29 Apr 2011

Trigger

So it's another Friday night without Kendo. It was actually the Royal Wedding today, so people are out and about celebrating all over the place I'd imagine. I had a 'patriotic' day with my girlfriend, watching the procession on the telly, eating some sandwiches and Victoria sponge cakes. It was interesting until they replayed it for about the hundredth times, lost the magic a bit methinks. Though it's always nice to be with my girlfriend so that bit I can't complain. Now I'm just waiting the evening out for some Wakaba action tomorrow. Which reminds me that I should put some thoughts into the points raised last week!
At the pub Katsuya asked me what my trigger was ... what makes me hit men or kote, etc. I didn't know how to answer. I just said well ... when it looks open, or when I feel like it. He demanded what exactly! Since he couldn't figure out what my trigger was. (I tend to think this is a good thing, since if they were easily read, people would easily beat me up ... no?) If knowledge taught me anything about not knowing how to answer a question, it'd be to find somebody else to throw the question at. Preferably somebody more experienced. Queue Bob smoking obliviously outside the pub.

He told me that his Kendo isn't that mechanical, it's more intuitive which I tend to agree with. I cannot say that everytime I hit a kote, I'll have pressed his shinai the other way first, or move my kenzen down before every Men cut. I normally pick a point, then try to work my way towards that forcing him to open with various forms of seme, and if an opening for another point happens to pop up during the process, I'll gladly take it. Then he went on to talk about timing, and that I can learn it better by watching the motion of the trees and the clouds and ... that's where he lost me. Polite nodding, big smile, and a please excuse me later, I'm off to get another beer.
Later at home I discussed this with Joe. Apparently Katsuya has asked him the same question just a week before. Joe said that it was a pointless goal for him currently, and he was more concerned with the 'momentum' of the jigeiko. I have his permission to write up his ideas, however they are my own interpretation and paraphrasing so I hope I'm understanding him correctly:

Joe said his trigger for attacking men or kote is based on the momentum of the jigeiko and what he thinks the probability of their next attack is based on what they've done including in previous jigeiko, like tennis, someone always holds momentum. Thus, tactics should be modified based on that, especially in shiai where there are 3 judges who can see the momentum of the match. However, yesterday he tried to think more systematically about jigeiko and came up with a framework (like a menu) in approaching jigeiko:

1. Try to score the first ippon
2. Everyone has a regular timing for men cuts, try and find that
3. Then try and attack before/after/debana/kaeshi whatever based on # 2.

"Then you should have a sense of their regular timing, and you’d just have to try and break it, step forwards, tap their shinai whatever. Observe how it changes the timing, by the end of the jigeiko then put opponents into categories: 

People like Junji obviously strikes your debana if you're too close, some people attack as soon as you try and force a timing change, some step back, some block, some (like Karen) stand still.

After this, try different shit using this change in their timing to fuck them up, also try and be conscious of your own regular timing"

The first point "try and score the first ippon" is to avoid thinking too much, after each jigeiko reset and just try again. He finds it most difficult when he's "caught out of time", he explained this as his timing being read. This may be due to the fact that his timing was too regular and hence being hit before he realised it. He expanded further by saying that everyone has a "cycle time" after each bout in jigeiko. For this bit, I'm just going to take it verbatim:

"This is the time it takes to come back into distance and think ok next attack, I've been hit many times when i think "ok i'm getting ready for nex..." This reminds me to shorten my "cycle" time and always concentrate. But of course I slack off after a while. Dipak has a very short cycle time, probably at the expense of thought and graceful movement, but it catches me off guard alot."

On that bombshell ... until next post!

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