Furukawa Kazuo Sensei (8Dan Kyoshi) with 3 students of Tokai University 4th High School from Hokkaido
This is a rather typical seminar-style day with loads of kihon and a 1/2 hour of jikeiko towards the end.
With around 30+ and mostly 3Dan and below people in the room, we started off with some warm-ups and "normal" suburi (as comparing to the squad ones!!), leaded by Yung-sensei.
Furukawa-sensei walked around during the suburi and observed. Apparently people here are using too much shoulders, not enough koshi, and their action aren't ichihyoushi (one beat) with acceleration on the downward swing. Also the left wrist should not go beyond 180-degree (and the grip should be "in")- which is an indication of you not holding the shinai.
I was on the middle of the 3rd row back and tried peeking on the HS boys at the far end, trying to copy their movement from behind. Somehow I, as always, feel that Japanese boys always swing their shinai so effortlessly. Seems to me that, something so basic and simple as suburi, it's not really a matter of strength or how-many-can-you-do. Maybe because they've been swinging it for more than 10 years in their lives, and while their joints are pretty flexible - making them looking so relaxed doing it.
On to bogu - we had a short briefing of what will we be doing today, and demonstrated by the HS boys. What made it interesting was their ashi-sabaki, in combination with the crispy pop-sound when the hits landed. Did I mention this part of keiko was done using suri-ashi only?
This was like bokuto-kihon kind of men-uchi, step back, and repeat for 5 times. Some with kote, do and kote-men. We made 4 lines (one rotation every 2 lines) and got different opponents. Having NOT practiced with a lot of males lately, and by the time we did kote, my right forearm felt injured. F-sensei obviously commented on "hitting too hard" in various occations, including men cuts...
The HS boys were truly impressive when we moved on to kote-men-do-men (going forward in 4 steps, suri-ashi). Our footwork, in comparison, lacked fluidity and stableness, not to mention the obvious delayed speed we all have. The HS boys all have the same "yeyeyeye" kiai, and every cut they made clearly pops. Nothing like us struggling to utter "KoTe-Men-Dou-Men"...
By the time we got to use fumikomi instead of suri-ashi, we were stuck with the same partner. Which was a lovely thing as my partner happened to be Agnes (we were like, "thank god, no more hard-hitting big fellas!!"). All the basics were repeated again, and we were expected to keep the keypoints in mind. I focused on not moving my left foot while launching forward, and am quite surprised that the suri-ashi clicked so well...
The Kirikaeshi was explained to us as a fundamental of kendo waza. By getting the timing and actions right, your waza will flow like you do or receive sayu-men.
We only had time to practice a bit of Suriage-waza, but it went alright.
At the end of the seminar, we were shown one way of how they train in Hokkaido... 8 in a group lining up in 4s, and then one person stays in the center to do their waza, while the rest of the line come up one-by-one cutting men. The motodachi in the center has to turn 180-degree sharp, facing the next opponent for 7 times, non-stop. Wait, I've done that before- in London!!! It's just a demonstration this time (and plenty of people messed up the fluidity) - but hopefully we will do it again some day.
The ending 1/2 hour of jikeiko is a bit of a nightmare. One of the HS boys was injured (not in HK), leaving only 2 others, and they happened to engaged into long keiko with some sensei, leaving massive queues for the rest of us. Towards the last 5 mins I finally got Kishikawa-sensei. But apart from one sneeky kote-men, I wasn't too focused and K-sensei finished the keiko rather short. (must be my fault)
That was the 3-hour seminar on the first day. I was starving and changed rather quickly. But Kishikawa-sensei said to me, "Jenny, you coming tomorrow morning eh?"
I was like, "uhm, yeah..."
He went, "See you 8.30 then. You're a squad member eh!"