Skip to main content

The Stressful Experience Enjoyed - Daniel W

The days leading up to our Kendo grading had started becoming a little stressful I have to admit. Despite our sensei telling us not to worry it was very difficult to push the doubts out of my mind. Even the minutes leading up to our grading were spent clarifying certain techniques or movements. I was confident in my ability to correctly perform the required Kihon-dosa but I lacked confidence in understanding a new language and was afraid I would incorrectly interpret an instruction.

It was a great start to the afternoon as I got to watch my 2 children perform their grading. I was very happy to see that our efforts at practicing everyday (despite their objections) had paid off.

As our group (group 2) was called up my anxieties were at their highest yet the moment sensei instructed Tai-to (placing your shinai at our left waist) all that anxiety simply melted away. All of a sudden I was in a very familiar space. Everything that was asked of me in the grading I had done many many times before and thus I had become very comfortable in my surroundings. If it weren't for all the little errors I was making you could almost say I was starting to enjoy the experience.

I noticed early on that my left heel early on was not raised enough and was impacting my movement. Remaining focused was important and concentrating on staying upright, correct posture with square shoulders, feet 2 fists apart and heel to toe. As I started correcting these small errors I began to feel more confident and focused on performing rather than trying to remember everything. When it was time to perform Fumikomi-ashi I was in a very good place mentally as I enjoy these Kihon-dosa. My focus here was not to have my shinai reach too far back before I went to strike and to slow my movement down. Sensei has reiterated many many times to slow everything down to perform it well, not to try and create power through speed. This advice really helped me. It's amazing how quickly you can forget the little details that help to build a strong and correct technique when trying to be fast. 1 small error can easily affect other aspects of your form. I still need to work on stamping my right foot and using the left foot for power, committing to forward movement.

To be asked to perform Bokuto Kihonwaza Keikoho 1 was a surprise as these waza are new to me but I felt very good about this one. Caleb (my son) had insisted on practicing at home as many forms of Kihon-waza as we could remember and it turned into a little game. Although everything went well I was aware of little things I wished I had done better. I was relieved and happy when we had completed our grading because I felt I had performed my best on the day and it was very satisfying. I am very grateful for all the advice and guidance from our sensei's, senpai's and fellow students who have all helped to answer or demonstrate any questions I had.

Daniel Wood.


Popular posts from this blog

How do you practice seme?

Kobayashi Hideo Sensei – How to Seme (w/English CC)  小林英雄 先生 - 攻め方 How do you practice S eme ?   Very early on, I have heard of the “Three Opportunities to Strike”: strike when your opponent’s technique is about to start, strike when your opponent’s technique ends, and when the opponent is mentally and physically depleted. Since then, this line of thinking has given me a direction in how to train. In 2017, Utsunomiya sensei, 7-dan kyoshi, came to visit us and taught me the concept of “okori”. That reminds me of the conversation that happened 8 years before that in 2009 with Morioka sensei, also 7-dan kyoshi, who asked me: “What is the timing or reason of your strike?” I think most people are familiar with the idea that you should “ seme then strike ”. However, when do you strike after seme has been a source of struggle for most kenyu. That’s why when I saw the video from Kobayashi Hanshi where you seme for the purposes of creating “okori” , I felt this added a whole other d

Ji-ri-ichi - practice & theory combined into one 事理一致

Wednesday 19th April 2023 Keiko Reflection by Janet Tonight’s Keiko is a timely reminder of the importance of training in Ji-ri-ichi (事理一致, practice & theory combined into one). While we are constantly receiving knowledge & theory passively from Senseis, one must also be actively applying the theories learnt into action to make it their own through repeated practice.  We must also be proactive in our own learning by actively seeking more knowledge such as observing other kendokas keiko ( mitori-geiko ), reading books, asking questions when in doubt, & constantly reflect & ask ourselves why do we do this? what are we doing wrongly or correctly? This way we can better understand our bodies, the mechanics of each movements & the purpose behind each individual action, therefore maximise our learning outcome by improving productivity & quality of our practice or Keiko.  Remember Kendo is a martial art that descended from Japanese swordsmanship or Kenjutsu, so it’s no

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 demonst