Tonight's squad was kinda quiet... 3 pairs of girls and 2 pairs of guys + extra dude.
Nevertheless the jikeiko is accompanied by a whole lot of local rokudans - with the two new rokudan sensei - Yung-san and Eda-san (that's how locals call them too), passing their shinsa in Nagoya last weekend. Whoo-hoo!
They were made to give out small speech before class, and the speech was BILINGUAL... which took up quite a long time in seiza...!
E-sensei pointed out that the training helps not just in shiai, but also in her shinsa. Because afterall, kendo is to "make that Ippon". The exam duration is only 1 minute each. The shinsa is to demonstrate what has been learnt over the past n-years of training times. So there is much more pressure to get that perfect Ippon than in shiai.
Yung-san said in his previous attempt some sensei comment about his shinsa being too overconfident and not serious. Sometimes going to practice a few ties a week, lasting that one or two hours in the dojo isn't going to make anyone improve. To effectively use the time in keiko means focusing on what to do facing any opponent...
With that in mind I felt today's training Kishikawa sensei's words keeps echoing in my mind,
At the begining it was so-so, but mid way thru from the "men-degote" sequences onwards, I got so warmed up and keep on making (IMHO) really good cuts, either men or degote.
There were 4 rounds of "ai-men from to-ma"... I missed 2, got hit twice... Meaning I won 8 out of 12 Men..!
Keiko-ed with Yu-sensei and also Tanaka-sensei. In chudan I was mostly thinking about:-
1. Taking the centre line
2. Right foot steps forward whenever I sense my opponent is coming - then lift left hand asap.
So - I am finally hitting *something* at those Ai-men moments with the sensei!!! The last Ippon-shobu I've actually really cut osae-men on T-sensei....!! But gotta think about it, my left hand pressed down a little bit too much, so when I cut men it wasn't 100% straight. Grrr.
The last 15 mins tonight I queued for Y-sensei (had been in the UK for the past 2 years)... Until at the last minute, Agnes jumps my queue. "Sorry, but there's no other chance for a friend!" Argh. So it's mitori-keiko for me...
It's 1.5 years away till my next grading. Only recently that I feel like a Nidan finally. Sandan is still a bit far ahead. I heard the next WKC will be in Dec 2006 - that's also the closest shinsa I can get to. Will I be ready by then?