Thursday, October 15, 2011

Back when I first started Kendo (oh those many sage months ago, when I was yet but still a child and unlearned in the ways of the world) I had my pride assaulted. Assaulted is actually a strong word. More like poked. My pride was poked. I had heard several men in the online Kendo community go on about upper body strength limits and so forth. Because my pride was poked in this way, I wound up committing to using the heaviest shinai I could find. I had actually started out with a pretty standard size 39 practice shinai intended for women from the E-Bogu website, and it actually did feel heavy to me when I had first started despite being on the light side at only 460 grams or an approximate single pound. But that quickly changed and the shinai now feels light as a feather when I hold it and its grip feels much too thin. Which seems to limit my awareness of the shinai in space due to poor proprioception or something like that. So, after the previously said pride poking, my first shinai was ditched (and later scrapped for parts) and I traded up to the ise bessaku shinai and its approximate 530 grams weight. It definitely helped train up my arms and it was a definite adjustment. Now I tend to switch between the ise bessaku and the kamakura shinai which has even more weight in it. Consider both very much recommended. The ise bessaku is my favorite for life.

But times change. Oh yes! People mature and pride can sometimes be set aside. Well that or a person can realize that - unless she really commits to doing some intense strength training - simply swinging a heavier shinai will never really get her to a point where she can wield the heavier varieties as though they are nothing at all. Humility, friends! Humility and frugality! At the moment the ise bessaku I practice with is actually using a slat from my very first shinai, which made for some interesting weight distribution in the resulting frankenshinai that I made. It is simply an expensive shinai to replace seeing as it costs about a quarter of my current paycheck. Woe to the part-timer! No. Scratch that. About a third. It is about a third of my paycheck. I need more hours. Anyways, at this point I am considering picking up a few of those that I first used and see whether or not I can perform better with something lighter in my hands that I can actually move about with some speed. I can definitely practice katate more effectively at least! But lest you think I am finally sweeping aside the chip I have on both shoulders, stand corrected! I will keep on with my ise frankenshinai for practice outside keiko and I might just start hitting the weights at the gym again. In fact! I can even do ten push-ups now, which is ten more than I was able to do one month ago! I am such a beast. Oh yeah!


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