Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 2011: Sumi (8 Dan), Tashiro (8 Dan) & Sotaro (6 dan) sensei in Torino

On Friday the 22nd of April Sumi sensei, from Fukuoka, visited our dojo in Torino. Everybody in the dojo was looking forward to learn from him. Sumi sensei usually comes together with Tashiro sensei, but this time also Sotaro Honda (6th dan) came. Honda sensei was the coach of the British Kendo team some years ago and now teaches at the University of Education in Fukuoka. Furthermore, the Italian Kendo team, that will be part of the European Kendo championship (Poland May), was also present.
Friday Sumi sensei started a training session that continued also Saturday and Sunday. The main topics of the lessons were:
On Sunday morning the seminar ended and in the afternoon there was a special training dedicated only to the Italian kendo team. I will describe here the events on Friday and Saturday since on Sunday I could not be present to the final part of the training.
On Friday the 22nd we put immediately the men and started with few rounds of kirikaeshi made of three repetitions, then we did Do kirikaeshi. Sumi sensei told us that the Do kirikaeshi was useful to improve the diagonal position of the sayu men in normal kirikaeshi, which should be done with an angle of about 45 degree.
After we move to kion on men + tsubazeriai. After few rounds, Sumi sensei told us that the critical issue in the above mentioned kion was the body posture: body should be always strait to keep the body balance in a condition that allow to make men and then to move to a correct tsubazeriai. Furthermore, we have to carefully consider the beating distance, since if we are too near and we bit the opponent with the shinai below the naka-yui we are too near to make a good tzubazeriai. Next exercise was as men + tsubazeriai but motodachi has to step back to avoid to be bit. An other tip on the kion was related to the men cut, that have to stop at the throat. The stop is controlled mainly by the posture and specifically by the back muscles, as instead very little work should be done by the arms. After we made a bit more complex kion; men + tsubazeriai, kote + tsubazeriai, do + tsubazeriai. All series done with a unique breath. After we move to jigeiko. Motodachi were alowed to practice only oji-waza.
In the following video you can see pieces of the training that are related to the above description.

After also Sumi and Tashiro sensei joined the jigeiko.

On Saturday morning the lesson continued focusing on the opportunities to attach: SEME. Specifically all kion were based on the use of "far seme", the one that is normally used to practice big techniques starting from long distance and of a "near seme" that can be applied when kensen are in contact. The second seme was particularly intriguing. Sumi sensei said that when both opponents have the kensen in contact the spirit is very high for both of them. The attention of both opponents is very very high and therefore it is difficult to make an effective attach. Therefore a very little seme, made stepping few centimetres with the right foot, will disrupt the concentration of the opponent facilitating the attach. We then applied these two types of seme using various combination of kion. Subsequently the topic was the KIAI. Essentially the point is that kiai keeps high the spirit and when we stop it spirits and attention are reduced and this is an opportunity for the opponent. Therefore kiai should continue even after the end of the technique. When the kiai stops we have to keep the concentration high not giving the opportunity for an attach.
These concepts were tested in uchikomigeiko, kakaritè has to make at least five consequent attachs without interrupting the kiai. In this specific exercises motodachi made a very particular kamae, with the tip of the shinai pointing up to the left, i.e. pointing up to the kakaritè right eye. This kamae allows kakarite to attach easily men kote and do. After the same approach was made mixing the above mentioned specific kamae and ojiwaza by motodachi. Then the morning training finished.
Unfortunately the video for this part had a very bad quality and I could not upload it.
In the afternoon after a brief break for lunch Sumi sensei run a very nice lesson for our little group of children. In Torino we are running various courses for children but, since we were during the Eastern holidays, the vast majority of them could not come. However our little five kendokas got a wonderful lesson with Sumi sensei helped by Tashiro sensei (8 Dan), Moretti sensei (7 Dan which is also the President of CIK) Pomero sensei (7 Dan) and Honda sensei (6 Dan).

After children lesson we started a one hour of training on kendo no kata focusing on the important points of the katas. This part was very similar to the one given by Sumi sensei two years ago:
Kendo no kata tips part 1
Kendo no kata tips part 2
After we put men again and we warmed up doing kirikaeshi, three set of sayu me, sayu do, sayu men. After motodachi used again the particular kamae used in the morning that allows kakaritè to attach men, do, kote. Motodachi was allowed to move back and forward and kakaritè has to make, with a unique kiai, at least 6 attachs. This kion was repeated three times. Subsequently motodachi were allowed to make some oji-waza during the attacks of kakaritè. More important motodachi has not to press physically kakaritè but only using the spirit. I found very interesting the ability of Sumi sensei to make a lesson that works at different level for kakaritè and for motodachi. Both were very pressed to make their best on the basis of Sumi sensei advices. The next step was normal jigeiko but with motodachi allowed only to make oji-waza and pressing kakaritè with strong spirit. Sumi sensei highlighted that it possible to make pressure to kakaritè even stepping back. Finally motodachi has to keep the centre but occasionally also making opening.
The video below summarize the afternoon session with Sumi sensei.

Last but not least I got three videos of the jigeiko between Sumi sensei and Tashiro sensei, Pomero sensei and Honda sensei.
Sumi versus Tashiro

Sumi versus Honda

Sumi versus Pomero

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