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Monday, August 2, 2010

Warm-up exercises: body rotations

Preparatory exercises help kendoka lift the mental anxiety he or she feels prior to kendo basic training. We will not go into each of the limbering exercises because many kendo books and videos offer step-by-step instructions. Instead, we will go over one particular limbering move that we feel its utmost important: body rotations.

Body rotations as shown above consist in rotating your trunk from the waist so that it stays as horizontal as possible as it moves through a full circle. To do this you must first spread your legs and, holding the shinai by its ends, lift it above your head. Do it properly before training and you may be warding off lower back pain derived from any kendo position, especially chudan-no-kamae.

Chudan-no-kamae is the basis of all kendo positions, and it puts heavy pressure on your spine when bogu is on. If you have trained for many years and have forgotten to do body rotations you may be in pain right now so perhaps you should take care of that right away. Start by identifying the source of the pain, then make an appointment with a physiotherapist or sport specialist. Also, feel free to explore acupuncture, Pilates, tai-chi, yoga or any other alternative method to decrease pain. Lastly, look for traditional botanical remedies as they have been known to lessen back pain.

Oh, one more thing. Don’t put up a tough front and pretend nothing is going on. At the dojo your body will feel great but when you get home and rest the pain will quickly return. Muscle pain relief creams can only alleviate pain for a short time so it's in your best interest to step up and do the right thing for your body. Take care, get better, kendo will wait for you. Cheers!

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