Where to begin?

I have never written a blog before, so im not sure where to start...

I suppose I will start with the advice given to me by three of my Sempai at the end of last year. (all three are Sandan, two of whom will be able to try Yondan in February 2012)

First Sempai: After a Club Shiai around Christmas time. (This was sent in an email, and was quite a surprise to me, as he went into an awful lot of detail)

"I watched your fights on Sunday. Your chosen technique - hold the centre line and go straight. Your kamae and tame was good. But you are probably saying why isn’t this working as much as I would like or why am I not the champion? Do you realise how difficult the centre line is to learn. Do you realise how long you will have to do this. You have to learn to judge distance and time in different circumstances along a straight line where its most difficult to judge distance. When debana when kaeshi when kote men etc.

So what you can do with a problem with no immediate solution is “manage it"

His advice was then to keep a Keiko Diary, make notes on how long I made seme and tame, and to what result? He said the results were not as important as the process,but by starting to analyse my Kendo, I would begin to improve.

Following this, he made another suggestion, I MUST LEARN TO EXPLODE

No training is wasted in learning to explode – the warm up is not wasted because it keeps you from injury – suburi is not wasted – uchikomi – kakarigeiko everthing leads to explosive forward movement with the cut. It makes the cut faster and earlier. Good kamae and technique ensure its in the correct place.

Train train train !!!

Second Sempai: Always modest, his answer was not aimed at a critique of my keiko or anything like that, but i think his is the best advice!

In 1975… few years before you were born… Japanese Kendo federation had same problem as you have now…. They met.. and were wondering… Do we do the right thing? Samurais are long time gone… What we trying to teach/learn here? What we are trying to do here?  We just created an art based on 1000 years old tradition of Japanese sword… are we doing it right? So what we are Hachi dans… there are centuries of Great Sword fighters behind… What we should do ???
You see they were also looking for advise and feedback are they doing it right…

In the same year 1975… they created the concept of Kendo, So no one in the future will be confused and lost again  And if you do or are not certain if you do right or wrong…

Here is they guideline… how to be sure…

The Concept of Kendo

To mold the mind and body.
To cultivate a vigorous spirit,
And through correct and rigid training,
To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo.
To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor.
To associate with others with sincerity.
And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

Thus will one be able:
To love ones country and society
To contribute to the development of culture
And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples

Third Sempai:

I have gotten faster this year, but now using speed rather than technique. I need to learn to use speed at the right distance and not to just use speed to force openings and mow people down.

He gave me two pieces of advice:
Focus on power and accuracy
More power and refined aggression


So, what have I taken from this advice?

I believe my first step should be to improve my explosiveness, and also to improve my spirit and stamina through pushing harder in keiko. I have been giving absolutely everything, every session for months now, and I really feel like my kendo has come forwards.

The next step for me is the Diary. Ill be honest, I  haven't started it yet, but, I have just finished my degree, so I have been more focused on study for that then Kendo. I will begin, starting tonight! YOSH!

Following this, I need to being to work on seme (especially for Debanna men) I will also try to work on the advice on the thrid Sempai, to keep my composure, create openings with pressure or waza and use speed to execute the final technique.

Hopefully, this blog will be an encouragement for me to record things, and hopefully some kendoka will stumble upon it and offer their advice or own experiences!

I hope I do not come across as arrogant in some of the things I say, kendo is for life, I know none of this wil happen over night!

Hence the name!