On Friday I was thinking whether the next entry here would be of the line "I quit kendo today." But actually I felt much better yesterday - I even wanted to go to kendo...! Life is strange sometimes. Today (Sunday) I arrived at 9.10am (as we were told to come earlier) and found a few sensei doing kata. A few individuals were there but it was only around 10+ people.
Finally I saw Kishikawa's Iaido. I was just peeping from the side when I get myself ready for keiko, and didn't talk to him about it. He was just doing some "exercise", I think. And probably he is going a different style (than my previous Muso Shinden Ryu in the UK), so I can't really comment on it. He's stuff is ... not *impressive* - I reckon both sensei I had in the UK are better. But still, it's quite refreshing to see some Iaido after 4 months of nothingness. So if next time I can come earlier than I might be able to ask the question...
At 9.15am it was some just-enough rounds of kihon rotation that warmed people up.
Mr Ducarme (thx for the spell check) turned up and that goes in a queue.
I queue right behind Yamada-sensei for Kishikawa-sensei... For some reason I don't think their keiko inspired me today. Both of them had been very impressive when I first saw their kendo. But now... as I am not so into kendo, so no one is really eye-catching.
... Also I kinda figured out that, against a senior, if my shodachi comes in after about 10 seconds of "looking-good" kamae, and that it's not a men cut, that keiko will be more interesting than just going ugly menmenmenmenmen and got told off.
When fighting K sensei, some people get pretty frustrated because they always hit slower and had no zanshin... While the way I do it is just keep going no matter if his cuts are perfect or not. I hardly ever have to run from one side of the dojo to another... But in return I get too engaged to "close-quarter combat" - which K sensei loves makiotoshi and katate waza from that distance.
At the most frustrating point of the keiko, right after twice successfully blocking K sensei's tsuki (!). He gave me one of his regular harai waza - so strong that I dropped my shinai... This frequently happens to people against him, but this is my first time, so I don't feel too good.
But then out of the blue I got him really simple kind of harai-ura-kote... "Almost," he said, which sets me up a little bit for the coming Ippon.
There was more cut/block and block/cut on both sides, because last time I remember him saying "if you are not ready, block." I feel more controlled for blocking than giving in a debana-waza that comes too slow.
At one point he pulled out his weird katate kamae. AND I JUST SMASHED HIS GYAKU-DO!!
That was the high point of the day, really... Immediately after "hai, one more" I lost men-nuki-gyakudo... baka me.
That goes to until 10.30am - I felt sick after that keiko. Went outside and had a chill. My cuts are too damn ugly to watch too.
Almost all of the seniors all disappeared after 10.30am to attend to Matsuraa-san's wedding banquet - leaving only 7 people at the squad training (6 of us at the 19-25 year old range!!). We were pretty much left on our own, but we followed the usual routine anyway. Yoshioka-sensei supervised the non-bogu for first 30 mins, and was followed by Sasahara-sensei for the bogu-ed kihon (he speaks English, which is good), both 6-dan.
My kihon is alright.
Down to jikeiko time I first picked Amy. My focus was on watching people's Men cut, and timing it. I *know* I have a problem cutting men. A lot of times I just let people hit it, and just stand there looking good pretending nothing happened...
After her I had Yau. I did that watching thing again, and got comment on "You Men sneaking in too slow - you don't have that explosion". Sometimes it's better to have a dokai pointing out these things. Well, you are absolutely right dude... I have a serious problem with men.
The last keiko of the day was against Sasahara sensei. He is not the unbeatable type. But still, as of everyone else has been telling me for months, my men sucks.... I don't seem to be able to raise my shinai high enough with my left hand (I switched to my shiai-shinai for keiko and nothing really changed today...), or that it was too big when I do lift it up....
The way I did hit men (so many today) really hurts my wrist joint.. I took off my kote and felt that bit of thickened skin between my thumb and index finger. This is just bad grip. I have been working on it MONTHS and yet still haven't really clicked.
Last but not least, thanks for everyone's messages. I do feel a bit better comparing to last week, even today wasn't that satisfying. I should just think more positive like, I have to get more work to support my kendo, rather than thinking I can't support kendo without work and I have to quit. Uhmmm... Life... as difficult as kendo.