of your kendo?” Going to the dojo as much as you can is a good thing, but has the quality of your practice evolved? If so, what is your process?

    Are you still trying to mimic movements? (Shu stage) Are you still going through the motions without any real thoughts about suburi or kiri kaeshi? The body needs to move from the core in order for your body mechanics to move in a balanced natural way, you must learn to engage the hips and shoulders moving forward and shoulder and hips moving backwards. This applies to every body type, size doesn’t matter. If you want a better understanding for kendo, you need to study this; this is an important step for higher level kendo. Practice moving the body without the shinai will help you to understand this.

    It’s always good to set goals, but I feel the problem today especially with the younger generation is they don’t focus on the process of reaching the goals they set. In today’s society, people want fast results and when they don’t see improvements they get frustrated. Kendo is like any sport or martial art, there’s always room for improvement…goals are just benchmarks to better things; your perceptions of goals on what’s really important changes every time. With the guidance from my sensei, my focus on the basics in keiko evolved hence my understanding the process for kendo evolved. That’s how you improve in kendo by focusing on the process. Bad habits in kendo are just misunderstandings that you can’t improve upon with speed or feinting movements, your kendo becomes predictably one-dimensional.

    The only way to fix this is your understanding for the basics must evolve; your keiko must evolve from just mimicking movements with the hands, arms and feet and swinging the shinai as fast as possible. In kendo, speed to me is just an illusion, for example, the great Willie Mays said this to Barry Bonds “if you can catch a 100 mph fast fastball, you should be able to hit a 100 mph fastball”. In other words, during tame, if your kamae/body is correctly in position to strike it doesn’t matter how fast the aite is, recognizing intent/signs and timing a strike always trumps speed.

    When it comes to control, whether it be situations, maai or the aite, you physically and mentally need to be in control of your own actions first, this includes adapting to the aite’s actions. All things being equal, it’s always a mental issue whenever you lose control, for me, it’s why I lose a match. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, you got to give credit to the other guy; he just beat me…at higher levels, it’s how you learn to improve in kendo by getting beat.

    So improvement for me is my fundamental basics needs to be better, starting with my kamae. Whenever I lost a match was because of my kamae, I wasn’t ready, for me, I can’t remember ever losing a match on a hiki men, hiki waza is easy to defend against and the hardest way to score…and yet hiki waza seems to be popular way to score today. Personally, hiki waza is way down the list of waza to execute.

    PS. To the guy asking about switching to nito kamae…I agree with Dillon…the better you understand chudan, the smoother transition you’ll have switching to jodan or nito kamae. Good luck to you either way.

    My 2 cents.