Degeiko - Konnoh Dojo report!

On Saturday the 18th I went to morning practice at Konnoh Dojo right near Shibuya Station.
This isnt my usual dojo so going to this kind of practice is called "Degeiko (出稽古)" literally going out practice in Japanese!

Practice starts at 10:15 every Saturday morning and focuses heavily on kihon and uchikomi. most of the participants are kids and parents and the practice had a really nice atmosphere because of it!

Dojo at Konnoh

Practice began with stretching and warm up, followed by seritetsu and the usual mokuso and opening reigi. After this we each grabbed a zokin (cleaning rag), tucked our hakama up and cleaned the floor! Both kids and adults (even the Sensei) lined up, and as one dashed the length of the the dojo floor kiai-ing as we went! It was hard work!

Kids cleaning the Dojo Floor. (there are some committed parents in there too!)

After cleaning it was time for some core exercise!! Fifty each of sit ups and superman stretches! Its been a while since I've done superman stretching but I can really feel the benefit of it now (3 days later!!) Id recommend it to dojos to maybe add it to their warm up once or twice a week. It will strengthen the lower back which will help with cutting from the hips.

Ashisabaki and Suburi were both done with bokken rather than shinai. Ashisabaki practice was simple enough, move in the direction commanded, and then up and down the dojo. We moved on to suburi after this with fifty each of the following.

- Jouge Suburi - Large cuts from jodan to gedan (up to down)
- Zenshin Men Suburi  - (Zenshin means forward) so cutting men, and then stepping back to kamae with Zanshin!
- Zenshin Koate Men Suburi  - (Kotae means return, or step back in this case) Cutting men on boththe forward and back step.
- Zenshin Koate Sayu Men Suburi - Cutting Sayu men (alternating diagonal cuts to the side of your opponents head)
- Matawari Suburi - Squating Suburi - spread you legs, raise your sword to jodan and cut to about kote level while lowering your body in a squat like movement. Keep your chin tucked in, back straight and extend your arms correctly for the cut.

Rounding off with 30 Hayasuburi (jumping suburi). We immediately put on our bogu and started lining up for kihon practice.
Squat Suburi - From Chuo University Kendo club homepage.

Making groups of three, in front of the eight or so Sensei, kids and adults mixed together with the kids in front, after performing your cuts or waza you moved on to the back of the next group.

We started with Kirikaeshi, slower at first while striking the Sensei's men rather than shinai about two times each. Then regular Kirikaeshi another two times each. Next was four sets of men, first with a large swing, and then with a smaller cut, about two sets each with three cuts.
Uchikomi was next, each attacker had about 15 seconds where the Sensei would show openings for us to attack. This was and excellent session, the Sensei really pushed everyone, you got a small rest in between before being put through the mill by the next Sensei, I made it through all of the Sensei once, and then about half way through them before "Jigeiko" was called.

I was well and truly banjo-ed after that!! But no rest for the guest, I was immediately asked by someone for keiko! It took me a while to get my rythm, as both of us were still in uchikomi mode, but I had nice practice with Tsuchihara San before moving on to the other Sensei. I practiced with 3 other Sensei on the morning, most allowing me to fight for a few moments before moving on to Kakarigeiko. During the keiko I focused on trying to take kote or men by attacking with Harai waza, for the kakrigeiko portions I tried not to raise my kensen till the last moment, and to push through after each cut, even if the Sensei tried to knock my shinai or body out of the way.

It was a really good practice and one which I hope to join again. The atmosphere was very friendly but everyone was extremely focused, especially the children. The Sensei didn't give anyone a break and kids and adults alike got plenty of rough love!

Konnoh Dojo is just down the road from my dojo, so its something of a local rival. I've been to practice there on weekday evenings a few times where there are more adults.
I look forward to joining them for keiko again!!

Thanks for reading!

Konnoh Dojo takes its name from the near by Konno Hachimangu Shrine, and is on the same grounds as the Toyoszaka Inari Shrine Enjoy some more photos!

Kamizawa at Konnoh Dojo

Torii - Entry gates to the Toyosaka shrine

Lanterns at Toyosaka Shrine

Toyosaka Shrine