Hi all, here are a few thoughts/pointers from the camp.
As Sam said Inoue sensei stressed the importance of not only listening carefully to your instructors, but to also take notes and then to implement these into your Kendo. I didn’t make any notes until I returned from the camp so I may have lost many gems of wisdom, maybe forever- I feel great shame for this!! Yesterday, (Saturday) Sam gave at least three pointers from the camp- I hope we can all make note of these, and the other gems that Sam gave us- before we forget. Please excuse me for anything I missed, perhaps Sam, Marleen, Clark and Terry can fill in the blanks or correct my mistakes.
The 1st day of the seminar I attended was Saturday we assembled & the event was officially opened and the visiting sensei were introduced.
Inoue sensei started the instruction with kendo kata, the 1st three. All of the basics of the kata are contained in these 1st three
The ki-aii of YA for the 1st need to be long in this kata, as it is a big strike YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA the TO comes in over the YA as Shidachi returns the strike as Sam said before the Uchidachi has finished his strike. In Kata both players put pressure on each other maintain eye contact.
Jodan kamae is the kamae of heaven, we should feel like the rising sun, big & powerful, all encompassing. Don’t hide under Jodan expose your chest/ heart, challenge opponent with it, invite them in Jodan is also vulnerable, exposing kote, do, tsuki, so we are putting our life on the line in this situation.
In the 2nd kata the Ya and To are shorter, like the movements.
Other points- Posture- we always need to use correct footwork so we are able to strike at any time, example motatachi is never passive, always following up ready to strike back at anytime, this keeps the practice real, Motatachi should always be watching the attacker looking for opportunities where he could strike, they set the example.
Ki-aii- needs to be long & strong- when striking men seme yaaah – then men, one movement, ki-aii keeps going until we have run thru & turned & faced back to our opponent ready for next strike, in breath then again...
This helps to train breath control, this is important, Sam talked about the way to practice breathing for kirikaeshi.
Sensei said that if you can strike for 6 breaths and he can strike for seven, he will always win, in breath is your weak point in battle.
Your Kendo should flow from one movement to the next [this is natural, like the tide or the seasons].
Work towards removing the non- essentials from your Kendo, get rid of wasteful movements, these not only use up extra energy they also give opportunities for your opponents attack.
Example shiaai between husband & wife she took a step in but didn’t attack, husband seized the opportunity, struck & got the point, if she had struck the two strikes would have cancelled each other out.
Kill the other persons attack, example given kote attack, kill it and strike yourself, seize the opportunity (you must be ready), too late and it won’t work, footwork is of utmost importance here.
Maaii- when we start keiko, shiaii in toma we have distance between shinai and are safe. As soon as tensen cross we are in the danger zone- our opponent has the opportunity for attack- we also have the opportunity. Many people were coming into the danger zone mindlessly- be careful of this.
Grading- we were broken into groups according to level,
Kyu group- A Japanese sensei talked to us before hand about important points:
Use your ki-aii well , we need to use it to challenge the judges to award us the grade, we need to win their attention.
Posture- be straight, upright everything from the hara.
Correct cutting, big strikes.
Wrong attitude to think what if I don’t pass, don’t doubt, look for mu-shin, no mind, relax.
Ki- aii should be authentic, our own, come from the heart.
Inoue sensei- We are born with a pure/ clean heart but different life experiences can make it “dirty”[tarnished might be a better word]
Kendo is a way to clean the heart, to bring us back to a child- like state where we feel full emotion and wonder and see the beauty in the world, by doing our practice together and being kind to others we create a better society and world to live in.
And from the 2007 seminar he said to be like the sun- let your heart shine forth on everyone.