Saturday, July 31, 2004

Last Summer Practice

Technically it's only my home dojo's last summer practice. I'd be traveling to other dojo like last year anyway.

This is one of the Friday practice, but the attendance is very good on the day. At least I was back to the center line again with half of the kohai on one end and half of the senpai at the other end.

Recently I quite like the new "rotation" format... We start off with 2 kirikaeshi and then 2 minutes of jikeiko with everyone else. When we went through one complete round, we can go and have a short breather, and go on practice with whoever we like (not rotating anymore). At least this rotation format keeps the beginners going. Since everybody is still standing, there is no way they want to drop out in the middle of the round just because they are "a little bit tired".

... After the freedom-to-choose-partner jikeiko, at the last 10 minutes of the day, we have the rotation going again! This time is 1 min each, and we were told to GIVE EVERYTHING. Because the practice was so short -- it wasn't hard to really give everything, surprisingly. I like the long mokuso afterwards... feels like going for another round!

When fighting against someone senior, I think know much better how to deal with the, as comparing to last year. They are the challenge that I really want to sort out! Before I was always worrying about being destroyed by seniors (it's a mental thing)... But now my concentration level raises dramatically when I faces any senpai. The reward will be that I can get an occational Ippon so clean that, the senpai will pause in the middle of the practice and nodd their heads! This feels really sweet.

With people of the same level (shodan), I also have to be very focused. Now by fighting them I'll know how much I have lost during the 7 months I missed the regular practice. By fighting them I also know how much they have improved. Some of my kohai are at the same grade as mine. It's a good thing seeing their kendo being so much neater after a long-time-no-fight. Besides, it's less energy-consuming that I don't need to teach them verbally anymore.

Fighting Harris is still difficult. His multple tsuki waza is very hard to counter. The fear of getting tsuki is sending my balance on my back leg again. Once again I need the GO FORWARD mentality. Although I did score some quick Ippons at the start, my endurance level isn't as good. And then there is his Kaeshi-do I really want to learn. Such classic Itto-ryu stuff that is... Kaeshi-do/gyaku-do looks great.

A couple of senpai is telling me to "shorten my stance". Uhmmm they said it's more mobile to stand with feet closer. My arguement was I need to feel more stable. Also I want to practice more of that seme-no-ashi thing... Though I discover I can stand wider (as in shoulder width) to maintain stability as well. Hmmm... and I wonder if this is the bad habit I get from Iaido (I was told my cuts in Iai is also a bit like karate stance... uhmm)

Didn't stay long in the pub as I have Iaido early tomorrow at Wakaba.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Watching Day

My left ankle isn't too well so I decided to give it a rest. Kendo-wise that is, as I still went for 2 hours of Iaido + the bloody kendo kata...

Sahla sensei was at the beginner's end (surprisingly, Matsuda-san is starting Iaido as well!!), so we the slightly more intermediate people quietly did Seitei under Hahn-Morris's supervision. Actually I spent the first hour (when the other side was at their Jodo class) running through Seitei #1-12 TWICE... So that day I did the whole Seitei for like, 4 times... Argh.

My body isn't that balanced doing o-chiburi from kneeling. I'd blame the bad ankle for now...

The 4th cut at #11 is a 180-degree horizontal cut. Should not attempt to drop the sword AND THEN pull it behind the body.


I missed yesterday's Nenriki, but they arranged a "massive attack" on Wakaba today. That's probably because they heard Ideguchi-sensei (nito) is leaving soon. Excluding me who is just watching at the side, there are 7 of us -- Blake-sensei came along as well, amazing!!

Holt-sensei and Gibson turned up in Nenriki yesterday. I totally missed the fun. Gee, I really hate not being able to train!!