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    This will be my personal trainings diary.

    As I have been absent now for a long time, I will changes this now. I can’t really belief that it has been now around two years that I took the classes!?
    The last two years where turbulent as it belongs to my work. I was working for an engineering office which sent me to nearly everywhere in Europe where the work was. This gave me the opportunity to gain a lot of knowledge and new ideas and experiences, but it also included a major cutback in my private life and more over in my training. This was than in the end the main reason why I quitted my job. So now I’m working for a plant, still as a design engineer for aircrafts. That made the over all situation for me better, but it includes now, that I have to take the train to work every day. To take the train last for more then one hour per track. So during the week my spare time is still limited but at least I can now constantly visit the dojo in which I’m taking training again.

    What else has happened since the last time I was active here in the forum!?
    At the end of the year 2008 I got graded the 1st Dan. Then in 2009 on our last Seminar I got graduated from the teacher of my teacher the 3rd Dan. This might go along with the talk which I had earlier on with my teacher. In this talk I asked him, if it is possible to take the saki or go-dan test before I turn 35. The saki-test – which is actually the test for the 5th Dan – gives you officially the permission to become a teacher your self and open your own dojo.
    My teacher said that this should be possible but we have to work on a training plan which will include all the things I have to work on to get the knowledge my teacher finds necessary to have as a 5th Dan.
    This was than also reflected by the words of my teacher’s teacher when he handed the grade over to me. He said: “I grade you now a 3rd Dan but it is up to you what you do with it.” I think, he meant by this, that it is my own responsibility to fill the grade, make myself worth to wear it.
    So now I try to incorporate some extra training in my weekly schedule besides the training in our dojo. This training will include practise of stances, the two columns of our system and some extra weapon training.

    Since the second half of last year I changed my daily schedule a little in the way that I planned in some training time in the morning. So now I get up at 0530 in the morning to be able to do a session of Qi-Gong and mediation before I start my day.
    In this way I spent the last months more or less constantly (exceptions where the weekends) doing Qi-Gong and a short meditation.
    For the meditation I do, I will write a PMD in the according section here in the forum.

    As I had started to write this personal training diary a while a go, the first things will be about things which are already a time gone. Sorry for that!
    Additionally I will start with the Intro Course and then going on with all the classes which are offered.

    As for the Qi-Gong session I do now it consists of two parts.
    The first part is – I call it –joint activating exercise. This Qi-Gong technique helps to activate the joints and opens the meridians. This makes the Chi flow through them again without a blockage.
    – If someone is interested in this exercise, I would be pleased to go more into detail and tray to explain them. –
    The second part is a Qi-Gong exercise which helps to build up a sphere of awareness around you. This exercise is described in the old JRA-forum.
    – Also for this exercise, if there is interest for it, I will look forward to get a link to it or try to explain them my self. –


    On Monday I went for the first time in our newly set up “Fight Club”. This is an extra training for students of our dojo from 5th Kyu and upwards.
    In the fight club we do a lot of drills to get some routine into the techniques we are training. This should also make us able to use them in a situation of stress and without thinking.
    Also we started to do a basic version of free-fight. We started to do it in the way to just use our open hands and try to hit our opponent with them. As target is everything allowed which is above the belt. So till jet there are no kicks, grapping or throwing included. But my teacher said that they will be added later on, when we have our armament (which will include boxing-gloves, gum shield, cup and shin guard).
    This is, as I think, a really good add-on to our training and I’m looking forward to what is coming.

    On Wednesday we do always have weapon training. This evening we worked again with the sword (Katana/Bokken). First we did a couple of techniques to unsheathe the sword. We did it in a combination with a horizontal cut and with a vertical cut from top down and visa versa. After that we practice the same techniques with a partner. Our opponent had the sword already drawn and would try to cut us with a vertical cut from top down. We had our sword covert and had to act when we think or better said got the feeling that he would start his cut.
    He explained this technique to us black belts as a soap-bubble thing. By that he meant that every one of us has his own sphere in which he feels save. As long as the spheres of to opponents do not touch each other nothing will happen. But in the moment when they do, this is the moment when you have to act. This was a very interesting experience. Especially one situation kept in my mind, as I also got some input from my teacher on that. I felt that my opponent would act and so I started my movement. In this moment I got, for the wink of an eye, the feeling to go down on my knee but I went over it. So I got hit on my head. As I said, my teacher was watching and afterwards he asked me, if I had a feeling of “going down” as he himself had it. Then he said that we should put more confidence in our feelings and trust them as they could keep us out of danger.
    This is, I think, the same thing which we have to learn for taking the Saki-Test.

