« Archives in June, 2014

Fixing kamae and unspoken words.

kamae-captureOn Monday night, I think I fixed a very important element of my chudan kamae. Not that I do anything else except maybe a bit of gedan after sensei did it to me but I realised something about my right kote position. Yet again, this is something that has probably been told to me over and over again but I never made the connection until now. You are told to make sure that your left hand holds the shinai with that very bent wrist position, the hand straight down the kensen, so that when you strike, the arm is straight with the shinai. All good, got that, but what about the right? That’s the one that gets attacked all the time, or at least in my case it did.

I realised that my right hand has been drifting round quite significantly and exposing my kote to attack. Sensei attacks it all the time, obviously highlighting it with me. He’s never told me not to do it, but by always attacking the exposed kote, he’s been telling me another way. Once I moved my hand around, my kote was attacked less.

This took me think back to when we were visited by Sensei Bell who fights nito. I came back with my right wrist about twice the size it was when I left. Because kote was completely exposed.

So despite that fact we are always being told not to use the right hand to move the shinai, it still needs to be adequately thought about in terms of position and movement. This also made me realise that it’s not just about the words you tell someone when you teach them things, it’s also about the physical feedback and methods you employ that communicate just as much. Kendo is physical, communicate physically and well as verbally.wrist_bruise





Kirikaiesh, tai-atari and consistency.


There seems to be some sort of issue around tai-atari at the moment. All over the place I see people saying that it shouldn’t be done or it should be done during kirikaiesh. The thing is that this is coming from higher level sensei and it makes it very confusing for newer kendoka.

One of the things that gets hammered into you about kirikaiesh is that it is meant to be a complete demonstration of your kendo. So if you’re not meant to be doing tai-atari then how is it a complete exercise any more?

My sensei and shihan always have taught a proper tai-atari and for those of you that do expect a proper response to it from motodachi will know how annoying it is when you don’t get it.

The 3 main men cuts in kirikaiesh are meant to be done at full speed. This is why on the last one, motodachi moves out of the way so kakarite can go through. So if you don’t get a proper tai-atari response on the first 2 it screws up kirikaiesh.

The best person to do kirikaiesh against should feel like hitting a brick wall. They take the men cut and resist you with everything they can. If they step back there’s nothing to stop you properly, the distance and timing gets all screwed up and the rest of the kirikaiesh is rubbish. It also encourages people to step back too much and another thing that gets hammered into you is to not step back when facing an opponent.

So, for the sake of helping the training of your fellow kendoka and for consistency, do a proper tai-atari.