This is the summary of last saturday’s training at the Amstelveen dojo.
As this was the first saturday training of the year, it was a little different from the others in what kind of exercises were done. At the end there was also another reminder about the importance of shinai maintenance. The training consisted of kata practice in the beginning followed by an alternative kihon after a regular warming up and then normal kihon which was conluded by jigeiko at the end. The training itself was closed off with the reminder on shinai maintenance and after the training the buffet party was held.
So after the now customary kata practice and warming up Heeren-sensei told us to do something very unusual, as it is the first training of the year. He told us to do everything mirrored from what we normally do, so even rotating to your next partner was done towards the left instead of to the right. It was basically a kihon practice but just the other way around, and it consisted of the following exercises:
- kote men
- kote men do
As everything was mirrored, also the datotsubui were on the other side of the opponent. One also had to do fumikomi with the left foot rather than the right. All this combined made for some very interesting practice, especially in the case of do strikes. It would make one feel like a beginner again. It was also a nice opportunity to find out how much you have already learned physically as, instead of the normal muscles, you had to use muscles that you would normally not use in kendo.
The new year’s practice was followed by a regular training which included:
- hayai men
- hayai kirikaeshi
- men ni taisuru oji waza
- kote ni taisuru oji waza
The regular part of the training was focused on delivering quick attacks and as such, was especially useful for those who want to participate in competitions.
After the physical part of the training there was another talk on the importance of shinai maintenance. Heeren-sensei said the same things as he had said before but there was more emphasis on safety and what can go wrong when shinai are not properly cared for.
There was for instance an accident in Germany where a take of a kendoka‘s shinai went into the eye (and brain) of his opponent because his tsuru and leathers were not properly tied. His opponent died from the injury.
Injuries that are far more common because of improperly maintained shinai are splinters entering the skin of the arms and neck of the opponent. Or splinters that get into the eyes of your opponent.
So make absolutely sure you do not have any splinters in your shinai. Check them after every training, and make sure to remove any splinters if you find any. Also sand down parts of your shinai that look like they may develop splinters quickly.
These parts (usually on or near the monouchi) are recognized as either being blueish/dark of colour compared to the rest of the shinai because of all the dye that has gotten between the bamboo fibers due to the many strikes that have connected here, or having many dents on the bamboo because of repeated strikes to the men-gane.
Sand down those areas untill the colour is the same as the rest of the shinai. And in the case of dents, sand it down until the angled edges of those dents have become smooth.
After the talk on shinai maintenance preparations were made for the buffet party. There were quite a few families, and the delicious food that was brought in was primarily Japanese obviously but there was a surprising amount of Indonesian food as well. Usually there are some people who also bring in some Dutch dishes (like boerenkool met worst), but this time there were not that many quintessentially Dutch foods to be had.