Yesterday the QEII stadium underwent some maintance and therefore there was no keiko. I planned to wake up earlier to get to the 9-10.30am keiko on Sunday instead.
I haven't recovered from the flu yet. When I arrived at 9.30am, changed, I have already lost the motivation to get in the dojo. My main purpose here on a Sunday was to attend the squad training - if I can't last the whole squad I shouldn't exhaust myself 1 hour before...
Anyway, that's how I thought today. So I stood outside the door and peeked for 1 hour, trying to pick things up as much as I can.. There wasn't too many people inside actually... Nor the squad training. Guess people went off to pay tribute to ancestors at this Qingming Festival period.
I was asked by some dokai outside the door how different I think about the kendo in HK and the UK. My response was that there isn't too much of a difference really, depending on who you fight. Tho I do point out that in the UK there aren't as many "young-ish" core group attending the squad, or even club practises - most people are already around their late 20s/early 30s when they get into kendo.
I probably need some deep thoughts about my experience in both places late on...
With one or two injured individuals, today's squad was with only EIGHT people: Au, Leo, Takase, Amy, Me, Agnes, Meng, Eda.
It's a surprising composition, with 5 members from my home dojo. Also Out of the whole group there were only 2 guys (?!), with 3 4-5dan female senpai.
Warmup was only suburi. Spine-to-floor big suburi with 2 shinai, 50 times. Then one shinai spine-to-horizontal hayasuburi 30 times. Because we were all doing it wrong and we have to do another 30... During our last 30 Kishigawa-sensei jumps in and demonstrated a few hayasuburi with us together - he went so fast and cut 3-4 times while we did one... That was something amazing to see... I feel so horrible :(
Then we were in bogu pairing up. I got Agnes as my aite... who apparently is going to try for her Godan. I think that's the reason why every sensei around is picking on her instead of me.
I was mainly about seme. K-sensei just told us to do "seme men" or "seme kote" without lecturing about it. So I guess we have to figure it out ourselves. I use the time as motodachi to stand properly, "looking good". As for the time I have ot cut, I try to twist my left hand really in and cut from the center line.
After that was in groups of 4, kakari keiko. I got stuck with the 4-5dan group again (Grrr). Same as before, we have to make an Ippon to finish the kakari-keiko. I guess overall I did 4 rounds, but the time I thought I got Ippon, K-sensei at the side was shouting "Jenny, more power, more speed." "If there is no ippon, why waste your time to hit." "Every cut you make should be an ippon." I have a serious problem not knowing, from my point of view, what an Ippon should be like. Sometimes I scream my lungs out, there was actually nothing. And sometimes I see and opening, hitting it, but because I have not got the full intention doing it, my shinai bounces back and I wasted the opportunity...
Before the class begin I have some time thinking why, sometimes at jikeiko, some sensei like to finish with a couple of ai-men. The sensei almost ALWAYS win. Why is it easier to get the centre line when you are not initiating the cut? How can you cut faster than the person coming at you? It was almost always like that. A 6Dan sensei kept getting the men from a junior, and then when he fought K-sensei, the 6Dan kept losing.
Last but not least there are some rounds of uchikomi keiko too:-Men-hiki-men/kote/do, Menand then Men-kirikaeshi, Men- do kirikaeshi, Men, men-men do-do men-men-do-do, MenAs some of us have our left hand not above our heads.. We have to re-do the last string.
Squad finished and I spent some time spitting and blowing my nose. Only managed one jikeiko with Wong-san in the last 30 mins. My last kirikaeshi was so crap that I have no power on my left hand holding my shinai. Besides the stamina and concentration to last for the whole training, I really really have to work on that power bit.