Sunday, October 30, 2005

no keiko...

Sorry friends. I've been busy all weekend doing research and there's just no time for kendo. That means I was reading books and stuff instead of going to keiko with hachidan and nanadan sensei from Korea...

To prove that I really went around researching (btw I just learnt that japanese grammar in my last lesson :p):-

Anyway - I still got this photo and also 80+ others.

I hope I can get back to training as soon as possible... Settling down with a company isn't all that easy, I assume...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Work + No Play...

Last Tues - Skipped squad training to get more time working on my portfolio
Last Thurs - Schedule clashes with that Illustration for Advertising short course
Friday (today) - Portfolio presentation and got a graphic design work placement from a brand consulting + development agency
Sat (tomorrow) - HK Society of Illustrators seminar full day
Sun - Will probably skipped the squad training to do some research about luxury retail branding, packaging, etc. (As I am not sure whether I can handle the agency's clients like Cartier, Carat, Bvlgari, etc..!!)
Mon - Start working

Apparently if I follow my plans, I'll be missing this sudden kendo event (might just go and watch):-

Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 12:45 AM
Subject: visit of korean sensei
Dear sensei,

this sunday afternoon 2pm - 4pm two 8dan sensei and four 7dan sensei from korea want to have keiko with HK members... has invited them to have keiko ... at HK Park 2pm-4pm, please feel free to join. there will be no entrance fee.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Autumn the Kendo Season

Yet another 2 week break on a Sat. This time it was tonsilitis, so serious that after 6 days of antibiotics from my GP I am still only at 90%. But since I can finally swallow food and water without experiencing any pain, I'm back at the dojo, doing my kihon.

It's a rather good turn-up with 14 people I think. 5 of us girls in a separate rotation.

Here we do quite a lot of men-uchi kihon stuff using suri-ashi only (like your bokutoniyorukihonwazakeiko....). Initially I thought it's quite retarded and doesn't help in full-speed kendo, but now I am getting used to it, and in fact, much better. I do notice how much the power of my left thigh is forcing myself to go forward when we progress to fumikomi men-uchi. Somehow I think the 1000 rope jumps I do every other day contributed to this leg-muscle strengthening too.

Yeah, I am jumping more ropes than going for kendo at the moment. Besides the unexpected illnesses in the past few weeks, my evenings are quite booked up with courses right now. I quite tempted to go back to the squad on a Tue after my Nihongo Kurasu, but usually I am just too hungry at that hour. Argh.

After mawari-keiko, we spent some time in ippon-shobu shiai and then more jikeiko (Eda-sensei shoved me to the motodachi side...). I am working on kote-men, kote-do and hiki-waza at the moment, mainly because I want more variation from the amount of tobikomi-kote I can get from juniors. At this stage I am still not sure why sometimes the waza works and sometimes it doesn't - and I'll try to figure that out...

There were only 4 of us girls (Jane, Jasqyna [sp?!], Noroi-san) left when we do the Ippon-shobu (winner stays) shiai keiko. Not surprisingly I lasted until I faced Noroi-san for the second time. I mainly scored tobikomi-men, and I realized how my kote sucks and gets bendy now (lack of practice).... That Ippon I lost was a men-nuki-do.

Noroi-san is one of the smarter ones who so obviously keeps on smacking people's do - mine or the taller guys. So I guess it's right to keep working on a tokui waza (or a few).

At jikeiko I fought Alex and Jiman (both 3 Dan). Well, they aren't the brilliant type, but I think I am lacking that bit of aggression that does not really exist in the girls group. Of course you get the usual hard hitters. But I am not complaining about that inch of red bruise near my right pelvis bone. Juniors (especially girls) tends to loose that keiko tension more easily, and you'll rarely see them in kakari-keiko mode. I felt nasty going 5-renzuku-waza (back and forth) to Jane, but when I fenced Jiman it was like a cool demo to the beginners who were just learning suburi at the remaining 1/3 of the dojo.

So not aggressive enough = too boring; too much agression (like the training at the squad... oh and also adding the frustration...) = too hard for me. Seems like a little bit too extreme at both ends. Much of a dilemma to choose from, if I can only attend a limited amount of keiko right now.

Finally Autumn has cometh and this week is probably the last week I'll be wearing vests. I'd really need to gear up my muscles and body fat for the kendo events at the end of this year. Tho I am not too sure about the squad now. No doubt they are going to welcome me back, but whether I can survive and catch up is another question...

p.s. For that ever-demanding reader, here's your atom feed:-

Monday, October 10, 2005

Better or Worse

It's been quite a while for me to turn up on a Sat - because there were some visitors from Shizuoka coming over last weekend. I *knew* I wouldn't bother waking up on a Sunday morning, so I had to show up on Sat.

The keiko turned out to be 1 hour only, as comparing to the usual "adults in bogu Sat session" which is at 5.30-7.30pm. A number of us didn't know this arrangement and therefore turned up 1 hour earlier. Instead of standing there chatting, we got robbed to be motodachi on the Sat kids class (4.30-5.30pm)... I hadn't done this for a rather long while, but this time I quite enjoy encouraging kids and beginners alike... Somehow it reminds me of the joy of kendo at the beginner's class.

