Shiai for people in their 50s

by Law Kong Hoi

Hi Sensei,

I am going to turn 51 by May this year. I am shodan.

I have taken part in shiai and I noticed that it is not easy to win matches where most of the people are 20 to 30 years younger.

People noticed that I do big men. It is difficult for me to lunge from a far etc. How do I improve in my shiai and practice so that even at 50 I can give the younger kenshis a hard time.

Answer: Thank you for your question and happy birthday! A little too early but let me celebrate your birthday!

I will be straight forward. It is very hard for older people to beat younger people and also to beat those who train more often than we do. The question is how we compensate that physical gap.

Don’t Strike When They Strike

If we strike at “Ready, Set, Go! E more athletic people tend to win. It doesn’t necessarily mean younger people will win. If they have longer limbs then they have more advantages than those who are shorter than them.

Strike When They Are Not Striking

The best time for you to strike is when they are done with their strike.

When they strike, just let them complete their strike. Don’t let them hit any of the targets though. Ideally executing ōji waza (counterattack) is the best but if you cannot do so that is fine.

Block their strike. But you should block in a way that you can strike them when they are done. This means that you should anticipate what they do.

For example, when your opponent tends to pass through every time they execute strike then you should let them strike and pass through. Chase them, and when they turn around, you should strike them. Please refer to Three Opportunities to Strike

Don’t forget:

It is important for you to attack during Jigeiko. Jigeiko is to train yourself. If you don’t strike, you don’t learn much. So in Jigeiko, you should challenge yourself.

By doing so, you will learn “when you should execute your strike. And when you shouldn’t."

What I wrote here is super easy to do and everyone should be aware of this.

Good luck!

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