step toward leading foot.
So, right foot to the opponent
step toward leading foot.
So, right foot to the opponent
Since coming back home, I’ve been going to both NYC kendo club and HMK, although with recent family life events… I’ve been going just to NYC kendo club for the past month. At NYC, I’ve been learning quite a bit about Jodan from Kataoka sensei. So this is my updated “how to train for Jodan” guide. I still recommend doing haya suburi with feet reversed.
[As an aside, I will say this – having a proper jodan teacher and an environment where people are encouraging me to hit harder and faster and continue upon this path is something I’ve come to be immensely grateful of. The kendoists here have been helpful and so kind with both my jodan and chudan, and I’ve progressed more in several months than I have in the past year. Until I’m MUCH more dialed in (Kataoka sensei mentioned “like machine” or “without thinking” about the basics, I’ve been doing most of my geiko with chudan. I’ll write something about chudan… sometime. But NYC has been great for my chudan as well.]
Notes on katate-men
Notes on katate-kote:
Something I’ve found interesting is practicing without kiai. I like it. It helps keep me loose and relaxed throughout the strikes. I’ve been told to start kiai only when fatigue starts settling in.
Pen: Lamy 2000, F
Ink: Sailor Jentle Oku-yama (Remote Mountain Burgundy)
The Lamy 2000 is one of those pens that almost every fountain pen enthusiast seems to own, yet never recommends. Despite owning a number of other fountain pens, I never sprung for one until now, primarily due to the annoyance of having to ship it to a professional to get the nib looked at. But due to the amount of writing I have been, and will be, doing lately, I had the urge to go FP shopping again. I wanted a pen that wasn’t too flashy, something I could use in the classroom, on the bus, and in a café, without drawing too much attention. Between the Pilot Vanishing Point and the Lamy 2000, I opted for the 2000 mainly for the ink capacity.
I’m happy to say the pen has no issues. After flushing a couple times with warm water, I inked it up with a new bottle of ink, and went to work. I foresee many years of comfortable writing with the 2000. My only wish is that I had had it when I was writing my thesis. 🙂
On the ink: This is my first red ink. It is a perfect red/burgundy for me. Not too red, easy on the eyes, yet still visible, and dries a bit darker.
God, watching Takenouchi and Ando here is just PAINFUL. You can see Furukawa-sensei in the background though!
Attack and counterattack as one.
攻返一如 means that there is no difference in attacking and counterattacking and, in fact, are one and the same. This stems from the concept of “indomitable spirit”, where the kendoist, even in physical defeat, does not show defeatism of the mind or spirit. Although kendo is a physical martial arts, it is more accurate to call it the physical manifestation of a spiritual one; thus, during geiko, 심사, and shiai (competitions), it is a battle of spiritual prowess, where one attempts to spiritually and mentally conquer the opponent, which results in the physical result of one senshu obtaining ippon over the other. Therefore, 攻返一如 represents the constant fighting spirit of the kendoist.
攻返一如 entails several principles of kendo. One of the most profound implications is that there is no difference between offense and defense. Practically speaking, the sword of a kendoist who is attacking is a sword that is defending, and the sword of a kendoist who is defending is counterattacking. As such, there is no difference in the mindset of a kendoist, no matter her position.
Philosophically, one can read攻返一如 as the mindset that a kendoist is always creating or actively looking for the opening to strike. This creates a poignant dichotomy between the concepts of “counterattacking” and “defense”.
The defensive sword is one that waits for the opportunity to arise. Thus, the defensive sword is a passive sword. This runs counter to the indomitable fighting spirit of the kendoist, as it represents an already defeated spirit – the passive sword is one that embodies Shikai (四 戒), the four sicknesses of kendo. It shows fear, doubt, and hesitation and is thus likely to be surprised. Here, I have shown that the defensive sword is a passive one and that the attacking sword is an active one. Then, we can state the following:
Thus, combining (1), (2), and (3), one could reason that counterattacking is not defense, and is therefore displays the correct spirit of the kendoist.
Taking a closer look at this reasoning, one can reason that counterattacking is not defense because it is not borne of a defensive and defeated spirit. In counterattacking, one can see the same qualities of attacking, where with seme (攻め), the kendoist attempts to make an opening via a combination of San-sappo (三殺法), killing the sword, the technique, and/or the spirit.
攻返一如 is a difficult concept for me to display in my own kendo, especially in 중단. My sword is often not a counterattacking one, but a defending one. This is because my “counter attacks” are not borne of an indomitable spirit and the desire to attack, but the desire to not lose. My sword is often a waiting one, drooping and weak, not lively and pressuring – therefore, as the sword is representative of my mind and spirit, they must also be defensive, weak and passive. Physically, this results in my body leaning backwards with my weight on my back leg, which further lends itself to passivity and defensiveness.
For me to be able to embody the concept of攻返一如, I must put my focus on attacking more than counterattacking. This is because it is easy to become passive while counterattacking, but it is harder to be passive while actively attacking. Once I can begin to understand “attack”, only then can I truly commit to “counterattacking” without falling into passivity and defensiveness.
Use the front foot as the guide. Go straight with the foot and the shinai tip will follow.
This improved my accuracy with the tsuki on an open target from 4-7/10 to a 9/10 immediately, even with close to geiko speed.