(Warning: long entry)
The long awaited monthly shiai keiko at squad practice---!!
Me is getting a flu again. As the Dept of Health kept telling people, "This is the peak season - people having symptoms of flu and cold should wear their masks!"... I just wasn't that aware of it - until, of course I caught the virus for the 2nd time in 2 months!!
So I wasn't in my best shape on Sunday. The day before I did practiced in the afternoon, but I skipped Thursday as I have to finish some freelance work. But the "500 hayasuburi on days without keiko" scheme is still up and running. I am at Week 3 now.
When I finished changing it was only 10.10am on Sunday. There is a morning keiko, 8.30am-10.30am I think, with 10+ local and Japanese 6/7dans and loads of others queuing up. Sadly most of them went at 10.30am, as they are not related to the squad training. Tho I spyed outside the door for quite a while. It looks like quality stuff.. I was quite tempted to join but how the hell can I wake up at 7am?!
Back to the shiai practice... There were 10 participating this month. At least 4 people were "watching" due to various injuries. But there were 2 video cameras there so we all got to see our shiai later!! Shinpan were the following 6Dan sensei: Lai, Tanaka, Yoshida, Shigawa (who is tough enough to get ippon from Kishigawa sensei!!!), Kawada... Kishigawa-sensei was there sitting at the side observing only.
This time the format was firstly 2 pools of 5, then the best 8 go on to straight KO. 4 mins match.
I was the first person in my pool and therefore fight the 1st and 5th match. Despite having a long break to recover, I am fighting Eda-sensei (!) and Derek Chan who was in the 12th WKC squad.
It's probably not the best situation to have your first ever practice with your sensei in a shiai situation!... She *knows* my tricks... But when I was in the shiaijo, I told myself to "show her my best". I did a little of that shiai bending stuff, but mainly I cut (or at least tried) big with koshi. Getting Ippon was so ever difficult - she keeps doing kote-de-kote, so my tokui waza doesn't work at all! I lost to a super big men. At tsuba-zeriai Eda sensei is tricky, probably because she knows I can do hiki-waza (and therefore I can't!!). But then in return I scored a BRILLIANT debana-men on an ai-men situation, slightly before full-time. At encho, I lost to another super big men (was attempting tsuki but too damn late!!).
While spending considerable amount of time *coughing* severely at the side, I waited and watched the 2nd to 4th match of my pool. Previously at squad training it was mainly paired practice, and I was always at the girls group... So it was quite nice to be able to watch other people's kendo, especially in a shiai context.
Derek, my next opponent, finished his 2-0 match in 20 seconds...
He probablt felt a bit nervous facing me with a foreign zekken. Despite him having lightening speed Men, I was quite surprised I can actually block/counter a lot of it. I certainly gave him a lot of trouble, as he couldn't finish me off quickly. Eventually he got the first men. But then standing still at issoku-itto, I have a sudden urge to do Tsuki.. and at the last 0.01 second of doing so I instead cut Men. Taa-daa!! 3 flags up, Jenny got a Men again! It was AMAZING. Derek 1 - Jenny 1
It is not very usual for me to score 2 men and no kote in a day, especially I was fighting people at the 3/ 4Dan+ level...
Funny enough, while people usually sayi no cheering at the side... Agnes-senpai (Eda's dokai) shouted at the side, "Fight on! You need to win to get thru the pool--!!"
The other thing I noticed was - NEVER fight with an ankle support! Once I went for de-kote... My right ankle slipped like me stepping on banana skin, and I MISSED........ Grrr. I injured my right ankle before (I can't even walk for 3 days) so I can't let that happen again. Note to self: NO ANKLE SUPPORT NEXT TIME!
Anyway. I lost to Men in the end, and was out of the game, got the odd job of recording scoreboard, and mitori-keiko.
There are only 3 more rounds to go for the "Best 8".
Leo, the dohai from my home dojo, beat Eda sensei 2-1 at encho. He then got KO by Derek in 20 seconds. What an irony...
Derek actually finishes his 20-second (2-0) for 2 more rounds - until he meets Yim at the final, and got beaten 1-2 at encho.
So the game finished at 12pm sharp and we are going for another queuing keiko...
I finally got Lai-sensei. He is an interesting person to fight with, because he actually "fights" with you. Comment after practice is that, I am cutting too soft. He said, well, you can fight soft, but at the moment of impact you have to give out your energy.
Also got Kishigawa-sensei this time. The practice was short and it was only running through Men-uchi. Half way thru he stopped and corrected my left hand grip (!). "Jump! Jenny, jump!" That's what he says at oikomi...
As there is no pub session at 12.30pm, we gathered around at the tuck shop of the sports stadium.
While lecturing Derek in Japanese, K-sensei suddenly switched to English for me, "Derek's Men is very difficult to get, huh?"
He then asks for my shinai. (uhm??)
"Aahh. When I saw you fight, I immediately think your shinai is too heavy. You can't jump far and is letting your shinai controlling you. This kind of shinai is either for highschool boys or big European girls. Not you!!"
This is something new for me. There goes my advice of the day: My shinai is overweight. If I don't change my shinai, I cannot improve my kendo (what the ???????)
Back at Derek. K-sensei says he is fast, but he hasn't got enough seme... Always going in "Yaaah- Men".
It's like that little palm-slapping game. Even if you are really fast, you can't hit your opponent's hand when your attacks go in a certain pattern. You need to be unpredictable for your attack to work.
Vinx Lam, aka Lim, went out of the game 1-2 (encho) vs Yim at semi-finals. Quoting Kishigawa-sensei, "Lim improved the most in the past few months." Uhmm. That reminds me to train harder. I really need to focus more on practice... I am just hoping that my "work hours" is more stable...
I'll try to put up some snapshots from my shiai when the video is available. Provided if my posture isn't terrible.