Gaku Shi Juku Kendo Kai

3.0 Advanced Speed and Energy Drills

3.1 Kakari-keiko (attack keiko)

This drill is very similar to that of uchi-komi. The only difference is that the hitter must increase his/her intensity and hitting speed of each hit. The goal is to get as many hits in, using proper technique, footwork, body movement and kiai, during a short amount of time.

Hitter

As soon as ‘hajime’ is called, the aim is to go hard and go fast. Hit wherever is open and hit often.

 

Receiver

As soon as ‘hajime’ is called, give equal amounts of kiai and move around with them hitter. Make sure they can hit places and at the first sign of them getting tired, you MUST encourage them vocally; give them light pushes in the back as they go by.

If you would like the hitter to do a tai-atari (body block), then give them a firm tai-atari. Do not step backwards. Give them maximum resistance. If not, move out of the way and let them go through. The hitter should always go straight through and not have to go around you.

As the hitter goes through and turns around, make sure you have followed quickly behind them so that they don't have to wait more than one second before being able to hit again.

Depending on the time, the receiver should call the end of the round for that person at around 10-20 seconds.

 

The time can be greater however up to a minute or longer.

 

The key for the receiver is that they must help the hitter make it through these tough ten to twenty seconds with full energy and make the hitter give them everything they have got.

3.2 Ai-Gakari-keiko (both players attack)

This goals of this drill are essentially the same as Kakari-keiko except in this drill,  both players will hit. The goal is to hit fast, hit often, and hit everywhere using proper technique, footwork, body movement and kiai, during a short amount of time.

Both hitters

At the call of ‘hajime’ both players give 100% and go hard and go fast. Keep the motion continuous; do not come to a stand still at any time since it is especially easy to do so after tai-atari and backing up.

 

If one side feels that the other side is tiring or weakening, give them verbal encouragement even as you hit them.

 

This is one exercise that if both sides encourage each other, they can go on and on for a long time.

Depending on the time, 15-20 seconds is usually long enough.

 

The time can be greater however up to a minute or longer.

3.3 Mawari geiko (circling practice)

Two people make up a pair as each pair takes turns going around the dojo. As soon as one pair goes, the next follows. Each pair starts at one end of the dojo in the corner, go around in a horseshoe fashion and then end up at the same side of the dojo but in the opposite corner.

The goal of this exercise is to build endurance and speed as each player faces one another. One player goes forward and the other, backward. The very last hit of the sequence will be a good one with bigger kiai. While speed is important in this drill, so is the ability to keep moving at an even pace.

Hitter

Using proper technique, footwork, body movement and kiai, will hit whatever is called for that drill.

 

Receiver

Will move quickly so that the hitter can get into a tempo and rhythm.

 

3.4 Go Dan Uchi keiko (5-hit practice)

This practice is meant teach your body the movements to be able to hit 4-5 strikes consecutively. In a sparring match, it is easy to get into a bad habit of hitting one area, being blocked and then stopping, and then hitting again and being blocked and then stopping. The opportunities exist after you hit once or twice because typically, your opponent will be able to handle one or two hits but is not adept to handle a barrage of multiple strikes. Thus, with the fourth and fifth consecutive strike, the opportunities arise.

The key to this when practicing this drill is that you will only breath ONCE per every 5 hits. So after the initial kiai before you hit, you will continue to hit and give kiai on that one breath until you have finished all 5 hits.

 

Kote-men <tai atari> hiki men – kote men

One breath – Five hits

 

Make sure for your very last hit, the fifth hit, that your kiai is very strong and loud.

The receiver must give good tai atari resistance. He/She must also be fleet footed and move so that the hitter can pass through quickly.

Kote-men <tai atari> hiki doh – kote men

One breath – Five hits

 

As you enter into tai-atari, hit your opponent’s hands up so as to naturally open up the hiki doh.

 

Make sure for your very last hit, the fifth hit, that your kiai is very strong and loud.

The receiver must give good tai atari resistance. He/She must also be fleet footed and move so that the hitter can pass through quickly.

Kote-men <tai atari>hiki kote – kote men

One breath – Five hits

 

As you enter into tai-atari, hit your opponents to the right so as to naturally open up the hiki-kote.

 

Make sure for your very last hit, the fifth hit, that your kiai is very strong and loud.

The receiver must give good tai atari resistance. He/She must also be fleet footed and move so that the hitter can pass through quickly.

Kote-men <tai atari>hiki men – kote doh

One breath – Five hits

 

Make sure for your very last hit, the fifth hit, that your kiai is very strong and loud.

The receiver must give good tai atari resistance. He/She must also be fleet footed and move so that the hitter can pass through quickly.

Kote-men <tai atari>hiki kote – kote doh

One breath – Five hits

 

As you enter into tai-atari, hit your opponents to the right so as to naturally open up the hiki kote.

 

Make sure for your very last hit, the fifth hit, that your kiai is very strong and loud.

The receiver must give good tai atari resistance. He/She must also be fleet footed and move so that the hitter can pass through quickly.

Kote-men <tai atari> hiki doh – kote doh

One breath – Five hits

 

As you enter into tai-atari, hit your opponent’s hands up so as to naturally open up the hiki doh.

 

Make sure for your very last hit, the fifth hit, that your kiai is very strong and loud.

The receiver must give good tai atari resistance. He/She must also be fleet footed and move so that the hitter can pass through quickly.

Kote-men <tai atari>hiki men – kote

One breath – Four hits

 

Make sure for your very last hit, the fourth hit, that your kiai is very strong and loud.

The receiver must give good tai atari resistance. He/She must also be fleet footed and move so that the hitter can pass through quickly.

Kote-doh-kote-men

One breath –Four hits

 

After you go through kote-doh, quickly turn around and swing at kote-men

 

Make sure for your very last hit, the fourth hit, that your kiai is very strong and loud.

The receiver must give good tai atari resistance. He/She must also be fleet footed and move so that the hitter can pass through quickly.

3.5 Block and hit Keiko

This exercise helps in improving your ability to counter attack and counter hit. In kendo, it is not sufficient enough to be able to attack but be able to read the opponent’s movements and strikes and provide a counter-strike.

The keys to this drill is to be constantly moving, to make sure your left hands snaps quickly, recover quickly after each hit and some zanshin after each hit.

Hitter

At the call of ‘hajime’, he/she will attack rapidly, aggressively and thoughtfully. This means that they will keep hitting all areas (men, kote etc) in rapid succession.

It is important to not fall into a pattern and keep hitting one area. If this happens, it does not become useful for the receiver.

Receiver

As the hitter begins to hit, you will block each hit provide a counter hit. (You can learn more about counter hitting in the Ouji-waza section).

 

You will make sure your feet are always moving and make sure to deliver a clean hit with Zanshin. As the hitter may keep attacking, be ready at all times.

Make sure your feet are always moving forward. Just because this drill calls for the opposing player to hit you first, does not mean that you don’t have to attack.

 

You will attack their shinai and as soon they make the strike, be ready to make the counter attack.

 

Don’t forget about your footwork either. Your feet have to hit the ground each time you make a strike to men, kote, or doh.


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