Keiko (Practice)
At Norwalk Dojo, a typical practice night consists of some combination of the following elements:
Junbi-undo (warm up)
Unless otherwise noted, each warmup exercise is done to an 8-count, where the leader calls out "ichi-ni", the group calls out "san-shi", leader calls out "go-roku", group calls out "shichi-hachi". For a 3-count exercise, the leader calls out "ichi-ni" and the group calls out "san"; "shi" is silent. Unless otherwise noted, the movements for "go-roku" count are same as "ichi-ni" and movements for "shichi-hachi" count are same as "san-shi".
  • jump
  • up: jump, go up on "san" (3-count)
  • down: jump, go down on "san" (3-count)
  • achilles: right foot forward, left foot forward (2 sets)
  • legs: "ichi-ni" slightly bending right knee, "san-shi" left knee
  • (legs) deeper: deeply bending right knee; left knee
  • forward and back: "ichi-ni" forward, "san-shi" back
  • twist: "ichi-ni" twist right, "san-shi" twist left
  • around: "ichi-ni-san-shi" start/end hands near floor, go right,
    "go-roku-shichi-hachi" go left
  • shoulder: right shoulder (right arm across chest), left shoulder
  • triceps: right arm (right elbow up), left arm
  • wrists: clasp hands in front of upper chest, rotate hands and loosen wrists
  • neck exercises, forward and back (look straight ahead): "ichi-ni" forward, "san-shi" back
  • (neck) side to side (look straight ahead): "ichi-ni" right, "san-shi" left
  • (neck) around: "ichi-ni-san-shi" rotate right, "go-roku-shichi-hachi" rotate left

Seiri-undo (warm down)
Same counting as junbi-undo.
  • jump
  • kusshin (expansion and contraction), hands on knees: "ichi-ni" deeply bend knees, "san-shi" straighten knees
  • around: same as junbi-undo
  • shin-kokyu (deep breathing): "ichi-ni-san-shi" swing arms in big arc (front, up, back, down) with right foot slightly forward/back, "go-roku-shichi-hachi" swing arms parallel to floor (back, forward) with left foot slightly forward/back

Seiretsu (Line Up)
In general, "seiretsu" means make a proper line. At the very beginning and end of keiko, the following are performed:
  • Line up with shinai, aligning to the senior people. Spread out evenly.
  • On "chakuza" command, follow your senior's lead to sit in seiza.
  • On "mokuso" command, perform mokuso. Stop on "naore" command (typically 7-10 breaths).
  • On "rei" command, perform za-rei (seated rei).

Roll call is taken at the beginning of keiko. The commands are

  • "shusseki o torimasu" (said before starting roll call)
  • "ijo desu" (said after roll call complete)
Kihon-dosa (Basic exercises)
In all of the kihon-dosa exercises it is important to maintain proper posture (eyes forward, back straight, shoulders square, chin slightly tucked), footwork (both feet pointing straight, back heel slightly raised), and balance (ready to move in any direction).

The following exercises are done to a 3-count (sankyo-do). Unless otherwise specified, on "ichi" raise the shinai overhead, on "ni" step forward and strike, on "san" return to kamae and step back.

  • taiga-tame, sankyo-do. Staying in kamae, take 3 steps forward, then 3 steps back, one step per count.
  • men-no-uchi-kata, sankyo-do. Strike men on "ni"
  • kote-no-uchi-kata, sankyo-do. Strike kote on "ni"
  • do-no-uchi-kata, sankyo-do. Strike do on "ni"
The following exercises are done striking men to a 10-count ("Ichi" "ni" "san" "shi" "go" "roku" "shichi" "hachi" "ku" "jyu").
  • suburi, nikyo-do. Two counts per step. On odd counts raise the shinai overhead, on even counts step either forward or back and strike men
  • suburi, ikkyo-do (also called shomen suburi). One count per step. On each count raise the shinai overhead and strike men, on odd counts step forward, on even counts step back
  • sayu-men, ikkyo-do. On odd counts raise the shinai overhead, step forward and strike the opponent's left side men (your right side); on even counts raise the shinai overhead, step backward and strike the opponent's right side men (your left side)
  • sayu-men, hiraki-ashi. Same as previous exercise, but on odd counts face 45 degrees to the left with the right foot forward, on even counts face 45 degrees to the right with the left foot forward. For footwork, slide the back foot up then slide the front foot back.
  • kiba-dachi suburi ("squats"). Feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. On each count raise the shinai overhead while straightening the legs, then cut through the men to the navel and go down until the thighs are parallel to the floor (stay in this position until the next count). Can also be done staying low.
  • fumikomi suburi (footwork lunges). Feet a little narrower than shoulder width apart. Like shomen suburi, but on odd counts take a big lunge step forward with the right leg. The foot lands solidly at the same time as you say and hit "men"; with the thigh parallel to the floor and the lower leg perpendicular to the floor. On even counts step with the left leg. After each strike return to the standing position.
  • haya-suburi. On each count step back and raise the shinai overhead, then step forward and strike men. On each step both feet must hit the floor (when going forward, right foot then left; when going back left foot then right). Note: on the very last men strike, for example on the 30th one if doing haya-suburi 30 times, strike silently (without saying "jyu"), then strike men and follow through, turn around and strike another men and follow through, turn around.
  • "after my count". May be used for any of the above. After the leader counts, say men while performing the appropriate movement.
Other exercises:
  • men-no-uchi, yonkyo-do. On "ichi" step forward, pressing in kamae. On "ni" raise the shinai overhead while stepping forward, and strike (note: the main point of this exercise is the do all of this on the "ni" count). On "san" return to kamae and step back. On "shi" stay in kamae and step back.

