Comments for Relaxing

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 18, 2020
In reply to Russell Robinson
by: Kendo-Guide.Com

Thank you very much for the great tips, Russ. I really appreciate that. I agree with breaking habits.

Kendo gives us a great opportunity to look into ourselves; what we do and how we do things. Analyzing what we do and how we do, then we can change our habits.

It doesn't matter how long we have done kendo, we always have to go through the difficulties of changing habits. Kendo is so difficult, deep and fun!

Sep 16, 2020
Chronic tension in the shoulders
by: Russell Robinson

Hi Peter & Hiro sensei,

Here's a little about my experience, and maybe it will help you.

So I started Kendo when I was 45, and I'm about to turn 60.

After a couple of years my sensei kept saying to me "relax your shoulders!".

He kept saying it year after year!

I tried everything to do it.

He told me that if I put tension/strength in my hara (abdomen), then it would relax my shoulders.

Unfortunately, I was an expert in tense shoulders and I could have tense shoulders in all conditions!

I could start very relaxed, and after the first few cuts in kiri kaeshi I would have tense shoulders.

Over those many years (perhaps 8?) I learned about myself and why I have tense shoulders.

That was a key...understanding myself.

For me, it was my automatic reaction to any stress. In life, and in Kendo.

So, how did I stop it? (I know I did, because sensei rarely says this to me now! It still happens, but very rarely.)

All habits take years of constant effort to break.

Invest in the process of breaking your habit, and it will happen. And practicing kendo will accelerate the process.

And, please remember that kendo is about the process not the result.

Another key is what my sensei told me - strengthen the hara. For me, I strengthen the hara and I relax everywhere else that doesn't need tension....

Which brings me to another key, which is to remember that you can't relax. If you completely relax you will fall onto the floor - and that's not very useful as a kendoka!

What you want is appropriate relaxation. It's a balance between relaxing in the right places and appropriate tension in the right places.

Tension in your hara. Relaxation in your chest, shoulders, arms, and neck. Strength in the little and ring fingers in your left hand.

Tension in your gluteus. Readiness in your left calf.

So this key is about: I will be ready and appropriately relaxed.

And practice.

The nice thing about Kendo is that you have lots of down time (many seconds between sets of cuts and during jigeiko). You're not expected to cut until you are ready.

That's another key....take the time to run through your mental decisions and physical process before making that first keiko cut each time.

And, while you're performing kiri kaeshi, you can say: "I don't care about the cuts this time, I'm just going to concentrate on my relaxing (appropriate tension) regime throughout this set".

Practicing Kendo when you are relaxed in the right places is just wonderful compared to the opposite! It's a joy.

And two more benefits: your shinais last many times longer, and you don't get as tired!

I have some other ideas for this process which you'll need above shodan, which I'm happy to share with you

I really hope that helps. Good luck.

(Melbourne, Australia)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Any Questions about Kendo.

Return to Relaxing .