Sparring in kendo is vastly different than sparring in karate-do. First off, the other guy is trying to WHACK YOU WITH A STICK. And given the it is rather small in circumference, and you are wearing a mask with bars obscuring your line of sight, you easily lose track of where it is currently. That is until it snacks into your hand, or rings your ears with a solid whack on your head.
Okay, to be fair - you’ve got a stick too. But they aren’t holding still, and every time you try something you get your knuckles smacked again. (I have new respect for those of you who survived Catholic school.) There are only three targets (the head, the wrists, and the sides of the body) - you’d think you could keep yourself covered up and protected.
You’d be wrong. And I have the swollen, bruised knuckles to prove it.
One of my least favorite exercises in kendo is a step back (evade) step forward strike combination. I feel awkward and out of shape doing it as speed is involved. I understood mentally what its purpose was; after tonight I understand physically the value of hiya suburi.