Ato-geiko (After Practice)
Ato-geiko is a chance to get extra practice with your senseis, seniors, and peers to work on individual areas, including more advance techniques. There are two basic types of keiko:
  • jiyu geiko (free practice): you may freely choose your opponent
    • try to practice with as many senseis as possible, especially the more junior you are. Do not let a sensei stand idle.
    • you cannot improve your level of kendo unless you practice with people of higher rank than you
    • try to practice with different people, especially any visiting sensei and kenshi
  • mawari geiko (rotation keiko): practice with your opponent for a fixed period of time (signaled by the drum), then rotate to your right. Occasionally one or more senseis may stay in place; rotate around them.

Occasionally different exercises and drills are run:

  • center person attack drill
    1. start with one person in the center and two lines of attackers
                  front  ctr  back
      odd total     4 2   1   3 5
      even total  6 4 2   1   3 5
      
      Remember your neighbors (who you follow and who follows you)
      easy way: start with an order then form the lines
      normal way: form lines and figure out the order on the fly
    2. first center person
      • first attacker is the person that follows you (always in front line)
      • last attacker will be the person you follow
        - at end of front line if even, at end of back line if odd
        - n-1 person in n-person line (eg if 5 total, 4th attacker)
      • go to end of front line on last attack
      • people in lines: person you follow is the person who attacks just before you
    3. new center person
      immediately move forward to center when person you follow is done so there is no break in the action

    4. example: 5-person group
      center order: 1 2 3 4 5
      4 2  1  3 5      center=1
        4  1  3 5 2      2 attacks
      3 4  1  5 2        3 attacks
        3  1  5 2 4      4 attacks
      5 3  1  2 4        5 attacks (change center)
      5 3  2  4 1      center=2 
        5  2  4 1 3      3 attacks
      4 5  2  1 3        4 attacks
        4  2  1 3 5      5 attacks
      1 4  2  3 5        1 attacks (change center)
      1 4  3  5 2      center=3 
        1  3  5 2 4      4 attacks
      5 1  3  2 4        5 attacks
        5  3  2 4 1      1 attacks
      2 5  3  4 1        2 attacks (change center)
      2 5  4  1 3      center=4 
        2  4  1 3 5      5 attacks
      1 2  4  3 5        1 attacks
        1  4  3 5 2      2 attacks
      3 1  4  5 2        3 attacks (change center)
      3 1  5  2 4      center=5 
        3  5  2 4 1      1 attacks
      2 3  5  4 1        2 attacks
        2  5  4 1 3      3 attacks
      4 2  5  1 3        4 attacks (change center)
      4 2  1  3 5      original order (repeat drill)
      

    5. example: 6-person group
      center order: 1 2 3 4 5 6
      6 4 2  1  3 5    center=1
        6 4  1  3 5 2    2 attacks
      3 6 4  1  5 2      3 attacks
        3 6  1  5 2 4    4 attacks
      5 3 6  1  2 4      5 attacks
        5 3  1  2 4 6    6 attacks (change center)
      1 5 3  2  4 6    center=2
        1 5  2  4 6 3    3 attacks
      4 1 5  2  6 3      4 attacks
        4 1  2  6 3 5    5 attacks
      6 4 1  2  3 5      6 attacks
        6 4  2  3 5 1    1 attacks (change center)
      2 6 4  3  5 1    center=3
        2 6  3  5 1 4    4 attacks
      5 2 6  3  1 4      5 attacks
        5 2  3  1 4 6    6 attacks
      1 5 2  3  4 6      1 attacks
        1 5  3  4 6 2    2 attacks (change center)
      3 1 5  4  6 2    center=4
        3 1  4  6 2 5    5 attacks
      6 3 1  4  2 5      6 attacks
        6 3  4  2 5 1    1 attacks
      2 6 3  4  5 1      2 attacks
        2 6  4  5 1 3    3 attacks (change center)
      4 2 6  5  1 3    center=5
        4 2  5  1 3 6    6 attacks
      1 4 2  5  3 6      1 attacks
        1 4  5  3 6 2    2 attacks
      3 1 4  5  6 2      3 attacks
        3 1  5  6 2 4    4 attacks (change center)
      5 3 1  6  2 4    center=6
        5 3  6  2 4 1    1 attacks
      2 5 3  6  4 1      2 attacks
        2 5  6  4 1 3    3 attacks
      4 2 5  6  1 3      4 attacks
        4 2  6  1 3 5    5 attacks (change center)
      6 4 2  1  3 5    original order (repeat drill)
      


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