There was this TV crew from Sky Sports (cable sports channel) filming everywhere and everything. They had me and Leng talking about kendo on a few minutes --and then they dragged her for an interview.
They dragged all the winners for an interview. I managed to spy on half of what they said. Not many chance do you hear people talk about "why do you like kendo?".
McLauglin who was refereeing some of my matches fed me with some comments. He said my ki-ken-tai-icchi is bad. And at one point I was so tired waving around that I lean forward too much. Not that I disagree, I just don't get it when he said it...
Earlier on when I entered the gym, I put my bogu bag next to Hayes, who is in the current British squad from this home dojo. He looked at my zekken, and said "Oh, Hi Jenny. I want to fight you today." I didn't expect that so all I said was "alright".
At lunch break the empty gym was at first occupied by the TV crew, trying to film some pre-choregraphed kendo moves. I stayed for a while but decided to feed my empty noisy stomach first. When I got back the cameraman was gone, and so a few of us started putting on our Men.
Usually all the taikai overrun. If you want to practice with an old friend from far away, you'd have to sacrifice the lunch break. At first I thought only pathetic kendo maniacs like myself and some others will do such a thing, but when I pulled my men himo together, Honda (British Squad Coach) was already up in the middle of the gym (later, Yanai-sensei joined in as well). Last time at the Ladies Seminar I missed the chance to practice with him, so immediately I get into his queue (when no one else is around).
When I looked at other people around, Hayes showed up and said, "...eh you can practice with him afterwards." So off we went.
Recalling the night before my fight with Matsuoka. I finally get used to fight until I got the Ippon. There can be a lot of crazy but fun sword-crossing opportunities in chika-maai. Like that hiki-gyaku-doh I got from Hayes... just totally sent him in shock. But today with a slight improvement, I got some Men Ippon, as well as some de-gote. Although I repeatedly piked on his Men-gane, I see the opening.
I wished I was fighting like that at the Shiai. But I was too bothered with winning/loosing points that my "real kendo" is not there...
Exhausted I called for final Ippon, to which I lost a Men as my de-gote came a sec too slow. After that I was back in Honda's queue again. (I still don't know why Hayes wants to fight me... did I do something wrong??!)
I feel like showing my best. My focus was 120% when we get up from Sonkyo. I start having this mentality against all the sensei after I get that super cool kote Ippon from Sahla during the summer. This time I touched Honda's Men (somehow I think he knows I am going for kote, so I went for men). To my excitement that I won that Sho-dachi, I went all the way through, shouting "Waaaa----" at the top of my lungs. (Sorry but my current kiai is "waaa" - I find shouting out target names too confusing)
... Suddenly I realized something. I TOUCHED the men, not cutting it. A few more times Honda went for de-gote and nuki-doh as well. The second thing I realized was: he fights from really close. Not at the shinai tips touching, but at the nakayui touching.
I SHOULD HAVE FOUGHT AN INCH CLOSER ----!!
The night before I had that fun fight with Matsuoka. Bored with the long keiko, we stopped and checked our shinai.. He gave me his 39 to hold, and its balance was so great that it feels lighter than my 38 (hmm I hope he didn't do anything to it)!! When I hold his shinai he was holding mine in Chudan. So immediately we went back into keiko mode, in which I did a brilliant Men cut. I told Matsuoka, "hey this is longer!!"
Before the opening ceremony we were on the same queue for shinai check. I was telling Matsuoka that, if my shinai breaks I'll borrow his 39. But using a longer shinai isn't the reason. I should have fought an inch closer...
To my surprise I won the Best Fighting Spirit award for my division. Hayes got his as well, incidentally.
3 weeks to go for my Nidan. I hope I have the time to readjust my messed-up distance!!
For full results check the BKA site:-