More videos, iaido stuff, kata training, indoor shinai + more
Great training this morning everyone.
Things to aim for in your home training:
- accuracy - have something to aim for when you cut; also practice tsuki and the action of hikite (thanks Ben F.!) pulling your right fist back to your hip strongly then grasping the handle again without looking.
- sharpness and stillness: senior people especially should aim for quick, sharp movements that return to stillness and relaxation in the body very quickly: in footwork, body movement and the action of the cut.
- strength practice: do suburi from sonkyo to develop core strength and also strength in your feet and ankles.
Above is a picture of my indoor suburi shinai, made from a single shinai cut in half (thanks to Soon for the idea). I just cut the blade in half then bound the top half to the bottom half using old nakayui. I had to shave the tip a little to fit it into the original sakigawa. Feel free to use tape instead if you want.
Thanks to Andrew E for these two vids. The second one is especially good. The sword style demonstrated in the second one is Yakumaru Jigen Ryu. I believe the kenshi who demonstrates the tameshigiri in this video is the current headmaster. I really like his movement: he generates a lot of power without overdoing the follow through but keeps it contained and focused.
Even when we come out of lockdown I think iai is going to stay a major part of our training. I think it might end up becoming a permanent addition to our training even when a full vaccine is developed that allows us to do full Kendo again.
So to that end I recommend that everyone purchases a kaku-obi and a plastic saya to go with their bokuto.
The link to the saya purchase is https://kendoshop.com/Product/Category/list/cid/37
The link to the obi purchase is https://tozandoshop.com/collections/iaido-obi/products/nishijin-cotton-kaku-obi?variant=34282119495813
This channel is one of my current favourites and it has really come into its own during lockdown. Anna Film Production makes simple, beautiful videos that 'walk' around various beautiful regions of Japan. If you have great internet speeds you can even watch them in 4K! There's no talking, just great ambient music and beautiful photography that is as close as we can get to visiting Japan right now.
One of my favourites is this one of the Onsen in Gumma Prefecture which was the inspiration for Yubab's Bathhouse in Miyazaki's "Spirited Away". Yes it really exists!!
Here's a great scene from the 2002 film "Twilight Samurai" (Tasogare seibei). You'll recognise the main character played by Hiroyuki Sanada. In the film he is a practitioner of 'Toda Ryu', a style which specialises in the use of the kodachi. And those who have done kodachi Kendo kata will recognise some of the techniques.
Getting back to Kendo, you can never watch too many Japanese police kendo training videos! Here is the Osaka Police and a look a their training drills and then a close-up of individual waza by some of their best kenshi. It's in Japanese but you can learn a lot from just watching.
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