Thursday, October 27, 2011 - Session 40

Nihonme. Second Kata. Kote, Nuki-Kote. At least at this point in time, in my very short time practicing Kendo, this particular kata has had the most influence on my performance. It is the kata which introduced me to timing after all. In shiai keiko, the majority of my attacks start with the same drop that the uchidachi in the second kata uses. Not in response to a kote attack though. I simply find that I can best visualize my attacks when I first drop my own shinai below that of my opponent. When I first started doing this in keiko, it was being done to strike at the kote as in the form. But then I started going for a men attack as well. In part because I knew that it would not be what was expected but also because I am more confident striking for the men. Tonight I focused on striking for the do after that drop, to minimal success. Each time I went for the do, my brain paused for a moment because I was striking gyaku-do rather than the more standard do and Justin Senpai has told me (several times) that gyaku-do is not particularly appropriate at my current level. But it is the side that feels most natural when striking from that dropped position. Drop the shinai into gedan, bring it up along the right side (my left side) of the opposing shinai into jodan, and then down for gyaku-do, is basically what happened. No good. BUT! When I was in shiai keiko with Himitsuheiki Senpai (Joke: He is the best in our regular group and came outta nowhere but I cannot remember his name so I call him this as a joke and he is not Japanese) I managed to switch it up at the end and strike for men rather than gyaku-do, which he said confused him and which allowed me to strike a solid and clean men! Both he and Maestas Sensei said it was a very good men.


But I do feel that I am becoming more sneaky as I become more confident. I drop the shinai sometimes before an attack because I know that - in part - it helps to conceal the potential target that I am aiming for and such. Like intentional telegraphing or something, at least in my head. I know that it really is nowhere near as tricky as I imagine it to be in my lofty imaginings, of course! I want my Kendo to be more direct than that. But it does help me visualize more effectively for whatever reason. Amaury Senpai suggested that I feel more comfortable dropping my shinai before a strike because I am so keen on gedan-no-kamae and the drop allows me to switch from chudan to gedan just before attacking, and I think he is right on that count. It makes sense in part because Maestas Sensei told me that I am too receptive in my keiko and that I play almost exclusively on the outer boundaries rather than fighting for a more central position like I should. I am all reaction and very little proaction. I agree. I really do like gedan a lot and my hope is that I will someday be able to successfully play in that stance and put its value on display, but I also know that (as with any stance other than chudan) my first priority needs to be chudan. I need to become very strong with chudan before I can begin entertaining other stances. And not just in the actual position but in the mentality as well! Right now I am only reacting because I am an instinctively reactive person. I cannot truly entertain a reactive and receptive stance until I am good at acting aggressively, until I can proactively react. Does that make sense? I think it must be like that little half step that people at my level (including me) take before fumikomi. Technically, it is proper footwork. But not at our level. We need to be able to do proper fumikomi before we can do that little half step with intention. The same goes for gedan and reactive technique, or at least that is what I have been told.

A great practice overall.

1 comment:

  1. I believe, from my own experience and what I have seen in others, that it's normal to be "reactive" when we first start doing jigeiko with others. I know that personally all I did when I first started was to wait for the other person to initiate an attack and then I would react to them, because I was too nervous and not confident enough to start the attack on my own. So I think that for most people as they get more confident with their attacks and techniques that they will start initiating the attacks more frequently and learn to be "aggressive" with their Kendo.

    This is, of course, my own opinion, but I know that I, too, had to learn to be aggressive and confident and outgoing with my Kendo.