Sunday 8.30am - 12.30pm
By the time I got changed and walked into the dojo, it was 8.35am according to the wall clock.
...Wasn't panicking at all as there were about 10-12 people there only. Usually at that hour some people will be doing kata, and so they were doing it. Leo came up and complained about getting in at 8.30am exactly and having no one in the gym. But he also informed me that he heard it's kata today. Oops, I haven't got my bokuto with me (typical)!!
Our 4 visitors arrived at 8.50am. We were asked to take of our Dou. Yes, it was kata...
Though I was rather suprised that Kamimura-kun (the injured HS boy) pulled out a bokuto from his shinai bag (even though the 3 of them didn't practice the kata in pairs like the rest of us do).
It was your typical kata seminar. Going through some keypoints in each kata set, switching sides for uchidachi/ shidachi sides.
There are many reasons why I don't really enjoy kendo kata. [*sip] Especially I can't pay my full attention and falling asleep at the same time.
Amy was my partner for the day, who has not been very entertaining. Anyhow she's going to take Nidan in 2 weeks, so I tried being my best. Sometimes I struggled whether to point out small things like "you must begin and finish at the centre". Well I pointed that one out, but there are other sensei at the side watching, so I felt I wasn't in the place to comment (and just kept on going)...
A new point for me is about #6 where the suriage action is sharper with bokuto than with a shinai. With the "physics" of shinai, it's a sliding action. But with bokuto (a dense material) the waza has one smaller surface for impact.
It was around 11.00am (!!!) already when we've progressed to kodachi 1-3. I still have 1.5 years at least to sit for Sandan, but I tried listening and observing how Furukawa-sensei does it.
While the rest of the lower grades chatting at the side, not being able to practice kodachi, there was a rather long (fun but took up too much time uhmmm) Q&A session with some local sensei. I just stood there and listen... Nobody really realized there weren't much time left...!!
On to bogu, it was demo shiai keiko with 2 of the Tokai4 boys vs 4 from the squad (Derek, Yip, Johnny, Leo). Some of us scored but in total we only won 1 match out of 8. My impression is that, they are very stable and their posture is very upright, although they don't have many stylish waza. Furukawa-sensei pointed out about the danger of staying in between tsuba-zeriai and chika-maai, as that's the distance for hikiwaza. More than half of the points where hiki-men, actually.
One interesting personal point for me is that exactly a year ago Kyushu Gakuin was in London. So I kind of met the strongest High School teams from the very North and South of Japan. Kyushu Gakuin won this year's Gyokuryugi and was Joint-3rd at Interhigh, Best 8 at Kaiseki. Kaneda-kun from Tokai4 came joint-3rd at this year's Interhigh indivduals. According to my sources, Tokai4 is one of the top 4 HS in Hokkaido, and of course, including Eiga Naoki as their alumni.
There's something wrong with my queueing technique, as I seem to be too polite - and didn't get anything apart from about 10 swings with Ngan-sensei at the last 30-sec of the whole 25-min jikeiko time!!!
Well, I spent some time watching Kishikawa-sensei fighting Furukawa-sensei. Not many people can make Kishikawa-sensei ran out of breath (to the point that he needs some breathing time before the next keiko with other students)...
Also there are scenes of Yung-sensei being pushed to the far-end of the wall, Derek get pushed to the queuing side, and both Lai-sensei Yamada-sensei (the real-time translator of the day) got pushed onto the floor.
All these happened while I was in another long queue for Ou/Wong from Yamaguchi, as on her zekken. Initially I didn't know who she was. But I asked Agnes and she said Irene Wong was a Sandan when she started - with a Shanghai-nese father, she is now living in Japan. I *knew* that she's quite senior as Eda-sensei give Wong the shomen-side to start with. Wong is now Rokudan, and her kendo is quite sharp too. Shame that there's no time for keiko.
[On to next Tuesday...]