Climb the mountain of Kendo together

Sunday 29 January 2006

Dear All,

I feel sorry to inform you that Chou sensei did not feel well after the six days intensive tour in the South Island and has changed the flight to today (30 January).

He said the view in South Island is very beautiful but it was too long for him to stay in the car. And, don't worry, he still has good health. There are 4 Japanese sensei (one 8th Dan and three 7th Dan) are waiting for his return to visit Taiwan. He apologies that he need to go back to Taiwan ealier than his original plan.

I just visited him saying Good-Bye and presented the Birthday card (84 years old) and a small gift to him. He is pleased by the card you signed for him. He hopes that I can pass his appreciation to you.

The sensei emphasised few things to me and I would like to share them with you.

1. As an instructor, I should always pay attention on the safety and healthy issues. For example, I should ask members check shinai regularly and don’t ignore the warming up and cooling down.

2. The meaning for benevolence (Jin) is “two people”. Although Kendo training is very important, exciting and attractive, I should remind members/students that do not let Kendo interfere with their work, study or health. The more important thing is to be patient, that is, having long-term and regular training; rather than expect a result or big progress in a short time and do “over intensive” training to damage body or work (career or study) - relating to the next point.

3. Be patient. Too rush to put on bogu has no advantage at all. Without good basics (kihon), just put on bogu won’t improve one’s Kendo level. Similarly, after put on bogu, we still need to work on improving our basics (kihon). It is an endless effort. Just “know” the theory doe not equal to “understand” the theory. In order to understand, we need training. This is easy to say but difficult to do, particularly the progress in Kendo keiko (training) could be very slow in some stages.

Another example, before we can manage Men cut well, it is helpless to work on Kote or Do cut. Regarding learning of waza (technique), assuring each step of learning is important. Without sound foundation, the building won’t be high. It takes patience (time and effort) when building the foundation. Focus on kihon.

4. Footwork is very important. Sensei emphasised again the theory of “Ichi-gan Ni-soku San-tan Shi-riki” (1st-eyes, 2nd-footwork, 3rd-courage (or bravery), 4th-power (or force). The left foot and left hand are the key of improving our Kendo levels.

5. When strike MEN, do not “pull back or up” our left hand. Also, when doing te-no-uchi does not let our right elbow lower than our shoulder and then lift it up again. Body should keep square and not controlled by right hand. (I will show you when we meet. It is difficult to write here.)

6. Sensei hopes that he can meet some of you in Taiwan someday. He invites us to train at his dojo.

Those are the main ideas sensei hopes that I should do or pass to you.

One feedback for my personal Kendo technique is that I use too much right arm and shoulder. It reduces my speed of striking. I should relax my right arm more and rely on my left arm more. Also, that will help my te-no-uchi and increase my speed and power of cutting. – Does this sound familiar to you? I hope you now understand better about what I invite you about “climbing the Kendo mountain together”.

Happy Chinese New Year! 

* * * 

Reproduced from website achieve 2006