Andoru's Kendo Blog

Monday, December 27, 2004

An (unexpected) source of inspiration

Well it's been 5 days without kendo...and none for the next 7 days at least. I'm iching to train. But for now, mitori-keiko and suburis are all I can do.

I've been watching the match between Chikamoto and Ando over and over again in the hope that I might be able to pick-up better footwork technique, or even a hint or two, from the former. I was side-tracked by a thread in Kendo World where a link to a Japanase kendo club was posted. The club, Wakakusa Kendo Club, consists of primary school kids.

Out of curiosity, I ventured into the video page where a number of videos are hosted. Watched a few of the shiai....these kids have strong fighting spirit! Then I started watching the videos of this kid called Shohei.....OH MY GAWD!! Such excellent basics and fluid execution of waza, all coupled with such strong fighting spirit! That kid could kick alot of my club members, including myself. I am so impressed and inspired! That kid must have worked really hard to get where he is now. Could he be the future All Japan Champ?? We will see! Remember his name: 川田祥平

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Some breakthrough at last!


Well since my last post, I've been paying alot of attention to my feet positioning, and trying ways to keep them relaxed. Last Saturday, Mike pointed out to me that my left foot tends to twist when I launch into a cut. Point 1.

So back to kamae basics... been doing heaps of ashi-sabaki at home with and without the shinai to make sure that my left foot doesn't twist. I found that if my right sole is well planted (as in the heel is not raised), my feet feel more relaxed. I still lift the right heel slightly when I move though, as per what sensei says. So right foot is getting there, now off to the left...


While doing ashi-sabaki at home, I decided to wear the kote. After much practice without the kote, holding the shinai while wearing them did come across as slightly "weird". After some analysis, I realised that the palms of my kote haven't exactly broken-in to the proper shape. Had a look at the kote break-in guide from Chibabogu, and proceeded to work them in more. Left kote feels much more comfortable when holding the shinai, but I'd need to work the right one a tad more.


I jigeikoed Itakura sensei for the first time today and he said that he felt my seme, but I've "lost" it a few times. He said that I might have lost "en", which I agree. I was so focused on the footwork that I've neglected the others. Point 2.

The dojo is now closed for the holidays - the first training is on 8th Jan 2005. That's 17 days away! I'll have to find a way to train in the mean time!

Friday, December 17, 2004

This is my favourite shinai from e-bogu ("Musha") which I've been using since July. The shinai is so resilient, that there was no trace of splinters until November, and it has affected just 1 side of a slat. The hardest part about maintaining this shinai was my inability to remove the tsukagawa even after numerous attempts. This afternoon I wetted the tsukagawa slightly and put all efforts into it and voila - it came off. As can be seen from the photo, the tsuka is so pale compared to the rest. With the tsukagawa off, I can now rotate the slats, effectively extending its life.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Stupid calves!

I've been stretching my calves loads. Now they are sore. T_T Hopefully they'll be back to 100% tomorrow in time for the Anniversary Keiko and states training.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The spirit is willing but the body is weak...

Had one of those keiko session in which I was not able to do what I wanted to try because..well... the body wasn't up to it. More specifically, it's my legs' fault. I've been able to keep my upper body loose, but the calves in both legs were always tense and filled with lactic acid. I tried different foot positions e.g. lower the left heel slightly, try to main 50/50 weight distribution etc with only limited success. My left calf is usually the one most affected. I don't even know whether this is a medical issue, as in, I'm the only one affected by calves exhaustion, or, my foot positions.

What can I do to relax my calves? Sigh....

Otherwise tonight wasn't bad at all. Yoshi said that I'm doing "almost Japanese" kendo which is fabulous, especially coming from him!

Things to work on: practise more waza at jigeiko; create opportunities using different waza and exploit them; be adaptive to situation; be more efficient with footwork.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The author in action in his first individual shiai on 9th Oct 2004. He came second in his category. Posted by Hello

First Post

Watashiwa Andrew desu!
Yoroshiku oneigaishimasu!

Hi I'm Andrew from Sydney, Australia. I train at the Sydney Kendo Club and I'm the club president. I started kendo on Saturday 31st January 2004.

I started this blog because I reckon that it will help enormously in identifying things that I need to work on and to motivate me. It will also serves to remind me of the fundamental values of kendo.

As James Fennessy sensei says "shoshinsa no kokoro o wasurenai", I will always remember to "never forget the spirit of the beginner".