Confidence comes from discipline and training.
Saturday Keiko reflection for beginners & Kyu grades - Janet
During Saturdays keiko, sensei emphasised the importance of learning Kihon basics for strikes in the following order:
1. To go Big (such as big Men & Kote, to ensure we rotate our shoulders fully and correctly during each strike)
2. To go Strong (using predominantly the left arm to generate enough power)
3. To go Fast (connect all the movements from shoulder rotation to extending elbow and wrist into one: Ichibyoshi)
4. To go Light & small (such as small Men & Kote, & have more control of the strikes using correct Tenouchi to retain power while making it crispy & not heavy)
In Harai & Suriage waza, we sweep or deflect the opponents Shinai off the centre with our Shinai to make an opening before striking.
But remember we must keep deflection movement short and sharp using the wrist & with correct Tenouchi to prevent your Kensen from moving too far away from the centre making ourselves vulnerable also. When this is done correctly, after deflecting the Shinai using Tenouchi, our Kensen should naturally be positioned near our opponents Kote so minimal movement should be required for us to execute a quick and sharp Kote strike using Tenouchi.
The sweeping or deflecting movements may be similar in both Harai & Suriage waza, but the difference is Harai being a Shikake-waza, so basically the user initiates the strike. While Suriage is an Oji-waza, so the user counters or respond to an attempted strike from the opponent.
Through Kendo, we are reminded that no one is perfect nor the same so there’s no need to compare ourselves with others, we just need to be ourselves & love who we are. Kendo focuses on cultivating our own individual mind & body as well as developing a vigorous spirit, so that we can overcome challenges, doubts & fears face-on & never look back & just keep going forward. Learning to recognise & accept our own weaknesses is an important step to learn from our mistakes & failures to become a better person.
Through Kendo Reiho or etiquette, we are taught humility & dignity, & are encouraged to show respect & be considerate for each other. Having just the right level of friendly competition amongst our peers is a good thing as it helps to keep us stimulated & encourages us to become better together in the right way, with a common goal in mind, that is to become better in our own kendo & to nurture a humane character that we can all be proud of. However, we shouldn’t dwell on the results. Be humble of our failures & achievements & always be thankful for the opportunity to keiko with each other as we go on this kendo journey together. Setting a goal or aim is great to keep us motivated to learn & improve, but no need to be too critical of ourselves or set the bar too high as we can all be our own harshest critics sometimes.
There is no need to rush as kendo is a way of life. We just need to follow the correct training plans & schedule prepared by sensei step-by-step by coming to keiko regularly. Be willing to listen & learn from sensei & senpais’ guidance & receive any feedback with a positive attitude, then our kendo skills & experience will surely improve with time.
Many thanks to Sam & Marleen sensei & senpais for your guidance at keiko. We all have learnt a lot🙏🙏🙏
Also thank you Val senpai for leading our minute of silence to remember those that perished in recent mass shooting. May they RIP🙏🙏🙏