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Having good and strong Kiai is essential

Wednesday 12th April 2023 Keiko Reflection by Janet


Following several weeks of absence from Keiko while travelling overseas, it was great to return to keiko tonight. Thank you to both sensei, senpais & everyone who turned up for a great Keiko πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

I could tell my body had lost some muscle tone as well as muscle memory, which will need more time & practice to regain & re-adjust.

As always Sam & Marleen sensei have thoughtfully adjusted the Keiko menu to suit the needs of every member that are present in order to accomodate every skill level from those who just started kendo to those that had a break from kendo as well as the senior Dan grades to maximise the learning outcome for everyone. 

It was designed to help us systematically learn & rebuild our fundamental Kihon skills (such as footwork Suriashi, Fumikomi, Tenouchi, Big & Small Men, Kote Taiatari, Kiai) as well as reconditioning our bodies to minimise injuries, before progressively introduce more in-depth concepts & skills/ wazas such as Seme, Tame, & the more advanced Oji wazas such as Kote-Nuki-Men.

The word Seme in Japanese means to attack but for Kendo we can interpret this as showing strong determination & intention to attack by applying pressure to try break through opponents Kamae physically to take centre as well as trying to unsettle the opponents mentally by exploiting the four kendo sicknesses (Shi-Kai): surprise, fear, doubt, & hesitation in order to create opening or find the right opportunity to attack.

Having good strong Kiai is essential to develop good Seme as when Kiai is performed properly not only will it will help improve upper & lower body coordination using the core muscles to generate more power & speed, but it’ll also help with developing proper kendo breathing regulation from the Tanden/ abdomen/ diaphragm to build up tension (Seme) while holding the pressure in (Tame) before committing to a strike when an opportunity arise.

Sensei also gave homework for everyone tonight to help us develop a more stable lower body so that we can handle more advanced techniques later on. We are asked to practise doing Men with Fumikomi then stop & hold this position with deeper forward lunges with both knees at 90 degrees. 

Special mention to Ben who showed great Kendo spirit by attending tonight to do Mitori-geiko despite a calf muscle injury. His attentiveness while watching from the side as well as taking videos & giving us feedbacks from another point of view was commendable & very helpful for us. Wish him a speedy recoveryπŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

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