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  • Training~

    Hihi~ I started kumdo/kendo this summer and I have a couple of questions...

    first off, I happen to be a lot shorter than most of my friends (5'4) so I can never hit the head (men in Jpn right?) and my waist strikes are always slower than the head strikes. What can be a good move to try and make a hit? I got speed and stamina but I'm the only teenaged girl in my dojo so all the guys are like a head taller than me.

    Also, what are some strikes I can pretend to hit (for example, it looks like I'll go for the kote but instead I go to the men instead)< that kind of stuff
    my sensei was teaching some to the class in Korea but I was far to inexperienced to try (since I had just started to learn kote at that point) but I think I'm ready now and I'm running out of ideas T^T everyone can sense what I do now

    Also, how do you stop blinking when people hit you? That annoys me soooo much because I want to deflect and strike something while they're at it but whether it's doh or kote or men, I always blink!!

    Last thing, how do you block kote or doh? I remember someone telling me men is faster than doh so I should try to hit men but by the time my brain realizes, I've already been struck

    thank you

  • #2
    5'4 + 38 (Shinai length) = 8'6 you should be able to reach Men OK unless you have Yao Ming (7'6) in your Dojang.

    Have patience, practice and learn. If you have just started your Sensei is probably teaching you how to strike Men correctly.
    Forget about blocking, keep you shinai centered and your feet and body ready to strike.
    Learn first how to use that fraction of time when your opponent DOES NOT have their shinai in center to strike Men or Kote.

    That will take a while, other stuff follows.

    There is no block in Kendo, there will be (in time) a deflect of their strike either before, or AS YOU strike, but first you have to be able to strike correctly.

    Good luck and enjoy your Kendo journey

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by fastheart&sword View Post
      Hihi~ I started kumdo/kendo this summer and I have a couple of questions...

      first off, I happen to be a lot shorter than most of my friends (5'4) so I can never hit the head (men in Jpn right?) and my waist strikes are always slower than the head strikes. What can be a good move to try and make a hit? I got speed and stamina but I'm the only teenaged girl in my dojo so all the guys are like a head taller than me.
      You are a begginer. Do not worry about things like that. Put your efforts into learning proper men, kote and do cuts and other simple things.

      Also, what are some strikes I can pretend to hit (for example, it looks like I'll go for the kote but intead I go to the men instead)< that kind of stuff
      my sensei was teaching some to the class in Korea but I was far to inexperienced to try (since I had just started to learn kote at that point) but I think I'm ready now and I'm running out of ideas T^T everyone can sense what I do now
      Same as above.

      Also, how do you stop blinking when people hit you? That annoys me soooo much because I want to deflect and strike something while they're at it but whether it's doh or kote or men, I always blink!!
      Why do you blink? Do not blink.

      Last thing, how do you block kote or doh? I remember someone telling me men is faster than doh so I should try to hit men but by the time my brain realizes, I've already been struck
      Same as the two above.

      Comment


      • #4
        So you have the speed and stamina but can't hit a men? So if it's not speed of stamina perhaps you lack timing and technique? All joking aside you're probably still lacking in the speed department. As are most of us.
        I'm 5'6/5'7, most of my fellow kendoka are about 6'1 but we also have a couple of people who are 6'7, I can still hit men.

        My advice, and that's just me giving you the same advice I was given. Practice men, practice it some more and when you've practiced hitting men a lot, practice even more men.

        Comment


        • #5
          So you have the speed and stamina but can't hit a men? So if it's not speed of stamina perhaps you lack timing and technique? All joking aside you're probably still lacking in the speed department. As are most of us.
          I'm 5'6/5'7, most of my fellow kendoka are about 6'1 but we also have a couple of people who are 6'7, I can still hit men. It takes the right technique.

          My advice, and that's just me giving you the same advice I was given. Practice men, practice it some more and when you feel like you've practiced hitting men far to much, practice some more.

          Try not to resort or to rely to much on feints and tricks etc, concentrate on doing correct/proper Kendo. You'll progress a lot faster and will be hitting men in no time. Just my 2 cents though.

          Comment


          • #6
            Basically to reiterate what others have said, you are still pretty much a beginner and really can't expect too much in terms of shiai superiority. Practice your strikes and even if you get hit follow through with your strike. Part of kendo is to throw yourself into your strike body and soul without concern over getting hit (sutemi). You can pretty much expect to get hit a lot when you are beginning and by beginning I mean at least the first several years. Its too early for you to try to do much advanced waza and I would personally advise to stick mostly with shikake waza in general to begin. Oji waza is usually more complicated and you need to have solid basics before getting too complicated. It sounds like you enjoy kendo a lot so as others said try to be patient and not worry about getting hit as you are learning. Its going to happen... it has happened to pretty much all of us but if you stick with it you'll get better and better and soon enough you'll be practicing with some of the junior members and they will be saying the same things you are right now.

