Rathbone, my Brighton dojo comrade, is willing to drive the both of us all the way to Rickmansworth for a "Ladies Seminar". The journey was 2 hours (one way). Slightly better than the 2.5 hrs by train (and you have to change platform, wait, etc... such nightmare...)
We talked a lot about our training, especially her experience in Germany is quite unusual. In fact, everyone's kendo adventure is unusual!
"Any woman who does kendo in this country deserves my respect."
According to Rathbone, squad training used to be in Birmingham. God knows why she can survive 5 hrs of driving every month, in addition to all the travelling to competitions all over Europe... She must really like kendo before then.
The teacher of this Ladies Seminar was Honda. He brought his wife and daughter along. Looks like they are just a Japanese family having an outing here --
The gym belongs to a GIRLS SCHOOL. Facilities is too good, just like 5-star hotel.
Just when I want to complain about the travelling... Riddoch and Jeya from EDINBURGH enter the gym...
Jokes aside, lets get back to the technical stuff.
The seminar started with very kihon exercises. All types of footwork. A pair moving together while maintaining the correct distance, with a upright posture.
Suburi exercise: Honda demonstrates the various ways to "swing a stick". Like fishing, or baseball, after throwing action, the arms (especially the right one) remains extended. Then there is an exercise where your left index finger hooking up the small finger of the right -- just throw the hands in empty air.
Stamping/fumikomi: It is like kicking up the right leg. We did one exercise with the left foot in front after a few normal walking steps, and then push off with the left and kick + stamp with the right. "If you are really confident, you can perform fumikomi at every step without sliding steps." Yes - I tried that but that really pulls the left thigh muscle and it's painful to the right foot...
Metsuke: Look at the opponent between 6th & 7th bar of Men-gane. (Since a lot of people are looking upwards - including me..) Looking at a far mountain...
Kihon with wearing Men is still the basics, and no fancy waza. But the focus was on the Motodachi.
Points for Being Motodachi:
1) Don't close your eyes.
2) Give generous openings to the attacker, especially when he/she is a junior.
3) Be prepared to receive another cut. Especially after the opponent passes through, you should turn around sharply and be ready.
4) Don't use a posture that looks like you are escaping from the cut.
It's important to learn to be a good motodachi, because you can improve your Oji waza. Use body movements, the shinai and the footwork.
Then there is a mawari-keiko session. It was fantastic - especially I fought Rathbone and Vinelott (squad), although missing Honda (but then there are always chances later). We were saying that this will probably be the only practice where you can give everything without worrying about the bruises! There is a saying: girls vs boys is a fight, girls vs girls is a practice.
Yes. Back to our dojo we all have to fight our way through.