Noting the points raised in the last blog post, in this second edition I will go over how to improve through kakari keiko and write it down with a real match in mind and how each move occurs in order. I encourage you to read it while picturing your own practice sessions.
Before beginning kakari practice
Get your spirits up! Prepare yourself mentally so you can keep striking constantly.
Once it begins with the “Hajime!” call
– Swing properly as you strike
– After you pull back from your strike, take the proper pauses before striking again
– After you strike, even if you get past your opponent, quickly turn back, take the pause, the strike again
– Strike without losing your bodily balance, imagining a straight bar running through your spine
– Do not let your head fall or your shinai point downwards, keep yourself going mentally
Here’s where it get tough!
– Get your voice up as it gets tougher!
– Your muscles gain more lactic acid and it will be harder to keep your arms up, but here is the real battle. Strike properly!
– Keep your spirits up until the finish call
– Give your best until the final strike
When you hear the “Yame!” call
– Don’t rest even after the call
– Take your position right away
– As you take your position, take a deep breath and control your breathing
– Get yourself prepared mentally before the next “hajime!” call
Kakari keiko continues as you repeat this process. As you can see, the key to improvement is to take the proper pauses and strike properly even as the going gets tougher. As you are able to control yourself better during such practices, this will lead to improvement in your mentality, physique and technique. This is common to practices in other martial arts as well as sports.
Take it one step at a time. Try and focus on meeting one of the above points during kakari keiko, then the next.
Here I have written about the meaning of kakari keiko and how to improve through it. Let’s summarize it:
Kakari Keiko: A form of practice in which the mototachi (receiver) and kakarite (attacker) form a pair, and the kakarite constantly strikes against the mototachi
Purpose of Kakari Keiko: In order to improve one’s “mentality, technique, and physique” which are all important for kendo.
Bad patterns for kakari practice:
– Striking too fast
– Striking with the tip of your hands
– Striking without assuming the right position
5 points for improving through Kakari Keiko
- Swing properly as you strike
- After you pull back from your strike, take the proper pauses before striking again
- After you strike, even if you get past your opponent, quickly turn back, take the pause, the strike again
- Strike without losing your bodily balance, imagining a straight bar running through your spine
- Do not let your head fall or your shinai point downwards, keep yourself going mentally
Hopefully now you understand that Kakari Keiko is a kind of practice that can produce drastic improvements. It is not just exhausting, but it helps you improve your mentality, technique, and physique. I hope you put will try harder in your training each day.