    At the end of the training he then explained again the importance of adding weapons to ones martial art training. First you have to learn the basics and then later you should add weapons to get a deeper understanding of the techniques and the principles behind them.
    He also said that in martial arts training there should always be room for fun and enjoyment but when you do the techniques then there is “war”. Especially when you are working with the sword your training partner is not anymore your partner, he is your opponent and both have to have in mind that you are prepared to cut or be killed. He said it is very essential for working with the sword to accept this finality and be in peace with your self to keep a claim mind/spirit.

    The last couples of trainings where quiet interesting for me. With the beginning of the New Year we returned to the basics. – Every year we get an over all topic from our grandmaster and this year it is “rokkon shou jou”, which means to “clean” our six senses. – As this years topic is not really for beginners we keep on training the “gyokko ryu – kosshijutsu”, which is the origin of our basics.
    The interesting or good thing on this for me is, that I now got my “brown letter” – which includes the homework we have to do for our self to reach our next goal (in my case to take the go-dan test) – and in it is written, that I should concentrated more on the basics, the stances and the of course gyokko ryu kosshijutsu. So, the things I have to study by my self go along very well with our training in the dojo which should help me immense with my own training.

    Then in training, my teacher was speaking about basic training and “feeling training” and how the last one is very easily misunderstood. In his understanding the feeling or soft training is good for getting an understanding of the weaknesses of the body of our opponent and how we can/should influence it to break his balance. But for beginners it is not more than that, although late it becomes more.
    So he meant, that learning to influence the balance of our partner in a way which gives us advantages and opens possibilities for us is a add-on or start to understand what will happen when we punch or kick or partner as this is not any different than pushing the partner on different parts of the body.
    I think this is very important not only to hear and understand but also to “feel”/experience through the basic training.

    Now about my Qi-gong training in the morning: As I do it now constantly for a longer time again I experienced something very interesting/exciting. I do the exercises always with closed eyes, but now I reached a “stage” in which I do not only feel what I’m but also sometimes see my arms in a light which could be from light gray over with to violet.
    Also I do have a very good feeling of the flow of chi through my body.
    The constant training makes it possible for me to do my exercises with open balcony door, although we have now winter and something around -8 to -5 degree Celsius.


    We had first basic training and later on than our “Fight Club”. So in the moment the training on Monday last for me for about 4 hours. This is the reason why I’m returning home quiet late and be a little lazy on the next day. But that’s a different story.
    As I got my letter or better said my homework of what to do for taking the saki test in the future, the basic training on Monday suites me very well. This gives me the opportunity to really focus on the basics. Especially my trainer told me, that I have to focus on a proper stand. This means taking a wide and deep kamae (stand), keep my spine straight, pushing my shoulders back but keeping them relaxed and using the full range of my body. He said, that one of my problems is, that I make myself smaller than I’m and I have to change it to become able to really reach the full potential of my body.
    Also I have to focus on the correct timing, distance and angles. This would help me to get a better and deeper understanding for the techniques and what they want to show/teach us. With this along goes, that I should just do what is shown and concentrate on that. I shouldn’t make my own interpretations or variations as this would dilute the idea of the technique/principle. Only through the correct practice of the correct technique I will be able to understand the principle which lies behind it. And only when I had understood this principle I would be able to freely use it.
    After the basic training we had our “Fight club”. Therein we worked on drills, did a little of “slow fight” – which is a free application of what we know but with the restriction to just use our open hands – and played “Zombie”.
    Zombie is a very funny game which is very useful too. It was invented to us during an extra training. In this extra training we had an instructor of Krav Maga visiting us. The idea of Zombie is, that multiple attackers, starting by one and summing up to how many people are ever available, try to grab you. Your job is to just push them out of your way and use the open space which is provided to you through your actions. This should train your abilities to see the possibilities, openings and develop a feeling for the situation.
    Zombie and also “slow fight” should help you to develop a “no ego”. This means, that real Budo has nothing to do with winning or losing it’s just about surviving. My trainer said that the ego is the thing which stands between oneself and the ability to survive. He meant by that, that when you get hit and you bring your ego into ply you will lose, because you lose the ability of an open mind and a sight for the whole situation. With your ego you might be able to deal with the one attacker which has hit you, but you would be too focused on just him. Because of that, it’s most likely that you will miss his friends whom will help him and finish you.
    So I think, the idea behind the Fight Club is, beside all the drills, slow fight, sparring etc., to help us to develop this “no ego”.