This motodachi session was quite short - just receiving kirikaeshi, men-uchi x5, kote-men x5. There were 4 motodachi (leaded by Oda-san, then me, Leo + David) and the queues were around 5-person deep. I still like pushing kids who paused after cutting men, running away from those who takes 3 steps before cutting, and shouting "Hayaku (faster)!" to anyone who didn't look motivated.

The only odd thing was the 6 visitors coming in 5 minutes before our class finishes - and you got the other locals who came for the open keiko. Kishikawa-sensei being one of them (!)...

It was Iizuka-sensei from Shizuoka (8 dan) plus 3 mid-age men, a shorter old man and a mid-age lady. Since there were 6 of them in total, it wasn't a headache queuing anymore. I had the lady first, then a guy, then the older man, and then another guy. No one did the intro for these visitors so I had no idea about their rank, but I "assume" they are around 5/6 dan.

The most popular comment I get was about how much I hesitated before exploding for a cut. Especially with the guys - with them the keiko only last very short (because they've lost interest so fast...) I had a lot of doubts and that's due to the lack of confidence. Somehow I think it affects my hiki-men attempts too.

After class I quickly bowed to everyone I practiced with and rushed off but managed to say hi to Kishikawa-sensei. Conversation as follow:-

Me: K... Kishikawa-sensei... Hello...
Kishikawa: Hi Jenny. So you are still alive?
Me: Eh. I sort of injured my wirst.
K: When was that?
Me: Uhmm. 3 weeks ago. I was running in the rain and fell over. Now it hurts when I want to cut do or to the side, and I had to cheat by not turning my right...
K: Well that's good for your posture!
Me: Yeah I can notice that too. But I had to cut down the practice and can only join the normal Thurdays at Eda's. Can't overdo at the squad for a while.
K: Uhmm. Ok. But just don't stop practicing.
Me: Hai--!


Friday, October 07, 2005

Missing Sensei

-- Not an emotional expression, but just that there weren't any sensei on Thursday. I think Eda-sensei went picking up some 8-Dan at the airport, so we were pretty much left on our own, since the Tanaka's had left and wetn back to Japan.

It's one of those occations when there's no sensei around, some senpai would take over the class in a kinda dominating way. I arrived 15 mins late (bad traffic!!) and the 3-dan senpai was there leading the rotation of kihon. In total there were 12 people in the rotation, so it's a relatively good show. Oda-san got robbed to lead the 8-10 or so non-bogu group. Everything went as usual, but just that the environment was a bit dead.

Sadly there wasn't any inspiring/impressive senpai around, be it in this dojo or in the whole of the squad. Plently of sensei with good techniques, but then when it comes to senpai with a closer level gap - there isn't anyone there I can count on. Yes, I am annoyed by the fact, and was bored for most of the class.

We followed the "suriashi x3 + fumikomi x2" pattern for the kihon. It's still a gender-divided rotation with me, Lo, Jane, Koji (local kid, actually), and Takumi-kun. I felt sorry for Takumi because no one is doing the translation for him this round, Mrs Tanaka isn't here any more, and he got stuck with us for the first half of the class. But I quite enjoy pairing up with him even tho he bloody smacked my knickles every time he cut kote in kihon (!?!). Well, but he's more energetic then the rest of the adults, and is fun to be with anyways.

Takumi's partner for the 2nd half of the class is Gareth, another 9-yr-old local boy who goes to international school (he's got an accent in his English). Gareth has an elder bro called Brian, and the 3 were like the dojo's musketeers... I remember Brian started probably the same time as I was a beginner (was in HK that summer for 2 months in this very dojo). He was like... 5 years old and so cute that you just want to spend the rest of the class hugging him. I chatted with their grandmother a bit and she said, "yeah, they went swimming classes after school, and then here!" Gosh, don't you wish you did more exercise when you were at that age?

My wrist didn't hurt that much when I did do-uchi on the kote-men-do an kote-men-do-men sequences. Maybe because I really use a lot of left hand and hit like using katate-waza. Surprisingly it smacked with a much louder noise than I turn my right wrist...

But my wrist still hurts in occations such as lifting my bogu bag up right hand only...

The last 25 mins or so was mawari-keiko. We managed a full rotation fighting everyone in bogu plus 2 more - so it's about 2 mins every keiko. Maybe it's the lack of excitement from the kihon session - I think nothing from the whole of September can compare with this 25 mins.

Mainly I worked on my kote-men or kote-do as renzoku-waza. I do notice if my left hand remains the correct amount of gripping force, my 2nd strike will be faster and more solid.

The other thing I worked on was Hiki-men. Somehow I felt everyone is having an opening for me to hit their men at tsuba-zeriai. I think I smacked 5 on everyone.

Ng, a kohai from the squad, turned up at our dojo with his 5/6-yr-old son and shot some keiko pics out of him. He was injured on the right knee so he wasn't practising. And then I went on saying I haven't been to the squad for 2 months already. I briefly talked about my concerns over whether I can still be selected into the team next year (be it the Asian tournament or the 13th WKC). Honestly I have no idea what the future brings. It does seems like I quite enjoy the bash this night, but I am not sure whether to commit to the squad training again.