Kendo's footwork is not walking/running/jumping - Training notes by Nicole
Today's important message from Senpai during training (13/02/2016):
We mainly did Kihon Waza today and the main focus is footwork. The better we can utilised the footwork we practised during conditioning session, the faster we can to adjust to all kinds of scenarios during Shiai.
Big, normal and small Tsuri-ashi are foremost important for executing a good Seme and thus create a good distance to strike the target for a valid point during Shiai. To demonstrate this, we were practising to hit the Shinai that was held up with uneven distance and different height by Mododatchi along the straight line continuously. A valid strike means that Kakarite have to hit the target by the Mono-uchi of their Shinai so Kakarite will need to Seme with big Tsuri-ashi or a few normal Tsuri-ashi rapidly before hitting if the distance between target is too far. If the target is too close, Kakarite will need Seme with a small Tsuri-ashi and sometime Kakarite will have to hit straight away without a Seme.
Fumi-Komi is another important part of this exercise. Never lift the front foot (right) up to stamp, it's using the hip and body weight to create a falling motion. Back foot (left) needs to catch up as quickly as the front foot (right) reach to the desirable distance. Almost like a kick so that Kakarite can come back to Kamai ASAP or get ready for a second Fumi-komi.
Turning back to Kamae position is also very crucial for example turning back after Zanshin for Kakarite or Mododatchi turning away from Kararite after being hit on the Kote. These were demonstrated in Gohon Waza.
Points to remember with footwork - Kendo's footwork is not walking/running/jumping!
Tsuri-ashi is sliding as if your front foot (right) resting on top of a piece of paper and push off with the ball of your back foot (left). After each slide, we have to come back to Kamae position so that we are ready to move along or achieve a strike with Fumi-komi.
Common mistakes -
Beginner forgot to catch up with the back foot as the front foot slide.This means longer preparation time and slowing us down.
Sometime the back foot surpass the front foot when catching up. That is no different to running and this bring us too close to the Mododatchi so wouldn't be able to create a good distance to hit the target by the Mono-uchi.
Turning too slow and hence giving opportunity to other your opponent to hit back.
Too much unnecessary foot steps before coming to back to Kamae position or Seme, elongates preparation time and makes us look bad.
(Sorry, this one is super long because there's so much to cover for footwork.)