Strike is not fast enough

by Ann

How to make the blow more rapid and precise?

I practice not so long and saw that it is not quite sharp and agile. It should be like a thunderbolt, but something viscous, smooth.

I feel that I have enough speed.

Hands? How should they work correctly during the strike?

Thank you for answer.

Answer: Thank you for your question. It is very hard to answer but if I must answer it in a short form, then all I can say is “practice”.

However, I know that is not an answer you and others are looking for. :)

Please look at the followings that are necessary to make your strikes fast.

  • Physical strength: a lot of physical training including kendo, gym and etc.

  • Timing: the right timing must be learned in order to strike quickly (seems quick to your opponent)

  • Learn ki-ken-tai-icchi: perfect ki-ken-tai-icchi creates an amazing strike.

  • Distance: Know your ma-ai. You can reach your opponent with one step but your opponent can’t reach you with his/her one step.

  • Good tenouchi.

If you TRY to swing fast, you become tense so you cannot strike fast. You should be able to strike in a nice and relax manner.

If you are young, train as hard as you can. Lot of kakari geiko and uchikomi will give you a solid kendō physical foundation. 

If you are not capable of hard training, you should be focusing on timing and distance (ma and ma-ai). Of course, we should push ourselves as hard as we can, but not until the breaking point. Once you get hurt, you will have to stop training for a long time. That sucks.

Speed is important but not as important as ma-ai (distance) and ma (timing). It does not matter how fast you are, if the timing and distance to strike are wrong, you cannot even reach a target.

Do not make your strikes too small to gain speed. You might hit a target but your kendō will tend to become a hitting game. That is something we should really avoid.

Hope this helps.

Comments for Strike is not fast enough

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Sep 21, 2010
Speed training
by: Olga

So if we want to train speed we also need to train physical strength. But at the same time we should not put strength into the strike not to become tense. Can you please clarify that moment?

And if I understand you right to train speed we need to train timing, ki-ken-tai-icchi, ma-ai and tenouchi but NOT the speed itself, right?

Kendo-Guide.Com: Good one! Strength is not the same as tension. You need to train muscles to increase speed but if you become tense, you cannot strike faster.

Getting tensed up means you have UNNECESSARY strength. Too much strength. Do you know what I mean? Must be the right amount. What is the right amount? That is what you have to find out by yourself and consulting your teacher.
Speed can be probably two things. Physical velocity and smoothness.

You need to work on your body strength to become physically fast.

But as we all know, 7-dan and 8-dan sensei are not necessarily fast physically but they can strike before us.  Think about this.

How the heck does an 80 year old sensei can strike teenagers or 6-dan and 7-dan senseis?

It is not because they are physically faster than others. It includes experiences (kend? and life), distance, timing and knowing how to move their body and shinai in the most effective manner.

I was told that my men strike was fast, which was totally unexpected because this 6-dan sensei is way better than I am.  There is a slight possibility that he was being nice to me :)

I still don’t think I was fast but I tried to strike his men a little bit off the timing. I delayed my men strike a little bit. In other words, I held execution of my men strike a little longer. I wanted to strike but I fought my cravings for men strike for a moment and execute. This is called “tame”.

By me doing so, his strike to my kote was always too late. Probably that is why he thought my strike was fast.

Do these make sense?

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