Clement: Notes from the NZ Squad Training in Christchurch, 2011

The New Zealand National Team training in Christchurch's brand new dojo. 
Team NZ is hard in training for the WKC in Novara.
Photo taken and shared by: Kendo World

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Hi all, so some recap from the lessons Awa and I learned at the NZ team training. Keep in mind that this is mainly for winning in shiai and that there is a difference between that and "grading" kendo.

- Dramatise your cuts - Regardless if you really hit or not, got to convince judge that you scored the ippon. If judge gives you ippon, take it. 

- Change the rhythm of your cuts - Don't always stick to your same fighting style, change it up if it doesn't work.

- Keep the winning attitude, take what you get - It's war, you fight to win. If you hold ippon, keep it. One ippon is enough to win the match.

- Shiai line should be your friend - fight from centre out and don't have your back to the line. When opponent near line, taiatari + cut to ensure no hansoku.

- For seme, hold for one breath, breath in quick and out slow - Watch for the opportunity and explode your strikes when you find them.

- Do thoughtful kendo and focus on form - learn to be flexible for waza, change if need be and make sure your form is correct. Otherwise you will never get ippon.

The following are some techniques for waza:

- Debana kote - Move body left and have slight pressure left on kensen, as opponent lifts for men, strike kote. If opponent seme is very loose, their kensen will tend to follow your kensen, so when you lower and raise your kensen, opponent will do the same. Strike when they are raising kensen.

- Kaeshi do - Don't look down after hitting, cut with one movement (not split into block + do). Block opponent's men with shinai extended forward to get greater distance for do.

- Tsuki - Strike it like a cut and feel like you are putting your left hand on opponent's men dare. Be sure to strike for Tsuki Men if you miss tsuki.

- Hiki-men - apart from correct striking, ippon also comes from the "oomph" in the zanshin when running back, make sure that you really run fast and sell your ippon.

That's all the main points, I'm sure Awa can add more to it as well.