I’m coming back from a knee injury and have been focusing on my flexibility and form in kendo as a precursor to getting back into full training.
In my last few classes I have been thinking about my form, especially how I use my hips. We’re all taught to press forward with our hips, the small of the back and the left foot driving us forward but, when I watch our class videos, I see that the theory is not always practiced.
There are two reasons:
1. Lack of mindfulness, forgetting posture and basics.
2. Lack of fitness. Soft bellies and weak legs end up making one lean forward from the top to make up for what is not happening down under.
Thankfully due to my injury, I have been very mindful of my form and in my last few classes I have noticed that my energy level is higher and my tension level is lower. In the past, I was easily exhausted, flinging myself around thinking that I was being strong and fast when I was really far from it.
Instead, by having my hips forward and with pressure held down in my tanden (the area around the navel) and breathing out throughout (or as close as I can in this case!), my strikes are solid but not cruel.
The “living sword” versus the “dead sword” as the old swordsmen say.