What am I doing wrong when striking with shinai
I'm not too sure what I am doing wrong but it does not seem to be working. I do realize it is very difficult to get the Cutting Technique while using the shinai.
I have been told to use more left hand and use the right hand to tense up at the end while keeping my right arm parallel to the ground.
Ryan, South AfricaAnswer:
It is hard to tell you what you are doing wrong with the information you’ve given me here. But I will try to give you some info that would be helpful for you.
First of all, you never fell “right” about your suburi. It is an ongoing lesson. So do not feel bad about your suburi at your early phase of kendo. I just replied to a question about suburi, How do I know if my suburi is becoming right handed?
. This may be helpful.
Now it is true that you “tense up” your right hand when you strike. But it is quite often misinterpreted as tensing up the right “arm”. Our tenouchi or grip must have a lot to do with this motion.
When you hit a ball with a baseball bat, the grip must be relax until you actually hit a ball. If you have never hit a ball with a baseball bat, what about a tennis racket? Think of something you are familiar with.
Another example is a jab in boxing. If you want to throw a quick and effective jab, you have to be relaxed until the moment your fist hit the target. When our fist is tightened at the moment of the impact, only your hand is tightened, not the entire arm and shoulder. (I hope this is how a boxer throw a jab…)
At the impact of our strike, we should tightened our tenouchi, whose direct translation is “the inside of the hand”. This sounds easy but it takes thousands and thousands of suburi and strikes to get this right. If you are a subscriber of Kendo-Guide.Com Newsletter, you can watch a video of late Murayama Keisuke sensei (8th dan) talking about tenouchi
You have to learn how to relax at the beginning. Some can do it right away but when they start hitting targets, they all get tensed up and forget about what they learned. This is a normal cycle of learning.
It usually takes 3-5 years to get the hang of how to control a sword, I think. I am sure that your instructor will keep telling you what you should be doing. That would be enough at the beginning. If you have more questions, you are most welcome to post your questions here :)