The first thing Eda-sensei said to me last night when I was gearing up in the changing room was: "You know about the bombings in London right?"
Yeah. Bad news 20 minutes before going off to keiko. I watched London through BBC live. On the bus I just think that things are so not real in this part of the world. Life still goes on. People going home after a day of work. In a small city (comparatively) much independent from a big nation, people seem to care much less about the world. Ordinary lives we had here.
In fact I was rather focused for Thursday's usual kihon keiko. Warm-ups, rounds of katate-men across the dojo, and then in armour went kirikaeshi. However I did not particularly like the recent arrangement for girls vs girls and men vs men... It's like we were going in rotation with half of the class only. I have been with the guys for my first 3.5 years in kendo - why the sudden change?
Though I must admit the level present yesterday was only average, especially at the girl's end (6 of us) I am really going slower than normal. Got adviced about my kiai again - E-sensei said it was not strong enough... Uhmmm And I notice I kept locking my elbows after the shomen-uchi in kirikaeshi.
The last 30 mins of the day was for jikeiko. When Tanaka-sensei fought against Wong-san (the bully 6 Dan...) I dragged Cheung, a kohai from the men's side, for a 5-min keiko. Not that I am complaining, but when I practice with the girls in my dojo, after a few cuts it always turns into "going slower and no waza", that or it becomes a teaching-learning situation. Contrary with the guys it's really getting me into shiai mode after a minute or so in the game - no matter which level is he at.
I can only FIGHT the girls at around or above my level. If there is no challenge, I can't enjoy my keiko much.
After Cheung I had Wong-san. In previous week I get to know how I should deal with him finally - just act as if my kamae is good and reduce unnecessary cuts. So at the end I got quite a number of pops on him. I also noticed that if the first thing I move is my right foot, I can feel my explosion coming from my back more, and as a result my cut are much faster and stronger.
Wong-san likes finishing jikeiko with around 10 ai-men and a set of kirikaeshi. Exhausted is one thing, but keeping stable and balanced is another. If I turn back super-sharp, I can take a split more second to adjust my balance and go again. So even though Wong-san is much taller, my ai-men ain't that bad.
Last short keiko was with Mrs. Tanaka. We fought for Ippon straight away but for minutes it was hikiwake... Towards the end it went back into the Men-uchi into brick wall thing again (hoooow can she stand so solid?!). My problem is that I need to keep my chin in AFTER cutting too (before my head went up BEFORE I cut - which gets corrected now).
After class I shoved my gears in my bag and rushed home for more news from London. Eda-sensei walked pass and told me my men-uchi are going much sharper now. "I didn't watch but I heard at the side. Your footwork, shinai and kiai are coming together quite well at jikeiko." For most of the time today I was telling myself using more of my elbow elbow elbow. If I want to, I can improve much more. All I need is to have no worries about other things...
But the disappointing news over this end which I got today is - I only managed the "possibility" of getting freelance work in the next season. Though I am not sure how positive this possibility is.
Well sometimes even if I spent a lot of time, patient and effort into a certain thing I don't get anything in the end. But it's the 10th time already, so that must say something about me.
Life is so full of insecurity. I just started mailing out more letters today - to avoid certain people thinking that I am doing absolutely nothing in my room.