Today's vigourous warm-up has been tuned down to less than 10 mins before going into bogu.
However at that shomen-suburi+fumikomi exercise, which I completely suck at today, Eda-sensei reminds everyone to keep on breathing. Breathing means moving the tare up and down. (and I wonder if that'll show your opponent that you are coming...?)
Kihon and waza with bogu was done: kirikaeshi, men with various maai, kote, men-kaeshi-dou. IMHO the kote cuts have brought my tokui-waza to another level. Kensen has to slightly press for the centre, and when you raise your kensen, cut when your opponent tries to bounce their kensen back. So it's not just jumping into the cut anymore... because you have to make sure you are in control first.
When there is a clock on the wall, it is just a force of habit that I check it every minute. I wonder what's coming next after the first hour into the practice. And then it came mawari-keiko... For another hour???
Thank god it was only 30 mins, but it was rather tiring as Tanaka-sensei shouts "mawaru" after very short intervals. I think it was only 1 min or so, as I was only able to do less than 10 cuts in a single keiko. The point being "not to think or wait for too long... when you get up from sonkyo you have to be ready to go". Urgh. I wasn't paying enough attention to improve my kendo in the middle rounds, until there is a short break when Tanaka complains. When I heard he said about our keiko doesn't look like shinsa (because 6-7 people are going for it) or shiai or anything, it wakes me up a bit. I shift my focus into cutting Men from Toi-maai, which helps me moving my right foot. Also I am quite aware of that "left hand OUT for upward swing, not just up" to build up my seme. Tho for the moment it only works for lower grades or slow people...
At the end of the practice Tanaka-sensei said we should focus on 2 things - more left hand and more hara. For the "hara" part he described the movement as a "pushing up from the belly button". Imagining that will help our footwork. Fumikomi has a slight skimming on the right foot before the actual stamping, then the left foot is immediately drawn forward. If hara is not enough our movement after the cut will be very unstable and off-balance. Time to build up beer-belly... uhmm
The last 1/2 hour was devoted to kata where I get to brush up my rokuhonme and nanahonme with a kohai going for nidan. But most of the time was spend pairing with another female kohai and a Japanese guy going for Shodan. I was surprise their first grading isn't Ikkyu but Shodan...
It was when Tanaka-sensei swap with Eda-sensei at the mawari-keiko session that I notice just how many girls (non-kids) in my dojo!! Over at the kid's group there are 3 motodachi: Eda, Mrs Tanaka, Mrs Horibe. In my group today was: Noroi-san, Takase-san, Lisa, Jane, Lo and me. What an amazing scene - 9 women out of 20 guys!