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  • Dojo Posture and Competition Posture

    I must say first off that I have not yet attended a shiai, but I have seen plenty of videos. (well a few anyway )

    One thing I've noticed is that there seems to be a fair amount "bad" posture in competition among the low to mid dan grades. This includes dodging (in a way that destroys posture, not hiraki-ashi (sp?) )

    I was in the dojo on Sunday and Mark-Sensei devoted quite a bit of time to footwork and posture. He made a point about the importance of keeping correct posture at all times and how there is a habit of breaking posture while receiving or blocking a cut. He demonstrated how that break will render you weak and unable to perform a effective ouji-waza. Then he demonstrated ouji-waza when he kept correct posture and the counter seemed to flow effortlessly out of the block. He then moved on to Kiai. He was explained the need to save something for after your cut(s) and was demonstrating by doing and kote-men-uchi. As soon as he passed and turned, his opponent for the demonstration performed a shomen with quite a bit of speed. Mark-Sensei, however, had kept great posture and save enough kiai, so that he performed a blindingly fast ouji-do a nearly gutted the poor guy before he knew what happened.

    It was a fantastic lesson that "Dojo Posture" is the best posture.

    What do you guys think?

    And

    Is "Competition Posture" a purposeful thing or am I simply seeing someones Ki being destroyed?

  • #2
    This opens up the old can o' worms abour "textbook" kendo and "shiai" kendo. However, I agree with you on this up front: even if you're going to do more quick, shiai kendo, it should be from a good posture. At most, a slight lean forward, but the posture should remain the same. For one thing, a break in posture will not help you demonstrate ippon.

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    • #3
      Might it not just be possible that those people you saw had bad posture generally, be it during shiai or in the dojo? For what it's worth, I'd have no qualms in stating that (with the exception of those people who are, shall we say, 4-5th dan plus and have retired from shiai) in the UK, the people with the best posture and basic movements also take part in a lot of shiai. Those who tend to win in shiai in this country are also people with excellent posture. For example, Gibbo (pretty much everything, bastard!), or D'Artagnan (Lidstone if I'm not mistaken). The whole competition vs dojo thing has been done to death, buried, exhumed, sliced and then burnt - there really is nothing left to discuss.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kingofmyrrh
        Might it not just be possible that those people you saw had bad posture generally, be it during shiai or in the dojo? For what it's worth, I'd have no qualms in stating that (with the exception of those people who are, shall we say, 4-5th dan plus and have retired from shiai) in the UK, the people with the best posture and basic movements also take part in a lot of shiai. Those who tend to win in shiai in this country are also people with excellent posture. For example, Gibbo (pretty much everything, bastard!), or D'Artagnan (Lidstone if I'm not mistaken). The whole competition vs dojo thing has been done to death, buried, exhumed, sliced and then burnt - there really is nothing left to discuss.
        It's entirely possible, as I said, I've not actually been to a shiai (even to observe).

        All I really wanted was to share something from a great lession that seemed quite profound with regards to posture (I'm only a newbie after all).

        *slinks off muttering*

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        • #5
          Originally posted by shred_lord
          Is "Competition Posture" a purposeful thing or am I simply seeing someones Ki being destroyed?
          It's a purposeful thing for those guys who do it. But as you've observed, it's usually the lower grades who haven't integrated their kendo so much. Higher up, they are still doing things differently in shiai than say a grading, it's just not so obvious.

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          • #6
            What competitions were you watching?

            Its worth bearing in mind that generally lower grades do seem to have posture problems, because they are more afraid of being hit than anything else, so they break posture easily in order to protect themselves. Until they learn that is easier to block and counter attack when they stand up straight they will carry on ducking and diving.

            I personally strive to do the same kendo all the time, be it in competition in the dojo or (with a few examples like gyaku do and katate waza) gradings as well.

            I also don't believe that there is really any difference between "shiai" or "dojo" kendo or whatever, it is simply "your" kendo. I bet the people who duck and dive in the shiajo do it in the dojo, but it is "their" kendo.

            Gibbo

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The great I AM
              I also don't believe that there is really any difference between "shiai" or "dojo" kendo or whatever, it is simply "your" kendo.
              I bet there is even for you. Come up against a slower, older competitor in the shiai-jo? You'll take that quick kote, whereas in the dojo you'd recognise it as cheap and in shinsa the judges wouldn't even register it. Got a guy hovering near the line who's a half-point down? You'll bounce him out, and if you don't your coach will have something to say about it I'd bet. You might not duck and bend but the mindset and the goals are different.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                I bet there is even for you. Come up against a slower, older competitor in the shiai-jo? You'll take that quick kote, whereas in the dojo you'd recognise it as cheap and in shinsa the judges wouldn't even register it. Got a guy hovering near the line who's a half-point down? You'll bounce him out, and if you don't your coach will have something to say about it I'd bet. You might not duck and bend but the mindset and the goals are different.
                Hmmm, well you've sort of got me there on the kote, but depending on what I was trying to practise in the dojo I might go for it, and depending on the person in the shiaijo, I might not go for it, depends on the situation really, for instance if they are expecting it....then I'm not going anywhere near it! Plus my kote ain't so hot anyway, but I digress....

