Sunday, September 03, 2017

My Kendo Journey - Aiden

2017 Beginners - Aidan M. 
Intermediate School Student

Reflection about what I have learned from the Beginner Class:

All through my learning in kendo I have been learning new movement, new theory, new etiquette.

At the start we learnt footwork and etiquette.

(We learnt these every-day but we were introduced to them then).

In the first lesson (the trial). We learnt basic forward, backward, left and right movement. This was interesting, not what I expected in fact I thought there would be nothing if not very little, practical however I learnt heaps. Surprisingly (to you) this discombobulated me I was expecting a explanation of kendo and an explanation of what we were to do in the upcoming 15 weeks. This did happen, but it wasn't the whole 90 minutes. It was about 20 minutes, the other 70 minutes was practical. This is the lesson I learnt the most in. That is a surprise to me for I thought that I would learn the most in the second. They also showed me how bad my posture is.

Then we moved on to diagonal footwork - This proved to be rather difficult, at first it I found the movement rather weird, but slowly I started finding it easier.

When we moved on to using bokuto (wooden sword) thing’s got very interesting. The first thing we learnt with the boku was what you do with it during the opening and closing ceremonies. You gently put it down making sure that the sharp side is pointing toward you. We learnt that you are not to walk over the boku. And that you should not let the end of the blade fall on the ground. We also discovered why it is bad to kick the sword when they are on the ground, something I failed at once or twice.

The basic defensive posture of kendo fascinated me. The point of it is that it makes it difficult for your opponent to strike.

Learning MEN-strike was a big change, however it was one I enjoyed. I learnt so much in men (head) there is just so much theory behind striking and men in particular. Such as you should keep your hand straight up, swing and then halfway through the swing flick your wrist. (That was properly the worst description of that in kendo history). 

Kote, however not to different to men, was the strike I struggled with the most. What I found so difficult is when I learnt it I had only just learnt how to swing and stop at head height then suddenly they wanted me to perform it at wrist height. Do is the strike we most recently learnt in kendo I found it the most interesting because that men and kote were rather similar, however do was different. In do you bring your boku back as if you were going to do men or kote then you put your blade to the right, move your foot on a 45 degree angle and strike so that your blade hit’s your opponent's waist.

Another thing we learnt is kendo vocabulary and phrases all though this is perhaps the part I am worst at.

Actually I think the part I am worst at is that I don't remember to put my hands in the right place (by my side).

Aidan JM

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