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Turning Pressure into Motivation

Saturday 7th January 2023 Keiko Reflection - Janet

As the new year begins, it signals a new beginning for us to have new resolutions or goals to aspire to. Don’t be scared from pressures of grading or just life in general & try turning these challenges into healthy motivations & positive drivers for change & opportunities for bettering ourselves by having better awareness of oneself to actively reflect upon to improve constantly. This way it will certainly make our otherwise dull repetitive everyday lives more interesting & meaningful.

The first half of the Keiko today consisted of Bokuto Keikohou (AJKF) & Nihon Kendo Kata (AJKF) number 1 & 2. We also had the privilege to observe Leo & Joyce senpais demonstrating all Katas. In total there are 10 Katas & 9 Bokuto Keikohou techniques we will eventually learn throughout the course of our kendo journey. So make sure we come to Keiko regularly & make the most of the opportunities to learn from Sensei & senpais when Kata teaching sessions come up.

The importance of Kendo kata cannot be emphasised enough. Proper kendo training involves practicing katas with Bokuto as well as doing regular Shinai Keiko. Not only do Katas help to train our mental concentration, learn proper distance & timing to strike, but the postures, forms & techniques learned will also help us to better control our bodily movements (as every step or even Sonkyo are properly controlled & committed movements with confidence & resolve), thus allowing us to better apply these during regular Keiko. 

Whereas things we learned from Keiko (Such as the feeling of proper striking distance & applications of each techniques during Jissen situations) will also feedback into & improve our Kata forming a positive feedback relationship to help our kendo grow steadily.

Following the usual warm up & Suburis, we started off with Uchikomi-geiko on both migi & hidari Dō strikes, focusing on Tenouchi, use of lower body to sink down a little during each strike & to relax at end of Tenouchi to allow kensen to naturally bounce off from the Dō.

The rest of the Keiko was then focussed on practicing faster/long Kirikaeshi (Osaka University of HSS Kendo Club, Kendo Jidai). Being able to perform proper footwork with faster Suriashi which consists of slight jumps is most crucial to achieve proper rhythm & speed. Then once the lower body footwork, core muscles & upper body are in sync, the faster strikes will follow naturally.

The Kyu grades then practised Kirikaeshi with each other by rotating as Motodachi while doing some mitori-geiko of Senpai & Senseis doing Ji-geiko. We then finished off with Kakari-geiko with Sam sensei.

Even though it was rather disappointing that I couldn’t perform my best & had to refrain from doing some drills due to a partial torn elbow tendon causing pain on extension & striking, I felt happy to still attended todays Keiko as I still got to do kendo to the best of my current ability, as well as able to observe others around me & work on other parts of my body like footwork. It was also a good opportunity to reflect on my posture & grip & where it’s causing the pain to try to correct it. Fingers crossed that it’ll heal uneventfully soon so I can do more training🤞 

Thanks to Sam sensei for leading the Keiko today & thanks to every Kyu grades & senpais for helping each other train🙏🙏🙏


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