                As for the the hansoku point, if it were a team match and the point were important then yes I would, because there would be 4 other people relying on me, but if it wasn't so important that I took that ippon, then I would be seeking something a little more satisfying, and thats the gods honest truth! And if it was an individual match, I would want to win it with a proper ippon, not something which says "I can't actually beat you with kendo".

                Although the goals and mindset are to some extent different, I would still be trying to doing my best kendo (note I didn't say grading or dojo kendo, just "kendo" kendo) and win (I know there are many people out there who would simply go for the win). Last year I won a competition where one of the judges said he was dissappointed with the winning point (he didn't give it), and that made me think about it and change my attitude, after all, I already knew that good straight kendo can do just as well as ducking and dodging. But that is just me, many people are very different, there are plenty that simply value the win, but really those are the people that will give up kendo when they stop winning and don't understand why.

                Gibbo

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                • #9
                  As a national team member, I daresay you are under more pressure than most to just produce the win. Especially in team. If you draw the strong guy and the team needs you to hold a draw and not risk a loss by going for the win, you'll do it. Or you'd better. And you may not be happy with that personally but...

                  I'm just saying, once you're in the shiai-jo you've got some rules that dictate a few things. If you're out there to win for your own personal satisfaction then yeah, play it like it's shinsa. But if you're out there to win, period, then you make some changes and it doesn't necessarily mean you start to play windshield-wiper kendo, just that you take advantage of everything you can.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                    As a national team member, I daresay you are under more pressure than most to just produce the win. Especially in team. If you draw the strong guy and the team needs you to hold a draw and not risk a loss by going for the win, you'll do it. Or you'd better. And you may not be happy with that personally but...

                    I'm just saying, once you're in the shiai-jo you've got some rules that dictate a few things. If you're out there to win for your own personal satisfaction then yeah, play it like it's shinsa. But if you're out there to win, period, then you make some changes and it doesn't necessarily mean you start to play windshield-wiper kendo, just that you take advantage of everything you can.
                    more and more i think about.. life is all about self interest.. even when we are doing something right for right reason, it's done because it gives us certain satisfaction in some weird and twisted way.. again self interest.. oh well.. i guess i was off topic

                    pete

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bullet08
                      .. i guess i was off topic
                      Don't worry, I regret putting the topic up anyway.

                      Gibbo and Neil:

                      Yes, they where low dan matches. (I said this)

                      So it's a flinch reaction only? How long does it take to get over this? I would have thought that by the time you reached the point you're entering competition that you're used to getting hit. I wouldn't know as I'm a beginner.

                      Hmm, I'm 25 in one and a half hours.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by shred_lord
                        So it's a flinch reaction only? How long does it take to get over this? I would have thought that by the time you reached the point you're entering competition that you're used to getting hit. I wouldn't know as I'm a beginner.

                        Hmm, I'm 25 in one and a half hours.
                        Happy birthday!

                        It took me ages to get over it, like only from the end of last year was I able to hold my nerve to not be waving my shinai everytime someone came a centimtre closer, but to me it made all the difference.

                        To Neil : I do see and totally understand your point, but I will still go out there and do my own kendo, trying not to duck and weave (as I'm finally learning), but you are right, and it is a burden sometimes, but in that situation, like I said before, you have a slightly greater responsiblity than doing straight forward "correct" kendo, but given the choice and chance, I would still be doing what I do in the dojo. Afterall, its what I practise all the time, so there is little point in changing to something I'm unfamiliar with in the shiajo. I'd rather use my kensen and ashisabaki to block than a duck of the head. Note I said rather there, old habits die dam hard sometimes.... but teaching people has ironed alot of it out, not all of it, but a lot. Ho hum. I take your point though, and would say that its certainly easier to type this stuff...

                        Gibbo

                        Edited : dam, had a few beers and the spellings gone right out of the window....keiko tonight was ace!
                        Last edited by The great I AM; 19th May 2005, 08:33 AM.

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                        • #13
                          According to the AJKF
                          1. The purpose of Kendo is ... (I assume you know the rest).
                          2. Should I compromise <insert whatever> ?
                          3. Answer: No. See 1.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by gibbo
                            keiko tonight was ace!
                            last exam tomorrow

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The great I AM
                              I would want to win it with a proper ippon, not something which says "I can't actually beat you with kendo".
                              Wether its ippon or hansoku, every point counts in Kendo. If someone does very tricky waza and manages to score on you while you just stand there doing "straight" Kendo, wether you consider ippon or not he still managed to break your defenses. There is a way to beat shiai kendo with straight kendo but you have to know about shiai kendo before you start trying to do that.

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