I thought I was going back to normal last night but then this morning got completely delayed, and without picking up my Iaito I waited 20 mins for a bus - was reading this "Issues in Sports" book, so time was not 100% wasted.
Kendo never comes easy. Eda-sensei pulled out her camera when I tried to put on my Men, saying that a kendo magazine would like some of her keiko photos... Whoa. Something worth waiting for at Mitsukoshi's bookstore (...and the photos I took are going to be printed finally?!)
Now I think back on the 2 keiko I had in the morning with Mrs Tanaka (who is 5 dan and older than my mom probably), and Tezuka (wearing a JAL zekken, around 3-4dan and speaks good English)... When I walked in I was not sure what I should focus on today, so I was simply repeating the bad habits I had. Say,
Mrs Tanaka - "Ago xxxxx de!", or "Tuck your chin in!"
Tezuka - "Your distance is too far" "Try hit 2, 3 times instead on just one"
It is frustrating, not only that I am making those mistakes again (i.e. no improvement), but also that I know very well that it's ME who made myself disappointing, because I haven't worked hard enough.
No squad today as it is the monthly shiai time. But it turns out to be Saneda's sayonara keiko. I have only seen him a few times but he used to belong to London's Mumeishi Dojo... Anyway, he's been here a couple of years, and 10+ Japanese came to participate in today's shiai too because of his leave.
So it turns out to be a 7-person team shiai: 2 teams of HK people vs a "All-Japan" team. Because Agnes is the captain and got to pick her team - my team has 6 girls + Yip who fought senpo. I haven't fought a team shiai since Jan - and this is the first time I fought in a team as a squad member. No matter how informal it is, today certainly fills some new experience of me in HK.
I fought 5th vs Narita-san. I heard he's 4dan and picks people at tsuba-zeriai... Argh.
The scoreboard was already 1:3 before my turn. Gotta think about it, I should save the time planning shodachi, and try to work on my left foot, etc. bad habits instead...
Yeah, Narita-san was much faster and sharper, and can hit with full intend - something I know now that I lack, when fighting against anyone. The shodanchi comes in like ai-uchi (kote), we crashed, and because we can both hit hiki-waza, the next couple of cuts when like kakari-keiko. A very, very long one in machine-gun style.
I notice how I can catch up with the pace but never really cut into one. Like, my right fist starts pushing, or my left grip is not turned in enough.
The next thing I remember was going down on sonkyo. And from the floor I looked at the scoreboard - M D ... I thought I uchiotoshi-ed the last do.... uhmm damn... nevermind.
This is one of the most violent matches I had ever fought in... I have problems holding my chopsticks at dinner tonight...
We lost 1:6 ...and the other HK team won 4:2
For the el finale Saneda-san picked Lim, Derek and Matsuura-san (the dude who got married last week) for some more shiai... Watching so many people fight wasn't too encouraging for me today though. I haven't worked as hard recently as comparing to the others. The skill gap is getting wider and wider now. My kendo really suffers without a real job...
The remaining 30 mins of keiko ended up against Lai-sensei and Mr YW Chan. It was aaaages ago I fought Lai - last time it was too frustrating as he blocked ALL my men in the same style. Today it was not very different. When I failed the first few times, I got discouraged easily, which made me holds back even more. I definitely need more sutemi.
Against Mr YW Chan (whose son is Derek) was a lot easier. He had this no-good Jodan. Nidan waza works wonders on him. I got one hiki-gyaku-do (and ran off 360-degree in a big circle laughing my head off) smashingly clean. Must have been entertaining for the rest of the people watching!
Sigh.. Why it is that every time I think my kendo mood is coming back, I start worrying about work.