Monday, March 07, 2005

Squad Reboot

Somehow I feel extremely guilty not showing up at my home dojo last Thurs because of an early job interview that Friday. But this Sat + Sun's training I do feel I am improving on certain things. It's not like when people say "I didn't train but I am still good" - anyway I hope when my job sorted I can have practice on a more regular bases.

As in last weekend's Asian Tournament, Kishigawa sensei (Brazilian nanadan, HK Team Coach) specificly asked "Why I didn't turn up to the squad in a month?"... I was just so damn afraid what will happen if I don't this week. Other kohai girls at my home dojo said they watched before and the training is way too hard - though reckon I will probably "survive". Anyway, here I come!!

In between the 10.30am break when those who are there for the squad training went back into the dojo, I quickly greet Kishigawa sensei (and of course saying, "I am joining today!")

There was a bit of lecturing before warm-up. Mainly for those who fought last weekend at the tournament. Time for Hansei (reflection), "why there is no ippon" As a helper/ spectator I must say I don't know how hard they have been working on, but seeing the fresh, younger HK team 2nd Dan & below division at 1st place, the veteran team in the ladies division at join-3rd, I believe they deserve what they have been training for. Sensei finishes by saying (harshly), "You need to know what you want to improve in order to improve. There is no point coming to the squad training thinking you are going to improve just by coming. You are just wasting your time." That was directed to everyone in sight, but that is what I should particularly be aware of, especially this is my first day here.


Warm-up is the same as my home dojo (I guess Eda-sensei just borrow that). Push-up, sit-up, hang-on-bar-and-raise-legs, squad jump, all 20 times, in bogu and with kiai. It wasn't that fun if there was no one else doing it with me. Sometimes I imagine going for men-uchi and it does help. I know I am crap at push-ups, but for sit-ups I can handle with ease (maybe I can go for double... hold on... let me just shut up..)

Forget to mention: apart from Kishigawa sensei, today assisting were Tanaka sensei and also Lai-sensei (thank god some one lighten us up in Cantonese..) At the student side there were around 20+ people, in which there are 5 girls, 2 of them my senpai (at around Yondan level). Many squad members who were fighting last week wasn't there - guess they are just taking a break.

This squad session straight after a major tournament was probably a toned-down version of what normally goes (as I was told..). Mainly it was non-bogu basics. Around 30mins of hitting the stack of tatami and focus on ki-ken-tai-icchi and the use of koshi, then paired practice of getting chu-shin at isoku-itto, and 100+50 haya suburi, before getting into jikeiko for the last 30 mins.

The "tatami hitting" practice totally kills as sensei was not satisfied with any of our coordination at all (including the two yondan female senpai standing next to me)... After the session my right inner thigh all the way to my back was so damn sore.

The 100+50 haya suburi was great. I realize I haven't done any since last time at UCL club..! Tho I was told my downward swing is too low and I should be swinging more outward.

Jikeiko was a little bit too short because I spent all my time queuing for Kishigawa sensei, and as a result I only managed that one. Surprisingly, it went alright. The previous guy got 3 consecutive perfect tsuki (!) so I was quite bothered.. But when it was my turn all I want is to show my best, especially what I have been working on recently: posture, footwork, speed and accuracy.

At 12.30pm we rushed outside the gym and say thankyou to the sensei (and ask for comments). However Kishigawa sensei said nothing in particular apart from asking what grade I am. Experience tells me that is a sign of me being either better than he though or completely sub-standard. I was still with my old zekken (will be changed in a week or two), so in his mind probably I was actually representing British Kendo...!

"I'll be back"... hopefully. I still need to fight Eda-sensei!! People there keep asking where she was, and I was told even if a little sickness Eda will train as usual. Guess she was really sick. But I keep coughing when I got home too.. grrr!

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