Sunday, March 20, 2005

Squad #2

Anyone who attends the Sunday squad training regular enough is already a member of the squad. From what I see this is the deal - once you are inside the dojo, you instantly become part of the group.

Though this is only the second time after that major taikai happened last month, as I only started to belong the group mid-way like a transferred student. So when Kishigawa sensei asked everyone to put comment and suggestions for future squad practice, I was only there to listen. According to fellow attendees, when Kishigawa sensei first took over the squad training a year ago, the practice went so hard that only 10 out of 30+ people survived...

Today's Squad was much more closer than their normal training. At least first off before all these lecturing, everyone was asked to do 50+30 hayasuburi with 2 shinai. "If anyone pause halfway or without enough kiai, we'll do it again." As a group, everyone suffers for everyone, so to speak.

Someone suggested earlier about not knowing what to score in shiai, when to defence and when to attack. K-sensei responded by saying at our stage we can't offence and defence at the same time - it's either attack or counter-attack.

I was with the women group (7 out of 30+) most of the time. Started lightly with men/kote-uchi.

Then it was groups of 3-4 with one person as motodachi. First off, kakari-te cuts men, then motodachi have to move away (by using footwork). Next, motodachi does blocks everything until kakari-te (cuts anything) gets an Ippon. Finally, motodachi has the full counter-attack abled, just like kakari-keiko. Half way through K-sensei shoved me to the "other" female group (there were only 2)... meaning pairing with 2 yondans.. Just totally exhausted with pulled ad-muscles.

The other two just kept on going. I felt such a drag being in their group... One of them told me to control my breath and cut using one breath. But...Apart from that one pananormal time I actually got a kote-men out of nowhere, (is it really what they meant by "when you are tired your real kendo shows?) it was so painful that I can't even stand up straight..

Eventually I got kicked back to my original group. There was shinkokyu time in between (because I finish my Ippon faster against girls at my level) so it wasn't too bad.

After that was series of ai-men from to-ma. I think my waist is not turning "in" enough, as my run-through path is so angled to the right after I got the Men.

At mid-day the el finale was uchikomi-keiko. Pattern: men-hiki-men/kote/do, repeat, kirikaeshi (one string men, one string do), then men. K-sensei again complained, "Everyone is tired. But don't forget your opponent is equally tired. If you can cut when your opponent is tired, you win." ... So while our spirit went a bit up, we got to do that uchikomi again.

The finishing 30 mins was always queuing-for-sensei type of jikeiko. I spent most of the time in the queue (resting) and fought Wong-sensei, who is tall, hits hard, and talks like a bully(!). My entire day focused on using "koshi". I keep telling myself to keep my left foot on the same spot whenever I cut, and when I cut I lift my right big toe up first before pushing my kensen up. Surprisingly, I actually got 2 brilliant kote-men... even though I lost debana-men straight away when he called for Ippon. After class comment: "Good performance today - just keep coming." Phew.

When I was in a queue, I watched a lot of K-sensei against everyone else. Against people with bad kamae, he just stood there, took his time and cut men. Even Tanaka-sensei who moves like a wooden board can't get all his cuts as sharp. Or Agnes-senpai who received a strong harai-waza that sent her shinai flying from one end of the dojo to another, and then received perfect tsuki every time she moves... Somehow I think it is a confidence thing... Against a good sensei you feel crap - and ended up with a crap kamae and crappy cuts. When I foguht Wong-sensei, all I was thinking is to stand upright, koshi, right big toe, left hand. I didn't realize my kote-men went so brilliant until running pass him, kiai-ing on top of my lungs.

Maybe because I can't listen to Tanaka-sensei's Nihongo class yesterday, I have to really LOOK at what he is doing. So I ended up copying him on a positive way. I even start experimenting what he said his tokui-waza was when he was in Shiai - kote-do.

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