This Friday is the last 2004 practice in my home dojo. Attendance is "average", nevertheless it has been a great session.
I completely skipped the warm-up... Was writing more email and completely lost the time. I knew on Sat and Sun I won't be at home so email gets the priority.
When I went in it was already mawari-keiko time. Getting in when my hands and feet are all cold is not helping. Many of the fights are sub standard, especially the one against Wright - that was even worse than the unexpected keiko yesterday (lost an elbow-do but at least I got one Tsuki there!!).
The second half of the practice was mainly jikeiko. One good thing about Nenriki is that the space is pretty open and you pick whoever you want (unlike Wakaba where it's on rotation all the time, or at Mumeishi where you spend most of your time queuing for sensei). I was queuing for Matsuoka when he was fighting Takizawa.
People said you can have an advantage by height. To a certain extend I agree. Apart from the obvious "reach" factor, somehow, I reckon it is about confident. Most of the time in Wakaba, against someone shorter (mainly kids) I can cut big men, either fast or slow.
Watching the two Japanese senpai from the side makes me analyise why some people have so much worry about everything, and some feels so happy about anything...
Matsuoka's funny laughter after cutting Takizawa's men - several well-timed ones. Sometimes the pracice stopped for a while when Matsuoka wants to explain. I don't have that privilage since he can't seem to communicate well enough in English (my guess).
Actually, fighting Matsuoka is a lesson by itself. Things in Kendo are most of the time best described by hitting/getting hit. Especially from someone who is already used to teaching in his local dojo in Japan. Some other Japanese senpai, even though their kendo is great, do not have the same teaching experience. Therefore by fighting those, you get beaten up, but not inspired.
With regards to the "Ashi-sabaki wa zenzen ni dameda" comment (Footwork is absolutely no good...), I focused on my left foot a lot more, and as a result my renzoku waza are so much faster. Still, Matsuoka beats me up. On many occations there were clashing sound of shinai ten times or so - followed by one sharp ippon from Matsuoka. He likes picking openings. Say, if you pause in the middle he gets his favourite moment to cut you back. Despite my random kote-men/ kote-do cuts, I clearly lost 10+ men, 2 katate-tsuki and one katate-han-men! #%^$@!! Very frustrating to go on.
"Don't give up!" Matsuoka said in English. The only other things he said were, "Onegaishimas", "Ippon" and "Arigadogozaimas" - excluding countless laughing kiai.
My low-level Ippon was won after 3 Men of his - a kote-men that come in accidentally straight.