First day back (or: getting back to where I was)

•13 September, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It was a while and boy (!!), by the end of training last night, did I know it.

It had been a while since I was at training. My wife had been suffering from post-natal depression and so, from my point of view, I had to circle the wagons until I felt that that particular situation was better. It now is and I can now return to regular training.

I was excited in getting back to training – amongst other things I had my very first set of bogu to use. Contrastly, was I ready for the slight change in a Wednesday night training regime?

In short, no. No, I wasn’t.

After a ladder session for aerobic warm-up, we moved to stretches and the like. We moved through some men waza, including hayasuburi and then proceeded to rei. This was followed by what amounts to a training session that sees a gradual push towards free jigeiko. This saw us working through a strucutred approach to kiri-kaeshi but also looking at other cuts, such as kote and do. The excerise that finished me for a good 20 minutes was one where we had to strike men with a particular rhythym. I went as well I could. My motodachi wanted me to go faster when it was his turn. I don’t think I met his standard. It was at that point that I had to disengage and rest.

While I was disappointed at not getting through the entire training session without sitting out for a chunk of time, I am glad that I did. One of the things that people talk about in kendo training is pushing yourself beyond your limit. This is fine. To an extent. I had not been at training for some months and I knew that if I pushed myself too hard, I would do myself an injury.

What am I going to do about this?

Well, the club runs a beginner’s course and they are starting tonight in bogu for the first time. To help acclimatise, I am going to attend training tonight and work hard to get back into the swing of it all. This is important to do. The intensity of the beginners course will not be the same, I am sure, as last night’s training so it will be a good session to attend as I put myself back into regular training. One friend last night agreed. He said it was a good idea to go as I would feel my progress increase steadily rather than in fits and starts (and with all the frustration that it brings).

I also apologise to my fellow kendoka last night for not being able to maintain the energy needed for good kendo and for good participation. I will be working hard to get back to where I was.

New bogu

•7 September, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I just received a text message from my wife: “A great big box from Japan has just been delivered for you… :-)”

New bogu order has just arrived!!!!!

Excited. Much.

Kendo culture – in 300 words, what are the five things you love about it?

•29 September, 2011 • Leave a Comment
  1. Camaraderie  – Camraderie in Kendo is always amazing! Last night, as I was lining up to thank our sensei for training, the kendoka in the queue ahead of me turned around and said “Hi Tim! Nice to see you again. It’s been a while. How have you been?” There was a sense of never having even left. In the second dojo after training, the group just chatted about a whole range of things – the Rugby World Cup match that was on TV at that time to how my PhD was going to what NOT to do when you play against someone who is playing jodan.
  2. Physicality – Kendo is a physical sport – and it’s fun. I am not massively into sports and so to be into something like kendo has meant that I am taking an active interest in my physical health and well-being. This is definitely a good thing!
  3. History, philosophy and heritage – Descended from the art of swordsmanship practiced by the samurai, Kendo has a strong sense of history and a great philosophy behind it. Its history, philosophy and heritage are at the centre of its practice.
  4. Different – When people ask me “What do you play?” or “What sport do you do?”, they are surprised. I quite like that; it fits with my character I guess!
  5. A martial art – I have been attracted to martial arts for as long as I can remember. I started with Karate, many years ago. I trained for a year or two with Goju-kai Karate. I really enjoyed it but it was too difficult to manage in competition with compulsory school sport on a Saturday. My interest in martial arts and all things Japan continued, however, and it was not too long before I was wondering whether it was possible to practice Kendo in Sydney.

Kendo 2011 Redux (2)

•22 September, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So, last week was the Sydney Kendo Club’s AGM.

This week saw me back in bogu and back at training.

Wonderful!

For the most part, I felt relaxed and in control of my kendo. After the warm-up (including 100 hayasuburi), training started with kiri-kaeshi. It included men kiri-kaeshi as well as do kiri-kaeshi. Once we completed several rounds of this we moved to kihon-waza. In particular, there was a focus on men but also kote-men cuts. My favourite technique (of the moment, at any rate) was also something we looked at. That is, harai-waza. In particular, harai-men was practised.

I will admit, towards the end, I had to stop. We are fighting colds at home at the moment and with 20 minutes to go, I suddenly felt quite light headed. On the advice of my sensei I took off my men and sat out jigeiko. However, all in all it was a good night’s training and it was great to finally get back to it. I had had a very positive session with my PhD supervisor only a couple of hours before, my sister had given birth to her second child (a baby boy) several hours before that so it ended up being an excellent way of finishing up the day!

Saturday’s training will be missed this week on account of being in Canberra for a conference at ANU but next Wednesday is not that far away!!

Kendo Kata

•15 September, 2011 • 1 Comment

In the AGM last night there was some discussion about kata. Here is an 8 minute video that shows all 10 forms of kata.

2011 Kendo Redux (1)

•15 September, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It has been a while since I posted about specific training experiences on this blog.

About 6 months in fact.

A little embarrassing – more so when this equates to the same amount of time I have been away from training. With all the best intentions in the world, I started this year with the desire to “make a comeback”. It has not happened. This seems to be my lot with Kendo for the past year or so. It tracks back to when my routine for training was disrupted by a mid-foot sprain following the first SKC3 Tournament. In one sense this raises the interesting point about how important it is to keep to routine and to make sure, as I once posted, that if you don’t feel like going to Kendo, you go to Kendo anyway. Unfortunately, I have not been heeding my own advice. It has resulted in what I thought would happen… any little excuse made it possible for me to miss training and now I feel right out of it.

NOT THIS WEEK!!!!!

While training was not on this evening, the club’s Annual General Meeting most certainly was. I attended in order to support my club. I also thought it would be a good way of getting 2011 Kendo Redux underway!

That said, I have been posting on this blog. I’ve been attempting to meet the challenge set down by WordPress.com in relation to making one post to my blog per week (at least anyway). The topics that have been covered between the last time I posted on training experiences and the like and now are responses to suggested topics – admittedly, they have been ‘altered’ so they are appropriate for a blog about kendo.

Anyway, with Saturday morning training out of the picture this week due to a petting zoo visiting my daughter’s preschool, and parents having to go along, I will have to wait one more week before getting back into bogu and enjoying the sport that is Kendo.

What mistake or mistakes in kendo have I learnt from? (or: The time I forgot about mitori-geiko)

•1 September, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The single mistake in kendo from which I have learnt recently is to do with not having a routine.

No rocket science with this one.

In essence, the mistake I made was after the first SKC3s Tournament when I stopped going regularly. If ever there was something to prove the vacuum principle, this was it. The “vacuum work” principle states that if there is available space, there will be an increase in work load to fill that space. So, applied to my situation, I stopped going to training regularly and the result was that work (in this instance PhD work as well as school work) grew to fill the void.

In kendo there is what is called mitori-geiko. This is learning and progressing by watching the keiko of others. During the process, one evaluates the strong and weak points of their example. When I was injured, instead of training, and therefore exacerbating my injury, I should have attended the dojo for the sake of others. Thinking about it now, I could have simply watched and given feedback (despite being a kyu grade) or I could have taken my camera and taken some photos. In the spirit of mitori-geiko, my presence could have been an encouragement to others. I may not have been training but there could have been an instance where in being at training – even if I didn’t actually train – was helpful to a newcomer to the club because I was a familiar face.

It was a mistake. I stopped going to kendo training regularly, despite in my head I was thinking all the time “the sport I play is kendo”. It is not a mistake I am going to make again.