I'm a kendo fan from a far-away South East Asia (Vietnam) and still a beginner.
I got many problems while learning and it's really bothering me... so I hope you can help me with it:
1. I keep dragging my legs in suri ashi and okuri ashi. I tried to do it fast but somehow still ended up dragging my legs till my leg skin came off. How can I do legs movement fast but keep the legs not dragging?
2. When my sensei counted to swing swords, he counted in Japanese numbers, I can only hear ichi(1), ni(2), san(3) then I didn't know the rest until he recounted to 1 again. So how do we pronoun the words and how many times do we count until we back to 1?
3. In Kiri kaishi and fumi komi I kept confused two of these again and again... plus it's really hard for me to do fumi komi because we have to strike and step the right foot at the same time... How can we make it smoother?
4. In my dojo, some beginner starting to wear keikogi and hakama. I really like it but how do we wear that? Is it good for beginner to wear it? Do we have to wear it on top of the clothes like T-shirt or something?
5. How many ways can we hold a sword?
6. What's with some senpai swinging dual swords?
7. How do we bow, meditate and doing the traditions before a fight?
8. How do we wear Bogu?
I got a lot of questions and yet these are the ones that bothering me from the day I first went to a dojo. If you can, please help me to solve these problems.
Answer: Hi Bean! Thank you for your questions and being a fan of kendo! It is always great to see people like you with such enthusiasm!
Answer to 1: The skins come off eventually. But it sounds like you have too much friction when you slide on the floor. This video might help so please watch and learn how you can move smoothly.
Answer to 2: 4 (shi or yon), 5 (go), 6 (roku), 7 (shichi or nana), 8 (hachi), 9 (kyu), 10 (ju)
Answer to 3: Kirikaeshi involves shōmen and sayūmen. Fumikomi is the stomping. Please read “First time fumikomi?”. I now tell my students to focus on Fumikiri. But I don't have space here so I will write about it next time. There are links to fumikomi related articles at the bottom of the page too.
Answer to 4: Depending on the dōjō the timing of putting keikogi and hakama is different. Ideally you should wear it from the beginning. This is how to wear your keikogi and hakama. Traditionally you don't wear anything but you can wear a t-shirt.
Answer to 5: Do you mean stances like chūdan and jōdan? Or how to grab a shinai? How to grab a shinai basically is one way but there are slightly different ways depending on sensei.
Answer to 6: Maybe he takes nitō. I don't recommend it for beginners. You should ask your sempai.
Answer to 7: Nothing different from what you do at normal training. People have their own routines though.
Answer to 8: I don't have a video for that because I totally put men and dō on differently. You should ask your teacher and sempai so you put your bōgu on in the same way as they do.