            Comment


            • #7
              Like others have said, you're asking questions about stuff that you're really not ready for yet but I think they're worth answering.
              Originally posted by fastheart&sword View Post
              Also, what are some strikes I can pretend to hit (for example, it looks like I'll go for the kote but instead I go to the men instead)< that kind of stuff
              my sensei was teaching some to the class in Korea but I was far to inexperienced to try (since I had just started to learn kote at that point) but I think I'm ready now and I'm running out of ideas T^T everyone can sense what I do now
              This is mainly due to a lack of experience and practice on your part. Beginners tend to make motions that are bigger and more obvious than experienced kenshi so it's easy to see what they're trying to do. The fix is just more practice.

              Last thing, how do you block kote or doh? I remember someone telling me men is faster than doh so I should try to hit men but by the time my brain realizes, I've already been struck
              I don't block doh, I just move in fast after my strike so that I'm too close for them to make a good doh strike.
              Here's one way to block kote: Miyazaki doing kote kaeshi kote
              See how Miyazaki sets up the kote by first exposing his own kote to the opponent? The opponent knew he was being baited but eventually the target just became too tempting and he went for it. Miyazaki was able to do kaeshi kote because he was ready and because he got the opponent to do exactly what he wanted.

              This isn't something you will be able to do right away but learning how to watch videos of others will give you more ideas than you could ever use. Then you'll have something concrete to practice.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by fastheart&sword View Post
                Hihi~ I started kumdo/kendo this summer and I have a couple of questions...

                first off, I happen to be a lot shorter than most of my friends (5'4) so I can never hit the head (men in Jpn right?) and my waist strikes are always slower than the head strikes. What can be a good move to try and make a hit? I got speed and stamina but I'm the only teenaged girl in my dojo so all the guys are like a head taller than me.

                Also, what are some strikes I can pretend to hit (for example, it looks like I'll go for the kote but instead I go to the men instead)< that kind of stuff
                my sensei was teaching some to the class in Korea but I was far to inexperienced to try (since I had just started to learn kote at that point) but I think I'm ready now and I'm running out of ideas T^T everyone can sense what I do now

                Also, how do you stop blinking when people hit you? That annoys me soooo much because I want to deflect and strike something while they're at it but whether it's doh or kote or men, I always blink!!

                Last thing, how do you block kote or doh? I remember someone telling me men is faster than doh so I should try to hit men but by the time my brain realizes, I've already been struck

                thank you
                (1) Shorter people do tend to have trouble hitting men on taller opponents. My wife had the same issue. Assuming you learn to hit men correctly first against a men at your height from basic suburi and such, you'll note that when a shorter person hits a taller person's men, their wrist need to bend a little bit more and their hands come to a stop higher up compared to hitting a men of equal height.

                (2) You want a "move" to get a men hit. Simple. Take a deep breath, kiai, and with confidence just move in and attack men with all of your focus regardless if you get counter hit or not. Can't muster the confidence to do this? As you move in use your tip to slightly move your opponent's tip to the left and hit men immediately with all of your focus. HAVE CONFIDENCE!

                (3)When people sense that you are confident about going for men, other targets will open naturally. Before you worry about fakes, you need to first prove to your opponent that you are not afraid of attacking their men, and if you do attack their men that you do so with confidence and all of your focus and don't care if they hit you back. This takes time and can be frustrating, but it is the core of basic kendo attacks.

                (4) Blinking is a natural reaction and there isn't anybody who doesn't do it. It happens when we are afraid or surprised or we detect something that we interpret as potentially harmful to our eyes. You blink because your brain is not accustomed to being hit and deep down it is still a bit afraid or surprised by the attack of your opponent. Don't try to not blink, that'll just distract you more. Instead just keep focused on what you need to do and focus on your opponent. Once you honestly start not caring about being hit, you'll stop blinking so much.

                If you are blinking because the person hitting you hits hard and is *hurting* you, that is a different story. After practice just tell them that they are hurting you.

