Intensive kendo training: "central training"

2013-01-06 19:08:00

Almost a year ago I visited the Landstede sport center in Zwolle, to participate in the NK kyu-graded kendo. Today, we made the trek to attend the first 'central training' of the year. It's "central" insofar that it's a large kendo training, for all dojo in the Netherlands. Marli took Dana for a fun-filled morning at Ballorig in Hattem, while Jeroen-sempai, Nienke and myself went to the training. Marli 'sacrificed' her usual day off, so I could have a great training day.

And great it was! Today's practice pulled in about 50 people (est. 15 beginners, 15 kyu-graded and 20 dan-graded), with four high-placed sensei and our honored chairman Odinot taking the lead. Today's agenda was as follows:

  1. 25 minutes of joint kihon practice of hayai-techniques. Also, ki-ken-tai-ichi exercises.
  2. 80 minutes of waza practice under Vitalis-sensei, while Wouters-sempai instructed the beginners.
  3. 20 minutes break/lunch.
  4. 60 minutes of jigeiko.

Under Vitalis-sensei, the group was split into mudansha and kodansha so everyone got from practice what they needed. We practiced the following techniques, some of which were new for many of us. Each technique was practiced 2x2 times, after which shugou was called in order to learn the next one. 

 

I got a chance to have jigeiko with three of the leading sensei

  1. I didn't receive any specific feedback from Barbier-sensei. I tried to use a few of the techniques we learned, combined with some of the stuff Heeren-sensei taught us. After a few minutes, Barbier-sensei asked me to do a round of kirikaeshi.
  2. I very much enjoyed my round with Castelli-sensei, who has a very enthousiastic and energizing personality. She let me try a few techniques, then took me aside to tell me (paraphrased): "You need to want your target. I see you hitting air, making a lot of movement, but never getting to where you want to go. I see you go for men, but you don't get to my men. I see you go for kote, then don't hit kote. You need to WANT to hit. You need to WANT to put your shinai on my head! Be hungry! You need to be like an animal of prey". And yeah, that was a very interesting realization for me! I hadn't thought of it like that, but she's right! The next few attacks I was a lot more focused, after which she took me aside again. "The Japanese say: ichi gan, the eyes are first. I see you very often not looking at your target. You strike my kote, but look somewhere completely else! Don't! Eyes on the target!".
  3. Right before the closing kirikaeshi, I had a very short round with Vitalis-sensei. At first I had offered to cede my position to mrs De Jong who outranks me, but Vitalis-sensei said I shouldn't do that. "I don't care if they're 10th dan! In kendo you need to be hungry and egotistical to get the training you want. You need to be fast in dressing, first in line and scramble for practice with the teachers you want!" Based on the few strikes I made for him, he also warned me that right now I shouldn't yet be trying "patient"/"waiting" kendo. "Make attacks! Make plenty of attacks! Right now you still have plenty of time to make plenty of mistakes. If two out of ten strikes land relatively close, that's great!" Which certainly sounds a lot like what Kris-fukushou keeps telling me: I wait too much.

During closing, Vitalis-sensei shared the following remarks.

After the training we quickly visited Kaijuu and Natalie and then headed home. Nienke and Jeroen were dropped off at the station again, after which the three of us went for dinner at Tang Dynastie. Great food, as always. All of us exhausted, Dana quickly fell asleep at 1900 and now it's off to bed for us as well :)


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