    Today I was for the first time in “Kieser-Training”. As I do have some issues with my back or better said with my back muscle, I was visiting a doctor. He recommended me to take some muscle-training and especially for that he would recommended the “Kieser-Training”.
    So I made an appointment with the training-facility and showed up there yesterday for the first time.
    The “Kieser-Training” is a training which focuses on the individual muscle or muscle-group. So every exercise you make is a perfect training for the individual muscle. The exercises themselves following always the same pattern. You make a movement for about four seconds, hold the weight for two seconds and make for four seconds the reverse movement. In this pattern a single repetition lasts for 10 seconds. In sum you should be able to exercises with the weight which is set-up on the machine for at least 60 seconds or 6 repetitions, but not longer then 90 seconds or 9 repetitions. If you couldn’t do the exercise for 60 seconds the given weight is too high and you have to reduce it by five percent the next time. If you do the exercise stress less for more than 90 seconds, then you should increase the weight by five percent the next time. All in all one exercise should not last more than 120 seconds.
    I got, from the instructor, ten different exercises/machines and we worked through six of them yesterday. During the whole training I felt very comfortable and enjoyed it. After the training I first sought, that was not a big deal to handle what was presented to me. But 15 to 30 minutes later I started to feel my muscles and that I have worked with them, but still not uncomfortable. As a resume for yesterdays training I can say I have enjoyed it and looking forward to the next session!


    Good to hear Yoshio, that sounds a bit like Pilates.


    On that day I had my second “Kieser-Training”. All in all in the end the trainers there chose for me 11 different exercises/fitness devices and we had worked through 9 of them yet.
    As I said, the fine thing on this training is that you focus on one muscle or muscle-group. So you don’t have to work till debility and I had comfortable feeling after the training. I mean, my muscles felt used but not overworked and my overall feeling was fine, although I do have a little aching muscle at the next day.
    As Master Inari stated that the “Kieser-Training” sounds a little like Pilates, I did a quick research about Pilates on the internet. By that I found out, that there are parallels in the way of working concentrated on one muscle or muscle-group. In this way you also focus you mind on the individual exercise, on your breathing and the repetitions you have to do. The big difference as far is I got it, is, that in “Kieser-Training” all the exercises will be performed with fitness devices and in Pilates you have exercises which you can do without any equipment on your own. This might be an advantage of Pilates as you can do it every where you’d like. For “Kieser-Training” you always need a gym.


    After a long time not having written anything about my training I hope to start all over new and do it now more regular again. The problem is that most of the things are in repetition and so not much to write about. But anyway, here we go!
    First of all, the end of the year 2010 wasn’t very satisfying for me. First I heart my left shoulder a bit during my exercises. Then I was used as an Uke (attacker) on the “Year-End Seminar” and was thrown around a lot so thing become worse. All that ends up in not being able to train for the rest of the year. So on Monday 2011-01-10 was than the first training for me after around one month. How I have missed the training in the Dojo!
    The good thing was that this training was a Kihon (basic) training. So we focused on just a few techniques and worked out the details of them. As always on such opportunities it is always a joy to have the time to real do every step with full consciousness. It is really important to have every step, every angle of every step correct. My teacher always tells us that there are five points you have to be aware of when you are doing a technique.
    These are:
    – Distance
    – Angle
    – Timing
    – Rhythm
    – Balance
    So a beginner starts with the distance-aspect and then progress further till he reaches the balance stage. After having learned and understood all five you have to bring them together and use all five at the same time. That’s where I stand now and sometimes it feels to me as I would be a complete beginner. Ok that’s not completely true, but it is so easy to mess up with one or the other point.

    On Wednesday’s training we did “san nin dori” which means “fighting multiple attackers”. In our case we trained in a group of three. So there where always two attackers and one defender. Oh man, that adds a whole of new aspects to your training and the techniques! When my teacher is doing it, it looks so easy. But when I have to do it, it seems like it doesn’t matter which step I do or which movement I would perform, there is always somewhere a fist which could have hit you or a leg have kicked you or your out of balance and have to go to the ground, which is obviously a bad idea with more than just one attacker! But it is a very good experience and I hope we do it more often in training!
    According to that my teacher pointed out something his teacher told him. He was speaking about the understanding of “safety and danger”. By that he meant you have to understand and find out for yourself where it is safe for you to go to during a technique and where it isn’t. He said, when you start to understand that and develop a feeling for that, it would make a lot of things much clearer and easier.

    The second half of our Wednesday’s training we worked with the sword again. There where two points about which my teacher spoke.
    The first one was about the attitude you should have and keep during training and especially sword training. He said that you should always keep a smile no matter how you feel. Because showing your emotions is like giving your attacker a hint how you are and how he could attack you the best/easiest way. It is a bit like in the creed! There is no emotion, there is peace. You have to be in peace with yourself, your thoughts and your surrounding and when you are, you have nothing to fear.
    The other point was about the quality of sword training. He once again pointed out, that, during sword training, there is no room for fun, childish behaviour or ego. He also said that, that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have fun before and after the training, but during the training your mental attitude should be like being on battlefield. When you are not fully aware of what is going on in yourself and around you, you give yourself an opening which your opponent will immediately use for his advantage and that would mean you will die. So he said when you attend training somewhere else or on a seminar look close how they train with the sword, because the training with the sword will show you the quality and attitude of the peoples and the Dojo.