                (5) Ignore blocking. If you have time to block, you have time to attack as well. Stay focused on your opponent and anytime you get the feeling you should block, instead look and see what target is open during your opponent's attack. The next time they try that attack, hit them! Blocking just to stop yourself from being hit is no different than running away and hiding. Have confidence and at this stage always try to hit instead. If you can't hit first, try to hit them at the same time. If they hit you first, so what? Eah time you try hitting them first or at the same time, you will get a little bit better. Soon you *will* land some hits. Blocking does nothing to make you better...it only delays them hitting you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Waaah~ thank you for the replies everyone :3

                  to Makuka-san...:

                  Ohhh~ I see thank you... lol my head hurts when I stare at the guys because most of them are over 6 feet (they're giants =.=) and I seem to be able to block/deflect men, deflect kote, but I can never do something against doh!
                  And yes, I am enjoying my kendo journey veeery much right now

                  Krys-san:
                  I guess so... but I came back from a competition the other day and I was wondering a bunch of stuff (in Korea, not many female middle-school girls play, so my sabum asked if I wanted to play and of course I said yes ) so meh :/
                  Also, I don't blink because I don't want too =.= it's kind of like softball... it's just a natural reaction, I mean, if a softball was going towards your face all of a sudden, I think NOT blinking would be more abnormal, lol. So I was wondering how the heck other don't blink

                  ArcticBlizzard-san:
                  Hmm... my feet movement is, I guess (according to some of the senior members) quick, but they didn't say anything about my shinai (of course the seniors would have the sword faster!) and yes, I practice men every day! I practice it more than kote or doh, I warm up with men strikes and I finish with a men strike on a tire dummy~ And again, this is all because I had a bunch of questions after compt ended but I never got a chance to ask because we were celebrating the men's finals victory (woot)

                  MikeW-san:
                  Yes, yes, of course! and even my sabum said I concentrate too much about getting hit-- but I still looove kendo (no doubt bout that =.=)

                  turboyoshi-san:
                  Ooooh! I see! No wonder~ the man I admire most in the world (he's 6th Dan and he comes out during the morning practices) always have a reeeally fast men strike im envious >3< but I know kendo is different from most sports and I just need more time and more experience~
                  Ah~ Miyazaki-san My sensei went against him in the 1991 8thWKC 'Kendo God' no?

                  thank you everyone :3

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Steve View Post
                    (1) Shorter people do tend to have trouble hitting men on taller opponents. My wife had the same issue. Assuming you learn to hit men correctly first against a men at your height from basic suburi and such, you'll note that when a shorter person hits a taller person's men, their wrist need to bend a little bit more and their hands come to a stop higher up compared to hitting a men of equal height.

                    (2) You want a "move" to get a men hit. Simple. Take a deep breath, kiai, and with confidence just move in and attack men with all of your focus regardless if you get counter hit or not. Can't muster the confidence to do this? As you move in use your tip to slightly move your opponent's tip to the left and hit men immediately with all of your focus. HAVE CONFIDENCE!

                    (3)When people sense that you are confident about going for men, other targets will open naturally. Before you worry about fakes, you need to first prove to your opponent that you are not afraid of attacking their men, and if you do attack their men that you do so with confidence and all of your focus and don't care if they hit you back. This takes time and can be frustrating, but it is the core of basic kendo attacks.

                    (4) Blinking is a natural reaction and there isn't anybody who doesn't do it. It happens when we are afraid or surprised or we detect something that we interpret as potentially harmful to our eyes. You blink because your brain is not accustomed to being hit and deep down it is still a bit afraid or surprised by the attack of your opponent. Don't try to not blink, that'll just distract you more. Instead just keep focused on what you need to do and focus on your opponent. Once you honestly start not caring about being hit, you'll stop blinking so much.

                    If you are blinking because the person hitting you hits hard and is *hurting* you, that is a different story. After practice just tell them that they are hurting you.

                    (5) Ignore blocking. If you have time to block, you have time to attack as well. Stay focused on your opponent and anytime you get the feeling you should block, instead look and see what target is open during your opponent's attack. The next time they try that attack, hit them! Blocking just to stop yourself from being hit is no different than running away and hiding. Have confidence and at this stage always try to hit instead. If you can't hit first, try to hit them at the same time. If they hit you first, so what? Eah time you try hitting them first or at the same time, you will get a little bit better. Soon you *will* land some hits. Blocking does nothing to make you better...it only delays them hitting you.
                    GAHHHH THANK YOU <3

                    1) I thought so too! But I heard it was bad to bend the wrist like that... but i guess I havta if I want to hit 6'5 boys
                    2) Yes~ One of the things my sabum praised me for was how I'd keep an equal 'balance' with the two swords and after a really long time, I'd flick the sword away, hit men, push forwards, turn around fast and hit men backwards but it doesn't seem to work with the seniors though......
                    3) yes, thank you. Though I'm patient in things like yoga and studying, I'm actually more impatient. It shows when I draw manga and practice kendo T^T but I'll do anything to improve my kendo skills so that's not worth worrying
                    4) Ughhh thank you~ no one understands when I say I blink T^T but I can't help it~ I really do my best not too.
                    And no one hurts me (except for kote) I'm the youngest and the least experienced in my dojo and there's no girls so they hit lightly on purpose
                    5)
                    Originally posted by Steve View Post
                    Blocking does nothing to make you better...it only delays them hitting you.
                    ^Whoooaaa~ now that I think about it I think it's really true =.= it just seems that I block faster when the opponent is going for men strikes rather than me going for a small kote or a doh...

