KENDO TRAINING at Home, Information and Tips
By David Aguero
 

Training at home can be a great way to improve and strengthen what you have learned in the dojo. Nothing can replace the teachings of the sensei, the following information is meant to help enhance and improve your performance while practicing kendo in the dojo. Our kendo training guide is specifically for people who want to squeeze in 15 to 30 minutes of kendo practice in each day. The following exercises are meant to be a maintenance/basic routine.



Getting the most out of exercises:
Repetitions for striking, weights and other non-stretching exercises should continue until you reach your maximum repetitions, take frequent 1 minute rest periods in between exercises.

Materials List:
wear loose clothing, shinai, full length mirror, barbell weight set, motivation music, kendo video, water

Warm Up

-Music, Kendo Videos
Music is a way to quickly prepare your body and mind for exercising. The same can be said for hearing the sound of kendo matches, immediately prepares your body and mind for the coming activity. Watching kendo videos is also a quick way to prepare for your exercise. Use this technique as a method to either relax during a stressful event or get motivated.
-Stretching
All stretching should be done slowly, at the peak of the stretch held for a few seconds, without any bouncing in place,
Leg Stretch, I found that this particular leg stretch a great time saver, stretch two legs at one time! Slowly lower self so that you can grab your ankles, slowly hold that position. Release your ankle hold and rise, repeat again. Never bounce in this posture.

Achilles/Leg Stretch, This classic kendo achilles stretching exercise is great because it also encourages good kendo 'body upright' posture. The illustation shows the left with heel down, for stretching the achilles. Alternate left foot foward, right foot forward to stretch both left and right side achilles. Always stretch slowly, never bounce in the posture while stretching.


Arm Stretch, This arm stretch feels good, like the after you wake up morning stretch. Slowly clasp your fingers together extending them above your head and hold. Arm Stretch, Stretch both right and left sides.
-Calf crunches
I developed this calf exercise to improve my footwork, I hope you find it beneficial. These calf exercises will make you feel the burn in less than a minute. Perform as many repetitions as possible rest a couple of minutes and continue with a few more reps.

1. Start with feet shoulder width apart.
2. Slowly lift your heel slightly off the floor, pushing from the balls of your feet, toes are relaxed.
3. Slowly and fully lift up your heel as far as possible, then slowly lower your heel to just slightly off the floor (1 rep) do not let your heels touch the floor until you are finished with this exercise.

-Sit-Ups
Sit-up crunches are great for strengthening your back and torso. Do as many repetitions as possible increasing the number you do by ten each time, for as long as you have time for.

Weights

-Just the basics
The following weight exercises are very specific to kendo arm strengthening, there are many in this category the following are just a few. The weight of a shinai should not be a factor in a kendo match and you should be able to use and "wield your shinai like chop sticks".
-Wrist Curl

Pick up the barbell in a underhand grip, hands less than a shoulder-width apart. Sit on a bench or chair with your fore arms resting on your knees, wrists placed forward of the knees.
1. Bend your wrists back and allow the weight bar to roll down to your finger tips.
2. When the wrists are fully bent, reverse the direction bringing your wrists up.
3. Continue bringing up your wrists as high as possible.

 
-Reverse Wrist Curl
Pick up the barbell in a overhand grip, hands less than a shoulder-width apart. Sit on a bench or chair with your fore arms resting on your knees, wrists placed forward of the knees.
1. Bend your wrists down as far as possible.
2. Bring your wrists back up as high as possible without using your arms.
 
-Triceps Press
This triceps press can be done while sitting or standing. With your feet shoulders width apart, grasp the barbell your hands close together but not touching in a overhand grip and press the weights above your head.
1. Lower the bar behind your head as far as possible, keeping your elbows pointed up and arms close to your head.
2. Raise the bar above your head to the start position.


Arm Strengthening
Get the most out of striking by using our unique kendo training technique for exercising your arms.


Posture and footwork

-The kendo posture line and footwork
Use a full length mirror to watch yourself practice footwork with a shinai without any up and down movement of your head. This exercise is very useful in presenting your opponent with a very small movement profile to see or react to, especially when moving forward.
Basic Footwork

-Developing explosive footwork, and better lung capacity
There are many ways to develop the legs in particular the calf muscles. One great way is bike riding because of its low impact on the knee joints and a similar pushing off with leg and calf muscles that is so important in explosive propulsion forwards. With a minimum of ten minutes of medium to hard riding every day your footwork strength will improve dramatically.
Bike riding is an excellent method to strengthen your legs for kendo with dramatic results and increased breathing capacity.

Striking
-Striking exercises, Suburi
Most people can complete a session of 100 suburis, increase the number of suburis you can complete in a session by 10 each time and work up to as many as you have time for. Always make sure your movement is one continuous strike, without stopping the footwork rhythm of the strike stop your shinai momentarily when you have extended your arm fully to strike men.
Kendo exercises you can do at home:

Kendo Small Waza Striking
Small waza striking is very suitable for home practice. Just a few minutes everyday swinging the shinai will improve your ability. When practicing these striking exercises change the rhythm by striking kote/men ..... kote/men/do .... men/men/kote etc. Five minutes of small striking waza should be a good warm up.
Small Kote
With your left hand lift the tip of the shinai and then down using a forward and backward motion. Always make sure to stop the shinai in a horizontal position, striking kote. Make every strike in one motion.
 
Small Men
Raise the right arm in a horzontal position and with your left hand lift the tip of the shinai and then down using a forward and backward motion striking men. Always stop the strike at the point when the shinai would make contact on the target. Make every strike in one motion.
 
Small Do
With your left hand lift the tip of the shinai and then down using a forward and backward in a diagonal motion towards the left shoulder and down. Bring the shinai down so that your fists are directly in front, striking do. Make every strike in one motion.
 

Cool Down
-Walk
Cool down, and lower your heart rate by walking for about five minutes, all the while drinking water.

Conclusion

-Mix it up, Have fun
Although working out does have a purpose and a goal you should strive to make it enjoyable and fun, varying the exercises and watching kendo videos before or after a workout. Always pay careful attention to striking properly, correct footwork, perfect posture and concentration. It has been shown that having a positive frame of mind makes the workout go faster, and improvements more dramatic.

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