    I wouldn’t worry about repetition. You’ll find new things to talk about even with the repetition. It also helps people see what you do in your daily training. :-)


    Cheers Master Jax. I will do my best as I’m also pretty sure it will help me with keeping things in mind better.

    So here we go with a new one!

    We had a kind of special training this Monday. First we started with Kukishinden-ryu Kenjutsu. We trained for about 1,5 hours. After that we had a lecture, do you say so!?, about Japanese swords. It was the start of a row of lectures lasting for three in sum.

    But first for the sword training. Our teacher pointed out that for training with the sword it is of immense importance to keep a clear/calm mind and have clear movements and techniques. As training and fighting with swords would be in real very, very quick, there is no time for what ever is useless or unnecessary or unclear/unsharp. I do have to keep this always in my mind. You have to reduce your movements to an absolute minimum and do only does things which are necessary.
    One other thing I do have to be more precise about is, that the function of the Japanese sword is the function of the blade but also the function of the shield. So for becoming able to use your sword as a shield you have to hide in a way behind your blade. This would be only possible by keeping your blade-tip between you and your opponent. By that, if the attacker would do a step forward I will always “run” into your blade. But this brings up another point which is the importance of a proper stance. Because you have to be able to absorb the force of your attacker through your stance as you will not win anything when you got run over by your attacker. My teacher sometimes says with “smile” in his eyes: “Be careful as you might hit your opponent accidentally wise.”
    So again, it’s everything about Kamae/stance!

    About the lecture, one of may Dojo mates was for about five years in Japan and there he studied Iaido – the art of uncovering your sword quickly – and also had the luck of getting into contact with some Japanese sword smiths. So his series of lectures is structured in the way that he first told us about the history of Japan and within it the development of the Japanese swords.
    This was very interesting! To sum up the lecture in short you could say that first the Japanese took over the swords from Korea and China. Then the started to develop there own stile. As the prime class for using a sword were the Samurai and they where horse backed the shape of the sword became a curvy one with a single edge blade as this is best used from a horseback. Later than, as the war strategies changed and also the society the development progressed further and the end result was the Katana as we will see it today as the “typical” Japanese sword.
    This lecture was already very interesting and I’m very much looking forward what the other two will include/tell us!?


    Our teacher wasn’t able to hold the training this Wednesday and so it was up to us black belts to do it.
    Because of that a training colleague of mine did the first part of the training. He work with us through a part of the Kihon Happo which are basically locks, levers – do say so? – and throws. Out of them he picked two. Started from the basic he then add or expand them to some Henka (variations).
    It was quiet interesting for me to see how someone else is interpreting those things and how he had worked with them.
    After the first part of the training it was then up to me to do the second one. My teacher handed over to me the task of working with the sword. As he told us, we started with 100 Suburi (cutting exercise). Then we did some Kata training. This two exercises should help people to get quick a feeling for the sword and help them to prepare themselves for the more free training. For this I pick up the principles from my colleague and showed my interpretation with the sword. Ok it’s not that simple, it was more the stepping order which I used to do some techniques with the sword. I also added some “hidden” techniques to it.
    The first one was like your attacker is coming at you with a vertical strike downwards. You step out of his attacking direction under 45 degrees backwards to his inside. Then he will come at you with another horizontal cut. Again you do another step 45 degree backwards and end up again on his inside. On the first step you did nothing than stepping out. With the second step you draw sword and control the attacking blade. After that you do now a step forward and with the control of his blade you fix the both blades on the attacker’s body. Now you would do a “hidden” kick to his lower body to bring him back. When you put down your kicking leg, you use this movement to cut him down.
    The other one was a bit simpler but needed more “fighting spirit”. The attacker will again use a vertical downward cut to attack you. You just simple step a bit forward and to the outside of the attacker, bringing your sword up with the blade pointing outward. So he will hit the hilt with his blade. This lat your blade flips over and so it comes in front of him. Now you just do one more step forward and use this movement to do a horizontal cut through his throat. This technique comes very quick and is a bit of a surprise for the attacker and so leaf him no time to react.
    For me it was fun and an honour to was allowed to show some techniques to the class. I enjoy it very much and I think it is a good opportunity to see things from a different point of view and so may become some new insights/understanding for the things.

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