Knutsen-sensei has set out some guidance below on how we might address the return to practice, when this becomes possible. At the moment, of course, the Government guidelines don’t allow normal dojo practice, but we hope there will be some relaxation in the coming weeks.
Reduced physical contact
- There will be a need to reduce close contact, especially in group exercise, suburi, uchikomi, where close breathing allied with physical breathing recovery is the aim. This will need to be updated from time to time in the early weeks.
- For several weeks training must be limited to work with the bokutō. This was always the emphasis up to the mid-19th century and, in some quarters, well to the end of the 20th century.
Therefore, in this initial period emphasis will be completely on the handling and skill with the bokutō, both short and long. Iai will also make use of bokutō as well as iai-tō or live blade.
As far as possible more waza will be introduced
- As envisioned at this moment (end May 2020), we have a golden opportunity to re-establish, on a traditional basis, proper kendō based on the use of the real sword:- proper and in detailed familiarity with posture and movement leading to tenouchi and greatly improved awareness; correct striking forms; zanshin; etc. It will also give a chance to better understand tactics and strategy.
- From the above it is hoped that all members of the Renmei will see a clearer path to understanding the spirit and nature of the Japanese bugei.
As and when we are able to return to shinai kendō, we shall, it is forecast, be fitter through swinging the bokutō, but all will have a better idea of ‘how to cut’ and how to do this correctly.
Continued in part two.