                    thank you very much

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fastheart&sword View Post
                      ... I'm the only teenaged girl ...
                      So likely you've still got some growing to do? All the more reason to practice proper men.... it will get easier... just give it time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Zornocology View Post
                        So likely you've still got some growing to do? All the more reason to practice proper men.... it will get easier... just give it time.
                        Haha.. I don't think I'm ever going to grow to be 5'5 but yes, I will practice more!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm a beginner also and recently struggled with something similar (desire to fight defensively). I've reflected a lot on this for most of my Kendo time. So here are some thoughts from one beginner to another.

                          Just keep trying to hit men. If you can hit the men during kiri kaeshi, then you can also hit the men during jigeiko! You can't expect it to be perfect every time. But, each time, maybe a little bit better than the time before. Even now, a year in, I think maybe only 1/6 of my men strikes is 'good', and that's just the cut part. Zanshin, fumi-komi especially needs work. I think in the thousands of men cuts I have made, there are only three that I really felt were 'good'. Two of them were last weekend! So the result of training hard is slowly but definitely starting to pay off. It will be the same for you.

                          Some things I reflect on:
                          Did I have center? Often if I attack without having center, the opponent doesn't even need to move and my blade is deflected away by their kamae or I seme right into the end of their shinai.
                          Was my seme too big/too small? Most of the time my seme is too big. I wind up hitting with the wrong part of the shinai, or my opponent is able to strike because I have moved into their range without presenting a credible threat.
                          Was my grip correct? Often my right hand is the culprit. If I'm not holding the shinai correctly the angle will be wrong and I hit the grill or miss entirely. I recently fixed a big problem with my left hand. I've only been making cuts in a way that felt correct for a few weeks now.
                          Was the timing right? Even if I did an excellent men cut, if my timing is poor then I'll get hit - maybe before I even finished my cut.
                          Was I overthinking it? Often I do catch myself thinking "I will do x and then they will do y so I will do x+1 and catch them." But it never works. The best attacks were ones I didn't even think about.
                          Were my hands/shinai in the correct space? I hold the shinai too far away from my body and my hands are too high. So it takes longer for me to make a men cut because the shinai has to travel further upwards before it can go down. Anybody can see this big attack right away and respond appropriately.

                          These are just the areas I know about. There are certainly problems that I don't know - my sempai will often point them out for me. What about your situation? You should be able to find your strengths and weaknesses. The main thing is to play YOUR kendo. Don't reflect on what your opponent did. Reflect on what you did. Think about, "Did I do the best cut I could do?" Pick one thing that you could do better. It's hard to concentrate on everything at once. Practice and improve that one thing during kiri kaeshi. Pretty soon you don't need to consciously think about it.

                          Make sure to be on the offense as much as you can. If you are focusing on blocking and defensive actions, your opponent is controlling the match. They will get to pick and choose when to attack. You can bet they will find a weakness and hit. You might be lucky and block but your opponent does not need to be lucky to hit. They just need you to be not-lucky. The odds are in the favor of the attacker.

                          You just have to keep attacking, do the best men you can do. Don't be afraid and show good spirit.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm 5 feet 3-1/2 and "men" is my main go-to technique. Can't always get it but have concentrated on it since I began Kendo. When the opponent starts coming in, I go for his "men" - if I can be a bit faster, I can often get it. Sometimes when I feel I can't out-speed the attacker (hit before/or as he reaches me) I step back or to the side just a little, and deliver a mighty Big men as he/she enters my striking space.
                            I was never taught or encouraged to block, on the theory "You can wound me but you can't kill me" - maybe the attacker will reach my kote but hey, it's only a wrist. Meantime, I hit with as good a timing and posture, tenouchi etc. as I can (ki-ken-tai). I don't worry about an opponent scoring a point because it isn't a competition - I just try to focus on hitting correctly (as one teacher long ago said, "beautifully" - he meant with power, speed, timing, spirit - and correct form - no wriggling, leaning, avoiding).
                            Your youth should give you speed, so with careful and correct practice, you can surely do it better than I!
                            Last edited by Tort-Speed; 3rd September 2012, 03:21 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sky_Paladin View Post
                              I'm a beginner also and recently struggled with something similar (desire to fight defensively). I've reflected a lot on this for most of my Kendo time. So here are some thoughts from one beginner to another.

