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Kenjutsu – some pointed thoughts

February 17, 2009

Didn’t go for budo class last week. Wife’s birthday, for some reason she doesn’t believe that taijutsu is a meaningful and significant way to commemorate the occasion. Women are strange sometimes… šŸ™‚

One day the kids weren’t around so I took out my practice katana – well, it wasn’t really mine, it’s a long-term loan from my mum – and went through the basic cuts, as well as some stuff Marcus Snoddy Sensei showed me years ago in my 10th kyu days.

Kenjutsu is really taijutsu under a microscope. Kamae, kamae, kamae all the way. Is the blade too high? Are my elbows in a ‘live’ position? Feet pointing the right direction?

This aspect of the Bujinkan syllabus is not really something with self-defense application, unless you count the workout the legs get throughout if you’re observing kamae. But I guess that’s good enough. I remember one incident in my 10th kyu days. I was really struggling with the tai sabaki, it was really different from what I was used to after my years of praying mantis. One day I was going through the kenjutsu stuff covered in the week’s lesson, when I was really struggling getting the footwork to flow. Out of frustration I just focused on getting the blade into place. Viola! My feet did what they needed to do, smoothly and without any fuss. Yes!

Not saying that my footwork has been perfect everyday after that, but that time was a major milestone in my taijutsu development. So if you ever ask me if white belts should do kenjutsu, my answer is a definite YES! It’s a simple (though not easy) way to accelerate growth in taijutsu skill.

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