Kendo Guide 5.0

5.0 Application

5.1 Jiyu-geiko or Ji-geiko (open practice)

The purpose of Jiyu-geiko (open practice) is to have a forum to apply what you have learned. Practice your attacks and your counter-attacks. See how your opponents react when you do certain aggressive moves in and out.

Jiyu-geiko is a time to experiment. Don’t be afraid to be hit upon. We learn by doing and failing. Being hit by your opponent is a great signal to tell you that whatever technique you just tried was not strong enough or that you were not able to execute it perfectly.

There is no point in practicing techniques that you are already good at and not practicing ones that you are no good at.

If your opponent is stronger than youYou should try mostly aggressive attacks to gauge the effectiveness of your spirit, your movements and your strategies. Plan your strategy for that day and see whether it works.It is a sign of disrespect if you do too many counter-attacks to a senior person. If you are junior, you should be the one taking the initiative most of the time.
Additionally, if you are fighting a senior person, do not use tsuki unless they say that ‘anything goes’. Be fully prepared to withstand a barrage of tsuki attacks if you tsuki them first.
If your opponent is about the same as youYou should combine an equal amount of attacks and counter-attacks. See how they react to your aggressive thrusts. Try to read what they are going to do and then be able to take advantage of their mistakes whenever you can.When you are on equal footing, try all of your waza, including tsuki.
If you are stronger than your opponentYou should try to do mostly counteracts, reaction and reflex drills. Really try to see how your opponents move and finish off each hit cleanly. There really is no point in practicing your attack moves because chances are you will be able to hit 90% of them.This is time to practice developing your ‘eyes’. Watch and see and learn.

5.2 Shiai geiko (tournament practice)

These exercise is usually only reserved for those going to tournament play. The referees will call all infractions, including out of bounds penalties and other penalties.

In a tournament play, never stop until you hear the referee call ‘yame’ (stop). Often referees will overlook or miss points by you and your opponent. The match is never over to it is officially over.  Don’t give your opponent any chance to hit. And take any chance that your opponent gives you.

Be creative in a match and use the ‘high-low’ method of attacking. If you want to attack men, then attack the kote first. And conversely if you want to attack kote, attack men first. Mix up your hits and do not solely rely on what you think you are good at. The more different areas you can attack, the stronger you will be. The best analogy is a pitcher in baseball. The most efficient pitcher is one who can throw high and throw low in the strike zone and can throw fast and throw curves. Even if the pitcher can throw 100 mph, if that’s all they can throw, hitters will eventually hit it.

If all you can do is men, then your opponent will be able to block it.

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