9:00am when I walked through the dojo door with my bogu bag, shinai bag AND iaito bag this morning. Woo-hoo I made it!! So I really have to sleep early and wake up a 7:30am for this...!
There were only 3-4 other individuals practicing kata and stuff at that time. Kishikawa-sensei was with his iaito so I asked permission to do iai there - and he said yes.
When I picked out my iaito which I haven't touched for hmmm a few months... I noticed a bit of mould on the bag... and inside I wonder if the sword is rusted... No it wasn't. BUT it's the sageo that's got mould on it (yikes!!). It wasn't simply because of lack of maintance. Because when I do my reiho in seiza, I noticed the folds on my hakama also has mould... grrr
In 1/2 hour I managed some kihon warm-ups and twice through all the seitei + some koryu... I have problems remembering them already. I just did them and thought "hmm is it like this...well... it is!"
Midway through K-sensei asked about my background. I said I did iaido for a year and missed my shodan shinsa. "So that explains a lot of what you are doing in kendo!" Huh?
I skipped the small rounds of kendo kihon at 9.30am to put away my sword. Then I fought 1 keiko against Narita-san (who beat me last week at shiai). I saw him instructing a bit of Agnes so he must be 4Dan+ (!!)... Anyway... my keiko is crap. I do not enjoy it that much. hmmm So I took off my men and watched for the rest of the 30mins. (it is allowed - I am not suppose to go 3 hours straight!!)
Tomioka-san (really young 6Dan travelling from Shenzhen, the neighouring Chinese city just north of HK) has become my new hero. At the last ippon against K-sensei and he won debana-men (soooo fast)!!
14 people in the squad training today at 10.30am. 6 of us girls.
We spent extensive time on suburi and kihon without men...
Oki-suburi with 2 shinai x50
Naname-suburi with 2 shinai x50
With a partner blocking with a shinai held horizontally, katate-hayasuburi x60
Repeat with more snapping on the downward cut
Katate-hayasuburi at kote level x60
Several times of katate-men up and down the dojo
Katate-hayasuburi at men/kote/floor level x60
Urgh. At this point the blister at the pinky of my left hand has ripped...
So now we get into the "normal" kihon routine with full bogu. But I can see my men reeeeeally pops for the first half of the session.
The whole point of this practice is to be more stable. Something K-sensei said struck me a lot,
"When you're hitting not stable, do not complain that your opponent is too strong if you end up on the floor. It's your fault."
Yeah. I know very well.
Towards the end it was a series of ai-men from to-ma against about 5 opponents. And then a couples of ai-kote/kote-men rotating for a further 5 opponents... This is suppose to be jikeiko time (check the clock). Until K-sensei shouted - Mawari-keiko.
Only 3 sensei not rotating (Eda, K, Wong-san) and now I counted 9 keiko in total. I dunno what motivates me to stay for the whole round. But I did - especially after fighting K-sensei at the 4th keiko, after he did spot-on tsuki for the 10th time (I counted 5 landed, 3 blocked, 2 tsuki/kaeshi-men -my last ippon was brilliant!!!) I decided to last until the end.
After class a changing time when people are still chating, I joined in their conversation about broken shinai at today's suburi drills...
K-sensei said I fought like the big guys in the UK. Huh?
"Too strong in the hands. You are fighting with only the hands."
I complained about the last 3 times I fell down was when I cut and my opponent's hands were pushing on my face... The conversation then shifted to body balance. Like, when all my power is in my arms, it would be a lot easier to be pushed. Somehow when I imagine my power in the fumikomi more, I seemed to have moved my balance to the lower body. Or like, when I stand normally, I should focus on my belly button then my spine (argh.... I was told to keep my back straight....)
K-sensei: So Jenny, the main point is, you are a woman.
Me: ... ...What's your point...?
K-sensei: You are a girl and you are less built up then the men. There is no way you can fight them with power.
K-sensei: So you should use your feet more. Be more flexible in the hands [then he started to swirl his shiai around..] You can move to the side and use okuri-ashi when a big guy runs into you. Like Spanish bull fights. [demonstrates]
Eda: Next keiko we'd have you waving a tenugui around against the guys.
And I finally had lunch with them. Finally some social moments, really.