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Happy Rabbit Year 2023

We wish everyone have a Happy Rabbit Year

Saturday 21 January 2023 Keiko Reflection - Janet

As lunar new year of the rabbit arrives so is our Dojo welcoming new beginners to get a taste of what kendo is like.

While the beginners learned brand new ideas, the senpais were reminded of the basic purpose of Kendo, which is self discipline, development & improvement of our body, mind, & spirit. Constantly striving for a more perfect & beautiful cut rather than being just a form of self defence or stick fighting.

Ashi-sabaki or footwork (Kouda sensei demonstration) is very important in Kendo particularly Suriashi or sliding steps as it not only look more graceful & elegant, but also would reduce noise when moving on wooden floors & reduce likely injury from stepping onto hidden weapons or obstacles on the floor in medieval Japan.

We were also reminded of the basic sequence of engagement during a kendo duel:

1. Holding good Kamae (on guard position, Kouda sensei demonstration) to prevent showing weakness or opening to the opponent. Make the opponent feel uneasy to step forward without an opportunity.

2. Have good Kiai (the shout we generated before & during strikes) to show our determination & spirit.

3. Perform Seme (to attack or break through opponents defence or creating opportunity by taking centre) & step into Issoku-Ittou-no-Maai (one step one cut distance) to execute the strike on target.

The senior Keiko menu consisted of Kihon-geiko Kirikaeshi, Uchikomi-geiko focussing on Gohon waza as well as Hiki waza (Chiba Sensei's demonstration; Hiki-Men, Hiki-Kote). 

The difficulty of executing Hiki waza was being able to create proper opportunity by making the opponents move & expose an opening from Tsuba-Zeriai position (this is usually done by pushing against opponents Shinai to encourage them to counteract the force when we let go suddenly) then execute accurate strikes on target when going backwards to create enough distance for proper arm extension for strikes while maintaining same control & power of each strike with proper Tenouchi & backwards Fumikomi stamping & swift Okuriashi going backwards to quickly get out of the way to regain enough distance & maintain good Zanshin (alertness) & Kamae to be ready to block or counter opponents follow up strikes.

Even though a few of us had to excuse ourselves from Keiko early today to attend New Year’s Eve dinner with family & friends, other members who stayed behind with Sensei continued on with Kakari-geiko.

Many thanks to all those who turned up today to make this Keiko possible & thanks to Sam Sensei for leading the Keiko & Joyce Senpai for leading the warm up🙏🙏🙏

Best wishes to everyone at WKC a happy & prosperous year of the Rabbit 🐰


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