                              Just keep trying to hit men. If you can hit the men during kiri kaeshi, then you can also hit the men during jigeiko! You can't expect it to be perfect every time. But, each time, maybe a little bit better than the time before. Even now, a year in, I think maybe only 1/6 of my men strikes is 'good', and that's just the cut part. Zanshin, fumi-komi especially needs work. I think in the thousands of men cuts I have made, there are only three that I really felt were 'good'. Two of them were last weekend! So the result of training hard is slowly but definitely starting to pay off. It will be the same for you.

                              Some things I reflect on:
                              Did I have center? Often if I attack without having center, the opponent doesn't even need to move and my blade is deflected away by their kamae or I seme right into the end of their shinai.
                              Was my seme too big/too small? Most of the time my seme is too big. I wind up hitting with the wrong part of the shinai, or my opponent is able to strike because I have moved into their range without presenting a credible threat.
                              Was my grip correct? Often my right hand is the culprit. If I'm not holding the shinai correctly the angle will be wrong and I hit the grill or miss entirely. I recently fixed a big problem with my left hand. I've only been making cuts in a way that felt correct for a few weeks now.
                              Was the timing right? Even if I did an excellent men cut, if my timing is poor then I'll get hit - maybe before I even finished my cut.
                              Was I overthinking it? Often I do catch myself thinking "I will do x and then they will do y so I will do x+1 and catch them." But it never works. The best attacks were ones I didn't even think about.
                              Were my hands/shinai in the correct space? I hold the shinai too far away from my body and my hands are too high. So it takes longer for me to make a men cut because the shinai has to travel further upwards before it can go down. Anybody can see this big attack right away and respond appropriately.

                              These are just the areas I know about. There are certainly problems that I don't know - my sempai will often point them out for me. What about your situation? You should be able to find your strengths and weaknesses. The main thing is to play YOUR kendo. Don't reflect on what your opponent did. Reflect on what you did. Think about, "Did I do the best cut I could do?" Pick one thing that you could do better. It's hard to concentrate on everything at once. Practice and improve that one thing during kiri kaeshi. Pretty soon you don't need to consciously think about it.

                              Make sure to be on the offense as much as you can. If you are focusing on blocking and defensive actions, your opponent is controlling the match. They will get to pick and choose when to attack. You can bet they will find a weakness and hit. You might be lucky and block but your opponent does not need to be lucky to hit. They just need you to be not-lucky. The odds are in the favor of the attacker.

                              You just have to keep attacking, do the best men you can do. Don't be afraid and show good spirit.
                              WHOAAAAAAAAAAAA <3<3<3 thanks soooo much

                              What you said right now actually made me think...

                              For kiri kaeshi, I think I've gotten the 'hit men part down' as far as a two-month kendoka can get (I had 8 sabums re-teach me because they said kirikaeshi is the thing that fails most kendoka in dan gradings) so I really have to work on that, but that's a battle against time. I reaaally think my men strikes are good but when 6 dans and my sabums look at it, it doesn't look 'perfect'. I didn't realize until my mom actually recorded a session of me and showed it to me but there are a lot of times when I look off.

                              Now, for the 'center' part, I don't really stay at the center much. I kinda push the opponents shinai away, loosen my hands, get ready, all that stuff.
                              I think the biggest problem for me even after I started was where I hit my men. It's gotten better now but my first shinai had more bruises on the center of it rather than the end (dunno what it's called in jpn, I only know KOR definitions for now) but I'll def. keep that in mind.

                              My grip was also a huge problem. I learned the thumb and middle finger together, hold it gently as if you were holding an egg, way, but I always ended up gripping to hard or making my hands into a tight clench, which really hurt.

                              I think as far as a 7-kyu would go, okay at timing. Maybe. My first attack never hits but after I stomp and push away, one of the fastest things I would do is turn before the opponent and just as they're about to get ready to face me, I'd hit men once more and go backwards (which is where my nickname comes from :3)

                              And I always overthink. Always always always. During practice, I like experimenting with things so I pick out a bunch of routines, just for practice, but during competitions, I'd go and let my hands play without thinking much (the only thing I do think about is dodging my head, mostly, but that results with a million shoulder bruises (where do you NOT get bruises during a compt? :S))

                              Thank you sooooo much for you advices they really honestly helped. I think this is why I go to the junior members more often than my senior members-- they remember their first mistakes better so we always talked about what we do awkwardly and what we learned, and tips, and such.

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