(The last entry was incomplete!! I should be more focused even when I am putting in an entry!! -- "Go for it" was the comment I got from Sahla after the Gyaku-do I did on him at the second bout...)
This week I just finished 99% of the academic stuff, and so I expect the Wakaba practice to be as good as it can be...
Actually on Thursday night a few girls started a mini practice with Sahla at the squash court. I joined last week. Although Sahla was busy and didn't turn up, I filled 2-hr straight of Iaido, with significant improvement in Seitei #3 and #5.
Sat's Iaido was a big class of beginners. Of course the "seniors" including myself was spilt to the other half to get through all Seitei... Turns out to be that the 4 of us on the Senior side are ALL GIRLS. I have no idea since when did I become so sensitive about other female presence in the dojo. However, the more the better, even if they are all my kohai, so to speak... Women in the dojo used to be sitting at the side watching, as they are only the mother/wife/girlfriend. So it's good that some of them are actually IN there.
I did get corrected for a few more things:-
#11 - The first cut is on the opponent's left forehead, same as the first sayu-men we do in kirikaeshi in Kendo. I always just do a block and then straight cut.. without noticing I was wrong all the time, arrrgghh.
#12 - At the draw, the right arm pulls up the sword (straight and from the side, not above head) and the left hand pulls down the saya to facilicate the draw. Notice at the end of the Yoko-chiburi when we step back with the right foot, body balance should still be forward and not sloppy. Maybe try pushing the right foot slightly out to the side will help balancing.
We also did MSR Inyo-shotai, Gyakuto and ____(forget name.. where you sit to the left, turn back raising up, and cut 45-degree upwards, holding the sword like lightening)
Sahla is (as usual) annoyed by my excessive wrinkling... He actually paused the 4 of us once and say, "Jenny is the Hugh Grant of Iaido. She can have ten million facial expression during one kata!" Deeply embarassed, this time I tried really hard to keep a poker face. The key to keeping one is simply just relax. After the class Sahla says when I was more relax, my sharp cuts come back.
(I escaped from the beginner's class as Matsuoka and Inutsuka took over part of the moodachi... hehehe)
Sequence of people I fought in Jikeiko as follow:-
Matsuoka - Emmanuel - Gibson - Y Miyamura - Ota - Rafel - S Lee
Okada (tall boy) - Ali - Fujisawa
Schmidt - Ishido (boy)
Today I lost it to cut properly. Seemingly with the academics close to finish is not going to help. My de-kote has such a low success rate, always finishing in a bendy position. Needless to say all my Men went without seme... uhmm
My comments of each fight:-
Matsuoka - as I said, I lost it since the start of the whole 1 hour. Seems like at tsubazeriai I was so vulnerable to attack. Especially his hiki-kote was always so on the spot. He went to jodan and his katate waza hit my men like drumming... argh
Emmanuel - slightly more fun as he isn't that good. I mean that literally, since last week he said my kendo was not proper and he "beat you up completely". When I asked what he meant by improper, he said I hit Do on the wrong side. Well, that's called GYAKUDO, dude. I wonder when is the last time he check out the Rules & Regulations... At tsubazeriai he ALWAYS leave me a space for gykudo-cracking. Either that or he fancy banging the lower part of his shinai on my men-gane at tsubazeriai. And you call that proper kendo huh? Today I learn to escape from that by super sliding back - apparently, he can't really do a good hiki-men.
Gibson - it's always good to have a good person to fight with in between a bad one... Though this time he went into Jodan right from the start! I didn't recover from the last fight, and lost the initial couple of katate men and kote (yeah, I lost it!!) Sometimes I think getting into Jodan myself will give me "equal groundings" - yes, slightly more successful hits... at least they are cleaner. I did spend more time in seigan though, as I discover vs Jodan the shinai can't possibly be straight. Though I like moving my shinai to the left rather than to the right (as in kata #5)... and wait for a block (which isn't good)
Y Miyamura - It's difficult to train with another girl now so I was rather relaxed. By that I don't mean my concentration all went away. She is a senior, and her posture is far less shiai than myself. But when I relax my men cut came back!! I did a few good ones against her.
Ota - "Too much right hand..." Maybe thats the other reason why everyone can counter attack my men!! As demonstrated, I always pull my right hand on my upward swing. It went slightly better when I concentrate on my left hand more, and that I keep my right fist in front of my face at all times..
Rafel - he is tall and fights in a non-serious manner... the "he is just taller" thought came to my mind quite often, as after most of his men (which pops) my shinai is still pointing to his throat. I should have just step in more and perform a few good tsuki... now that I have think about it...hmm
S Lee - I started to realize how crap my men was today, and decided to go for men men men men men... against a junior like him. I give out a few opportunities to him, but my debana-men was ok...
Okada - He didn't fight seriously to me either. At one point I realize he didn't even bother to kiai. What the heck, the fight only lasts 30sec or so. No big deal.
Ali - I did more seme-men attempts on this junior. But I am far more impress by the kote-men he does at the final cut - so straight and poped so well.
Fujisawa - now he fought much faster to me than usual (to me), and deserves my full attention. But standing to his left was Sahla (and I decided to go on full with Fujisawa and leave Sahla for next week... just to escape from another death match), which reminds me of the "if you relax your sharp cuts will come back" comment earlier in the Iaido class... Maybe Fujisawa was just tired and got caught off-guard by me, once I tried restricting my head not to tilt up and did a SPOT ON men --- Gave me such confidence for 3 second. At least I am not as crappy as I could have thought.
Schmidt - I wish I was more solid... really, literally... as I am always "bulldozed" by Schmidt's Men. I have to roll around him after doing a de-kote (even if it is really good). Also I was highly disturbed by having no seme on my men cuts. Later he advice me to practice Men/ seme more on people slightly above my level, as juniors are more likely to ignore the seme, leaving me developing bad habits. I should also try seme by stepping in...
Ishido - last week was a nightmare... he came at me and hit at random... I had to pause the practice and tell him "YOUR MUM IS STILL SITTING THERE... I DID NOT KILL HER!!" This week was more enjoyable as we are all having smiling faces back on. I like doing kote-do on kids that low. If it was me I could be more impressed if some senpai can cut men +kote +do +tsuki as he wish, other than just taking physical advantage of being taller and cut Men all the time.
...I need to get back to shape. I have been sitting in the chair 24/7 for the whole of last week. There is still the 1% I need to deal with this coming week in Brighton -- I probably have to skip a practice to cope with that... :(