Sunday, 12 September 2004

September Kendo Seminar

The next time I pick a martial art to learn, I'm choosing one where you get to leave your shoes on. That is one of the take-home messages from the September Kendo seminar and grading held in Rockhampton, after having my footwork (suri ashi) alternately and endlessly admonished and corrected. The embarrassment and disappointment wouldn't matter so much - red faces fade quickly, but blisters remain. Ow!

Blisters aside, it was a good weekend. On both days I felt better at the end than at the beginning - that means either I got a lot out of it, or I wasn't working hard enough :p
We did work hard though. Kevin Humphrey described the seminar attendees as small in number but great in spirit. Now, if one were being overly cynical one might interpret that to be "er, well... you had a good try" and, to be objective and euphemistic, one must admit that the Rockhampton club is small and thus skillfully-challenged. However, I honestly believe Kevin and the other sensei weren't being condescending; that we all do give a jolly good try; and if there's anything good about being bad, it's that you can only get better!
I'm not saying we're bad... but we are surely getting better :)

One of the more interesting things we learnt was kihon waza kata. That's basic cutting techniques (kihon waza) taught in the form of precisely choreographed patterns (kata). This is apparently a new approach, and one that I find agreeable.
Kihon waza kata differs from your standard kihon waza in that it uses bokken (wooden sword) rather than shinai (bamboo sparring sword), and you therefore don't actually make contact with your partner because making contact with a wooden sword hurts. In that regard it is similar to your standard kendo kata.
But kihon waza kata differs from standard kendo kata in that it emphasises technique moreso than context. Standard kata is gracefully intricate, using particular techniques in particular situations; it's very much contextual. Kihon waza kata, in contrast, is quite bland and boring because it's all about the basic techniques.
Despite its bland face however, I expect kihon waza kata to prove itself to be a useful complement to kihon waza (using shinai and armour). It is necessarily more controlled and precise, because you really don't want to actually hit your friend. Which, er, I did. A bit. Accidentally!
Anyway, in conclusion I see all three training techniques working together harmoniously. Kihon waza kata teaches the basic techniques precisely; kihon waza teaches your muscles what it actually feels like to make and receive the cuts; and kata brings all the techiques you've learnt together with situational awareness.
And then, natually, in jigeiko (full armour, free sparring) you forget all that and flail, smash, and stomp your way to victory! Raaar!

Personally, I feel that I got a lot out of the seminar and grading. To be exact, I got:

  • A video CD of kihon-waza (basic techniques),

  • A 2004 Australian Kendo Championships t-shirt, long-sleeved,

  • Lots of yummy little sandwich triangles, and strawberry-and-cream lollies, and

  • My 5th kyu grade :D

Yay for loot!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Well I may have missed out on lollies and sandwhich triangles, but *I* had two slices of chocolate birthday mudcake. Bwahaha.