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Monday, August 9, 2010

Waza and geiko: striking the perfect balance

Beginner´s kendo is always interesting: after a brief period of time you´ll witness a natural separation between those who apply themselves to waza and those that within minutes of starting class they want to do geiko with sensei.

Kihon waza is basic training and geiko is combat. Many kendoka try to swerve around waza and jump right into geiko while others try to master waza without engaging in geiko with their peers. Both types of students believe that sensei will not notice their little avoidance games but he does believe you me!

For sensei is easy to spot the reluctant student that does not want to do geiko; he has good, solid waza but once geiko is on he loses confidence and is afraid to hit anybody. The geiko student is also easily noticeable: he wants to fight, he will coax his teammates to fight him, and looks desperately at dojo clock because he can´t wait for geiko to start.

In kendo there are no shortcuts to perfection. To have strong waza is great because that is the foundation of your practice. But without geiko you will soon fall short because you need to develop your personal style in order to compete. To be unafraid of geiko is wonderful but without waza you´ll have nothing to show other than brute force. In order to become the best you can be you have to master waza and geiko at the same time.

Are you more into waza or geiko? Please enrich this post with your feedback as we want students and sensei alike to benefit from your thoughts and experiences.

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