Samstag, 12. Januar 2008

Locker room stories

I must confess that my summer break was quite a long one. Though I am back for now . Of course I practised all the time since summer and didn't stop at all. We even went to Kangeiko, the probably most important Kendo seminary in Germany.

Today we prepared for the upcoming tournament in Magedburg and did a technique training. I preferred to practice Men-Debana-Men to get a feeling for the timing. There are a lot of indicators to recognise before a strike starts, like preparing movement and closer distance. I tried to concentrate on the other players mind. It is really difficult but you receive a lot of information looking in the others eyes. Learning to read the opponents mind and see his steps before he will do them is a very difficult thing to learn. Of course you can force a persons to act in a way you like with Seme and pressure, but the first described feelings are more elegant. Combining both is absolutely necessary. Afterwards I concentrated on Men-Kiriotoshi-Men which is a technique to prepare and understand Suriage-Men. Sometimes I miss the right point being either to early or to late. Kiriotoshi is very powerful and I'll focus on this technique quite a while because I like it and can combine it with my timing practice. Techniques against Kote work pretty well as I optimised my own Kote strike in the last weeks a bit.

To prepare for our tournament we continued practising opportunities with Kote-Men or Kote-Do. After a Kote strike the Motodachi either tried to protect his Men or not. If he did this was the opportunity to strike do, if he didn't we just go for Men. This is great exercise to practice reaction, body-eye control and realising strikes in a very short time period. However the success or correctness of this exercise is heavily affected by the Motodachi. If he raises his arms too late you'll probably go for Men before. I'll continue practising this exercise in the next training sessions and might extend it a little bit. For example the Motodachi tries to block the Kote strike or if the Kakari hits Kote perfectly he might show Zanshin afterwards instead of doing another strike which might be incorrect or risky.

'Inuff' about Kendo. After training we are a really crazy mob. Singing while having a shower. We have two favourite songs so far. I also searched for the lyrics, maybe we can learn them to act more professional.
  • We will rock you (Queen) [lyrics]
  • The Lion sleeps tonight [lyircs]
Finally an awesome picture of our pecking order. (like Kohai-Sempai system)
From top to bottom:
  1. Stephan
  2. Me
  3. Tino & Patrick
  4. Alex, Conny & Sebastian

Donnerstag, 16. August 2007

What is Zanshin

Ivan posted about Zanshin...
well for me Zanshin is the "total control over a situation". Mentally and Physically.
In Kendo I also imagine a state of control about the others mind, body and life. Of course! Because, we are talking about swords, not bamboo sticks.
Anyhow Zanshin is also the same state as before the strike. You only have the chance to show your strike was not a lucky reaction or something similar. Seme and Zanshin are beginning and end at once. The state if your mind is important, not the point of time.

What is Zanshin for you??

Sonntag, 22. Juli 2007

Summer Break

Tomorrow I'll travel to the Baltic Sea and take a vacation. We do a little bit Kendo too, but mainly I want to do a little summer break and relax at the beach. I hope the weather will be nice, because the prognosis weren't good yet.

After my trip to the Baltic Sea, I'll go to Budapest and participate at the Hungary Cup. The next three weeks I'll be far away, maybe I have some time blog though.
Anyway I'll be back in three weeks. :)

Donnerstag, 19. Juli 2007

Race against the Clock - Pushing Endurance

Some days ago I bought a pulse computer and did my first run now. It's awesome and a lot of fun. The track I have chosen is 4,4 km long and I needed 23:53 min. In the beginning I felt very well and I wasn't too fast, but the last kilometre was quite exhausting.
Long-term endurance is not as important as in other sports because the muscles are trained for steady, continues use of power. After some minutes the anaerobic system gets active. This metabolism allows long and continues burden of muscles.
In Kendo you need an activation of the maximum power as fast as possible, what is only possible with aerobic work of the muscles. Therefor I only do a short training but with higher intense. My pulse computer allows me to find the optimal rhythm for running. I based my calculation on a simple formula:
(180 - age) +/- 10 = 156 - 176
It's not useful for person beginning with doing sports, but that's not my case. I had an average heart frequency of 176 this time and I'll probably reduce it a little bit next time.
Anyway... I am on the run now.

Sonntag, 15. Juli 2007

4th KenVO Squad Training

Yesterday the 4th KenVO Squad Training took place in Leipzig. I got up 6:10 am in the morning and met with Stephan at 6:50. I went out of the house earlier than I do it on weekdays. We met the others (namely Tino, Patrick, Liv, Lilli and Elisa) and went to Leipzig.
We started the training with a normal warm-up and probably ten-times Kirikaeshi. Then we did basic strikes in different variations, but not in the easy way. On the first whistle we had to do Kiai and keep the tense in our bellies, this tense is also shown by stopping breathing. On the second whistle we had to execute three strikes in a row without breathing. Very exhausting. To calm down a little bit the next exercise was Tsuki. In the beginning slowly, then faster ending up with Ai-Tsuki (both try Tsuki at the same time on command).
I did a good job at the Tsuki training and I didn't feel uncomfortable anymore. Anyway our trainer had some good advices for me.
  • execute the thrust with the hip
  • Fumikomi-Ashi is very important
  • I shouldn't care about my arms that much, just naturally raise them
After some more exercises and a little break we did some more technique training. This time Nuki-Do. In the beginning the motodachi started with a Tsuki and at the same time we executed Do. It became more difficult with every round and we ended up with Men-Nuki-Do.
My timing and the step side-wards and even the Do strike work quite well. The real problem is the Zanshin after the strike, my arms don't do what I want them to do and I get stuck. I really have to improve the movement of my arms and body after the Do strike.
It wasn't exhausting enough and we started the final showdown before our mid-break: Suburi of all types, Double-Naname-Suburi on command, Koshiwari (very hard). We all felt like dying, even our friends from Berlin being invited to this training. But, this was not enough. Again Koshiwari in a very special manner anybody knew before: Koshiwari with jumping and without stretching the body to relax. Well... now some Hayu-Suburi. We survived.

After 1:20h we started again, just a short break to take a breath. We did Mawari-Geiko and Jigeiko. I met all important persons for Geiko and one of the final rounds I met, as always, our trainier Tomo. He always forces me to strike with his strong centre and his dangerous Maai.I have no time to relax at least a bit. Strike after strike. My body felt so weak even before we started and after two minutes of bleeding I felt like dying. I gasped for air and he said:
You are weak. Gasping for air is NOT a problem. Invest everything you have into one strike, its not a problem if you fell down after the strike. Overwhelm the weakness of your body with strength of your heart and fighting spirit.
Its not like I am not able to fight, but it's meant to be able to cope with very strong Kenshi on high national and even international level. Another reason why I started my extra conditional training.

Anyway we survived this day, but it was not enough. There was a kind of sport event in town and we have been invited to present Kendo. Again those wet clothes, our muscles felt like pain. The only reason to smile was a free meal and drinks. It wasn't enough though and we did a, almost traditional, stop at Macess (McD) afterwards.

Puh... what a journey. Big thanks to all who take part on this, especially Dresden's Kenshi, and of course our friends from Berlin.