Struggling to drag my bogu out at 7.45pm last night, I went to the squad after a week's break. I sent out some letters and told myself, "Yosh! Time to show up!"
On the way I was thinking what excuse I should make for my absence last Sunday... But upon arrival chatting with Chu and Ng (fellow training kohai at the squad) - I found out that no one actually went!! One word, "Lazy". Agnes our captain complained about the low atendance for the men's team - having only one of them last Sunday, as comparing to the 5 at the Ladies' team (but I wasn't there either...).
We were expecting that 250 suburi with 2 shinai and 200 non-stop hayasuburi last night. But maybe because Kishikawa-sensei wasn't the one counting, we all managed to cheat...!!! We did this round in pairs, and I had Agnes facing me, but she shouted "last 20" when it was at 150, and we finished the earliest at 170! I heard last Sunday when K-sensei did the counting, it was like, "...70...80...80...80..."!!
No more cramping this time, apart from the tiredness and heavy breathing, we moved onto waza-keiko with men on. I got Agnes as partner again. Ladies are usually at the far end of the dojo, making me standing right next to K-sensei, and I can't slack off any second...
We did a few rounds of Ai-men from To-maai (from the walls and run into the centre, cutting Ai-men). I began to translate the movement of turn-around into the shuttle-run I did in the previous week. It is *definitely* the case of how sharp I can turn 180-degree - how stable I was, and ready to run to the centre again. I did cut Agnes quite a number of times really spot-on.
After that it was the usual pattern of men/de-kote, kote/de-kote-men (and then moved from issoku-itto to to-ma, etc.) I was still having this problem of not going forward after kote-men, but overall I think I saw more opportunity and was able to cut at the same time, which is a good improvement (and not feel like passing out).
The happiest moment on Earth came with "Yame" being called at 9.45pm!! Then went the unexpected shiai-keiko (ippon shobu). The guys had a few matches, and also I had 2, one against Agnes and the other against Eda-sensei (only 3 of us at the Ladies side this night...) Both fight last quite long (at least 3 mins... I think). I SCORED at debana-men against Agnes's kote, but lost to Eda's hiki-kote. It has been 2 months since I find myself in shiai, and I was quite happy about my performance even after the warm-up suburi at the beginning of the practice.
Afterwards K-sensei said something about how we had improved by attenting the squad over the days. Training pays off. I am not sure tho, especially I lost count of how many times I missed in this few months...
As usual the ending 30mins was for jikeiko. Agnes grabbed me for a long, good one. Sometimes it did feel like we were still at waza-keiko (as we had been partners earlier)... Her advice was that I was cutting from too far (again!?)... I was too used to the ai-men maai, and expecting my opponent moving in while I am cutting (hmm excuses...)
After that I queued for Yu-sensei, who was in a not-too-sharp Jodan fighting Angus... Then Yamada-sensei jumped my queue(!)... It was already the last keiko when I got my chance. Applying the "Get the man while he is down" strategy, I bloody got my Shodachi (tobikomi-men!!! on someone that tall!!!!) Obviously when a sensei is tired, I got my share of uchikomi kinda cut. Comment was that I was still using my right hand to cut (!) - but the men-uchi were quite nice. Ha..
Walked out of the stadium with K-sensei and Yip (a senpai who probably has the highest attendance in the squad). I was about to escape from him (I thought he wanted to scold me..) but ended up having a nice chat about the shiai.
K-sensei: "So what do you think about your shiai today?"
Mingshi: "Err... I wasn't quite sure about the Ippon I made. Agnes hits my kote but it didn't pop on the futon. I cut her men-gane but her head is a bit up... So when I hit the Men I didn't really go through. I don't know why it got scored."
K: "You shouldn't worry about your Ippon. Every cut should be made with full intention. It is shinpan's job to judge whether that is an Ippon or not. You are the player - your job is to play your game!!"
M: ".... hai..."
K: "You made some good attempts before that Ippon. Do you remember that?"
M: "...Yeah. I think my fumikomi was really strong at those, and also the opportunity is good. But the shinai kinda slided off..."
K: "You still practice at Eda's dojo?"
M: "Yeah. Thursdays.."
K: "You should do a lot of kihon. Work on the Men and kote. Get more explosion, and stronger cuts."
Today's Shuttle Run records (now with the Mizuno trainers. Mizuno is the official sponsor of the Japanese Volleyball Ladies Team. :D)
Trial #1: 28.52
Trial #2: 28.62
Trial #3: 28.55
Trial #4: 28.33
Trial #5: 28.77
[Note: Police Inspector Standard - Women: 29sec/ Men: 26s; Police Constable - Women: 28.1s/ Men: 24.8s]
So I am still half a second beind... although that's a good improvement.
I did keep in mind about the turning (which helps my ai-men). Also I am getting more used to when to accelerate (explosion) and deccelerate (touching the 10-metre line and turning 180-degree).
Why is it every time I thought I am at the edge of the "quit kendo" abyss, the next keiko was so much more enjoyable...??????