Thursday, 10 February 2011

Things to consider for beginners

Week 3 for some of our beginners and you'll have noticed how you are slowly being integrated into the main practice. Direct instruction will be replaced by direct action. You will be lining up with the rest of the kohai ['junior' students] and expected to follow the drills prescribed by Sensei.

At this point you need to remember the instruction given so far. To ensure you get the most out of every drill before you begin check your footwork is in the right position, feet parallel, left toe in line with right heel, left heel off the ground, feet shoulder width apart. Make sure your grip is correct, similar to below with your left hand on the end of the shinai and a fist away from just below your navel. The kensen [tip of the sword] should be aimed towards your partners throat. Arms should be relaxed and bent, shoulders back, head up, chin in.

When you're happy everything is in the correct place push off from your left foot. Unlike walking where we use our front foot to pull our body forward kendo footwork works by pushing forwards on the left foot with the hips driving towards your partner. At the moment you strike the target call out it's name ["men", "kote" or "do"], when I say call I mean shout as loud as possible, everyone can get that right.

Lastly, whatever instruction your partner gives to you to help you improve try to follow it. By setting yourself up like this and trying as hard as possible you will progress quicker and reward those who are helping you. Any questions just ask on the forum and we'll try to help.

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