Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 620-621

Day 620:

In Iaido, I got through three sets of kata and then finished with a few Iaido stretches.

I asked sensei between classes why the Kendo teaching guide stated that chudan-no-kamae meant you aim the ki-saki at the opponent’s left eye instead of the throat. He answered that proper chudan is individual and a range between left eye and throat. The one you wind up doing depends on your sensei and koryo.

In Kendo class, we went through a standard set of kihon waza drills. We also kept teaching the beginners advanced waza such as kote-men-ouchi. We finished with a few round of ji-geiko.

I was corrected several times today. A friend and I fist-bumped before we did rei-hou but while we were standing in line. Apparently, that’s disrespectful. I think it’s because it breaks the discipline.

I also got corrected by the same sensei by not taking the center very definitively. I would seme into issoku-ittou-no-maai and then launch right into the waza. He said (loudly) that I need to establish my control of center first and then attacking second.

The other sensei corrected me by stating that often time when I strike men I raise too high and pass by into jodan. He’s right but it’s hard not to when using tenouchi.

Day 621:

In Iaido class, I did 3 sets and a few stretches. I noticed that during the 5th kata, my metsuke follows the ki-saki instead of the opponent. I need to break that habit.

In Kendo we had a hard day’s practice. After kihon, we practiced kote-men-ouchi, harai-men, kote-suriage-men-ouchi, and then some keiko before finishing. It was a good practice.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 618-619

Day 618:

In Iaido class, I finished 3 sets of kata and then did a few spare kata. I focused on the 12th kata because I need more saya-biki.

In Kendo we started with suburi and then men-tsuke. We had 2 beginners, so it was an easy day. We did kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, doh-ouchi, kote-men-ouchi, and ji-geiko. One of our beginners had his first day in full bogu.

Day 619:

In Iaido class, it was one of the most humid days ever. I was sweating so much just from kata. I had a moment of weakness from the humidity. Still, I finished 4 sets of kata. New record! Not even rushing.

In Kendo class, I decided to pace myself instead of pushing myself. We did suburi and okuri-ashi. Our newest student joined us up to this point. Afterwards, he went off to practice with one of our sensei.

We practiced kihon-waza and some kote-men-ouchi. From there, sensei taught us about how to make the kote-men-ouchi into a quicker waza. You strike kote when you raise up for fumi-komi and strike men when you stomp down. I was actually pretty good at it. I just think of kote-men as skipping-stone. We then practiced kote-suriage-men, which was easier then I remember doing it when I was a few ranks lower. We finished with kiri-kaeshi.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 616-617

Day 616:

In Iaido class, I was really focused. I completed three sets but I noticed that my saya was scraping on the 12th kata. I tried to use more saya-biki and it made less noise.

In Kendo, we had two beginners, so it was a less intense class. It was actually taught by my fellow early-dan Kendoka. It was an intro to him teaching. We went through the basic set of kihon, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, and doh-ouchi. We then moved into harai-waza, ai-kote-kote-men-waza, kakari-geiko, and ji-geiko. After class, we took some pictures of myself and a sensei practicing the first 10 kata for advertising purposes.

I asked sensei about the difference between harai and suriagi, because they seemed the same. He confirmed that the motions are similar but the initiative is different. You attack with harai but you react with suriage.

Day 617:


I was 30 minutes late to class, with only 15 minutes left. Still, I went in and practiced a full set of kata and another 6 kata.

In Kendo class, we only had one beginner so it was a normal class. We practiced suburi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, doh-ouchi, and then right into ji-geiko. We then practiced harai-men and hiki-men wazas. Moving slowly to get the footwork right makes it really hard.We finished with multiple kata and then into kata.

I love kata. This time I got to practice with the shoto. I got to practice both uchidachi and shidachi.

For shidachi, you have to step out and set down your bokuto using three backward diagonal steps and kneel with your left knee. Step back and take chudan. First kata is block with uke and step to the right, strike men, and back into jodan. Reset. Second kata starts with pressure the uchidachi and then uke to the right. Strike men, shoto at the hip and grab the arm. Reset. For the third, the shidachi is in gedan. Surprise block and flip the uchidachi’s sword down and left. Immediately block doh and pressure the sword. Slide your shto to clack with the tsuba. Grab the uchidachi’s arm and push them three steps diagonally. Reset.

For uchidachi, you mirror the shidachi when putting your shoto down. For the first kata, you are in jodan. You strike men and then you are done. Match the shidachi when they step back and follow when they reset. For the second kata, start in gedan. Try to come up but when the shidachi preassures you, swing back into waki-gamae and then rise up to cut men. Then you’re done. For the third kata, start in chidan. Surprise the shidachi by raising up on the second step and swing down on the third. When you are parried, swing around into waki-gamae and then swing up and around for doh. Let the shidachi grapple you and step back three steps. Best to lead with the back foot.

The rei before and after the sword picks is counter-intuitive and best left to practice.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 614-615

Day 614:

Today I was more focused. I got through 2 full sets of Iaido and then the next 10 kata. I was getting focused for the next class.

In Kendo class, my student did not show up. He had some function at his school. So, I joined the regular class. After suburi, we launched into a long string of endurance drills. Men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, doh-ouchi, and then ji-geiko. We resumed with kakari-geiko and then practiced on some advanced waza.

We started with kote-men-ouchi and then moved up to ai-kote-kote-men-ouchi. We did ji-geiko and had a good drill in kiri-otoshi-men. You need to have plenty of space or else you’ll be too close. I took shorter steps to prepare. We finished class with ji-geiko and kiri-kaeshi.

Day 615:

In Iaido class, there was no clock. It was battery-dead and taken down. Our treasurer had to keep time for us to keep moving with new exercises. The weird passing of time means that I did 2 sets of Iaido regular and then did the last set with random kata thinking that it was almost over for class.

In Kendo class, we did suburi and okuri-ashi. Then we did some hard, repetitive waza with 5, 7, and 9 iterations each. It was men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, doh-ouchi, kote-men-ouchi, and kote-suriage-men. The new drill was to push the shinai aside and then strike men. You can mess it up if you over push the sword. We then finished with multiple 60-second ji-geikos. What a way to end a practice. I had more energy and stamina today than normal. I wasn’t push the to edge and that was comfortable. Last drill was kiri-kaeshi and that reminded me of my student not being present.