Furusawa Nobuaki has had brilliant results in high school, university and at the police until now. Currently, he is fostering that experience and as the men’s coach of the Japan Sports Education University Kendo Club he is making full use of his ability. We have asked Furusawa, who says that “Suburi is self confrontation” about the importance of Suburi and what he focuses on as an instructor.
3. Interlink shoulder, elbow, wrist and Tenouchi
Furusawa Nobuaki, Renshi 6th dan
Born in Kumamoto Prefecture 1981, 36 years old. He went from Aso High School to Japan Sports Education University after which he was appointed to the Imperial Police. In high school, he won the Gyokuryuki Tournament and became 2nd in the All Japan High school Championship twice, and took back to back titles in the National Sports Tournament. In his university days he took 2nd place in the All Japan Student Championship, and won the Kanto Student Championship. In his days at the Imperial Police, he won the National Police Championship third prize. After retiring from the Imperial Police Department, he became a masters student at Japan Sports Education University, and currently he is Assistant Professor of Martial Arts Education, Faculty of Sports Culture at the Japan Sports Education University.
How do you connect your Suburi to duels? I think this is a very important question when learning Kendo. From the moment I started Kendo until now, I have been continuously doing Suburi but I haven’t been able to answer that question straightforwardly. However, I would like to explain my own view regarding Suburi, what I have experienced and learned, and also what I want to teach as the men’s coach of the Japan Sports Education University Kendo Club.
Interlink shoulder, elbow, wrist and Tenouchi and make a smooth and instantaneous strike
Suburi is nothing but a waving exercise if there is no purpose. Then, what is the purpose of Suburi? I think that there are several purposes, and that being conscious of the blade angles and swinging in one movement are among them.
I think that it is often said and taught to swing in one movement, but it is probably also true that it is not understood what is meant by “one movement”. I received guidance from a certain teacher, saying “to strike in one movement is to strike smoothly and instantaneously”.
I think to strike smoothly means that the parts of the body that we use are interlinked well. While focusing on the shoulder blades, swiftly swing up your Bokuto and move the shoulders, elbows, wrists and Tenouchi in that order. By doing so, I think that from the side it will look like a strike in one smooth movement.
On the other hand when it comes to hitting in 2 movements, this happens when you swing with the left hand stretched out and when the left little- and ring finger loosen. Especially among beginners this can be seen. I think that just by fixing the stretching of this left arm, you can get closer to striking in one movement.
Swing up 45 degrees, the right hand should be at shoulder level when swinging down, and the left hand around stomach level. Rotate your Tenouchi inward as you finish your strike, and drop the Kensaki down to the level of your opponents’ head.
From 100 Hayasuburi to 10 Shomen-Uchi
Get yourself in order to finalize Keiko
At the Japan Sports Education University, we always do Suburi at the beginning and the end of practice. In particular the Suburi at the end of the Keiko is done after jigeiko and oikomi to exhaust the students and then they do 100 Hayasuburi with their men and Kote still on.
Doing Suburi at the point where you are exhausted is harder than you might imagine. During Suburi, your breathing, Tenouchi and body balance become worse. If we finish in this state, the balance will remain bad, so after Hayasuburi they do 10 Men strikes from Kamae to get themselves in order.
Besides that, as a university we work on Japan Kendo Kata for morning practice. Morning practice is mainly Jigeiko but we enter the practice after doing the Japan Kendo Kata. By doing so, I think that the Tenouchi and the blade angles can be focused on during Jigeiko.