In absence of Heeren-sensei, class was led by Kikuta-sensei.
As usual, class was opened with stretching, suburi, footwork practice and kihon. During the basic exercises and also during the more advanced training, Kikuta-sensei paid extra attention to the following topics.
- It was reiterated that one should not lift the right foot, but one should slide forwards close to the ground. Lifting your foot high, tells your opponent that you are making an attempt for men.
- It was reiterated that one should lunge deeply, do not stop short with the right foot. Always attack from issoku-itto-maai, so step in if need be. Then make a long, deep thrust forward from the hips.
- When you are in issoku-itto-maai, do not reposition your left foot when attacking. You are slowing yourself down tremendously. If you are in position, thrust forward from the left foot and trust that you were within the right maai. If you were not, next time you should either start a little closer or step in deeper with the right foot.
Regarding omote and ura:
- We performed a number of exercises involving the omote and ura sides of the shinai. For explanations of the terms below, please refer to our article “Waza explained”.
- We started out with osae men on omote side, as a continuation of our fumikomi exercises.
- Sensei then discussed the matter that many kendoka will block your “standard” men attacks, by raising their shinai diagonally. This block however, opens one up to attacks through the ura side. Thus we practiced accordingly in three-man uchikomi geiko groups:
- Osae men on omote
- Osae men on ura
- Seme to men, ura-men
- Seme to men, ura-kote
- Harai men on omote
- Harai men on ura
- Kote – Kaeshi kote
- Kote – Kaeshi dou
- Men-taiatari-dou, kote-men
After class, sensei reiterated Heeren-sensei‘s message from two weeks ago: the importance of correctly wearing your men. It is not only for your own safety, it is also so one may properly use and guard the monomi: the looking-slit in the mengane. Sensei noticed a lot of people looking through other parts of the grill, too low or too high, which has two downsides. For starters the monomi is a weakness that should be guarded, and secondly you are lowering your field of vision by looking through a narrow part.