Personal Notes from Kaida sensei’s seminar

The following is a personal interpretation based on notes taken during the recent seminar. Any errors in interpretation are solely mine 🙂
Elements of Grading:
  • Chakusou – care should be given on how we wear our gi, hakama and bogu. Neatness and proper attention to detail are fundamental
  • Reiho (etiquette & manners) – kendo begins and ends with rei. Proper bowing & sonkyo reflects upon one’s kendo
  • Battou (how to draw your sword / shinai) – the drawing of ones shinai should be done simultaneously as one takes the third step and goes into sonkyo in one smooth motion. A common error is to draw first then only squat down.
  • Kensaki (sword tip) – sense your opponent’s intent through contact between your shinai and his/hers. Strive to dominate or impose your will.
  • Distance – take proper maai
  • Shout / vocalization – a loud and vigorous shout is desired. It stimulates one’s spirit and can intimidate one’s opponent
  • Opportunity – learn to strike at the correct opportunity
  • Degashira – strive to master timing and pre-empt your opponent’s imminent strike
  • Development – understand how a bout develops:
    • Shikake – attacking waza
      • Single cut – strive to cut properly using wrist motion. Sashimen is generally not a good habit.
      • Multiple cuts
    • Oujiwaza
    • Haraiwaza
    • Hikiwaza
    • Nukiwaza
    • Suriagewaza
    • Degashirawaza
    • Kaeshiwaza
    • Uchiotoshiwaza

*if the sequence of above look familiar to you, it’s because they’re part of the bokuto ni yoru keikohou – strive to apply the wazas directly in your shinai practice.

  • Noutou – keeping your shinai / sheathing your sword

Elements of Shiai:

  • Mental / heart: be mindful and cultivate a strong spirit and mental state.
  • Eyes & head (brains): observe your opponent and learn to strategize
  • Feet (footwork): good footwork is the basis of kendo. Keep your base stable and move with purpose and intent
  • Sword / sword tip: sense your opponent’s shinai with your own. Use it as well to dominate and suppress him / her
  • Technique: use the right techniques for the situation
  • Speciality: master a repertoire of techniques you think you are good at to give you the winning edge. Have a balanced mix of shikake waza and counter wazas
  • Persistence (having the last word): strive to have the last cut in an exchange
  • Distance: be mindful of distance in order to execute techniques properly
  • Experience: the more practice one gets, the better sense one has.
  • Health: cultivate a healthy body so that one can perform to one’s best abilities
  • Personal character / bearing: cultivate good character and bearing
  • Honesty: be honest in your kendo.
Keiko (what ties it all together)

  • Practice method: have a target & purpose in your practice and always review against it. Be aware of the intent of specific practices
  • Basics
  • Uchikomi
  • Kakari
  • Hikitate: when practicing against your senseis / motodachi, strive to go all out and perform your best techniques correctly. Don’t hold back or treat it like a shiai. As a motodachi, respect your kakarite’s effort and do not be half hearted or resort to bullying or excessive roughness.
  • Gokaku (equal): when practicing with someone of your own skill level, try all your techniques to see what works.
  • Mitori: cultivate one’s own power of observation by observing others in practice. Strive to emulate superior examples and reflect on what doesn’t look good so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

Last but not least: ZANSHIN – make it a habit to complete your cuts and take zanshin (even if you missed)

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