After a 11-day sick leave from the far-away dojo, tonight I dragged myself back in there.
I felt I have recovered at least 90%, if not 95% - but it shows after stretching, running around and doing suburi, that my energy level is rather low... Especially there was a short session of Tai-atari: I thought I have been trained to withstand that, but I completely lost my feet when my partner Lo, a big girl, crush into me... x_x Eda-sensei said I should hold my breath when doing tai-atari...
Tanaka-sensei took over the class with bogu (tonight there were only 6 of us?!). We spent quite a lot of time on Kihon. Starting from the natural chudan-no-kamae, to suburi (3-stage: up, cut, zanshin), and then men-uchi, kote-uchi, do-uchi (without men). Sensei emphasized on the position of the hands should be "out, stretched" and not cramped down.
Then in the practice with men on, after 6 kirikaeshi (I sucked), we went through the same kihon men and kote-uchi. Sensei told me to keep the angle of my shinai lower (!)...
There was a bit of kote-suriage-kote refreshment. So far I have no idea why they keep doing men-kaeshi-do instead of do-uchi only. What I learnt about why Sensei can be so sharp at it is that, he turns his waist 45-degree quickly after blocking, to create a big space to pass through. "Koshi, koshi da!!" Tanaka-sensei shouted.
The Kote-men rensoku-waza's aim is not on the kote, but men. I got the "hayaku" comment. Basically in order to create an opening for men, the kote-uchi should be really light and bouncy - so bouncy that it bounces the shinai up for you (instead of you doing big furi-age).
Funny enough the entire class was conducted in Japanese with minimal translation. Personal advice was purely Japanese, yet I managed to catch a few words (just keep on nodding).
The class went quickly and we finish off with 5 rounds of mawari-keiko (really short), and kakari-keiko 2 rounds against Mrs. Tanaka. My fumikomi is shite at that point, so is my breathing.. *cough cough*...
After class the kendo conversation continued (without beer..hmmm). We were given Matcha cakes from Chiba by Eda-sensei where she went last week... While Tanaka-sensei took the chance of having Eda as a better translator, explained to us about what went wrong generally.
My grip is bad... I tend to twist my wrists too inwards, while the radius (hmm the bone on the arm... I need a diagram) should be flat at the wrist joint to the hands. When raising shinai, think about pointing forward, rather than pulling back.
Only with a good kamae you can be ready to get an ippon.
Also that we should keep everything natural. Like, whenever we walk, if we stop and hold our hands as if holding our shinai - we should be at the correct position already. Think about using koshi to talk in order to keep our steps light and quick. Also use koshi to stay square - the same as when we are at kamae, right shoulder shouldn't be pulled forward. When we do men-uchi, if we don't use koshi, it'll all be using arms muscles and we'll start leaning forward...
etc. etc. etc.
Eda-sensei pointed out we can also think about how to stand at kamae when using the train (!)... I thought I am the only person on earth addicted to that point... I was wrong.