Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Long time No Thursday

On the first evening of December, after a month of internship with no job offer in the end, I had the folllowing activities to choose from:-

1. Kendo
2. Illustration for Advertising class
3. Play with cats at home

In the end Option #1 was the one to go for - simply because it can take me away from the hectic life in the last couple of days/weeks.

It was another usual session in kihon, but somehow being barely to make the last 30 mins of jikeiko in previous weeks, suddenly everything in kihon feels so refreshing. It helped me to cut properly in a controlled environment at my own pace.

There were about 8 or 9 adults and 3 kids in bogu tonight. It was quite exhausting without a little breather in between changing partners, as only Jane and I were in the "ladies group".

Rounds of suri-ashi men/kote-men/kote-men-do-men, then suri-ashi kirikaeshi, men-uchi, kote or kote-men-uchi, and finally more rounds of kirikaeshi and do-kirikaeshi at full length of the dojo... It was until this point that I pulled some muscles around my left ribs.

...Went on watching from the side for the ending 20 mins of jikeiko, and at times did about 200 suburi. Now I know how "not in shape" I am - not being able to last less than 1.5 hour of kihon kendo. How can I make myself to the squad?


I did get to the Regional Kendo Tournament as a spectator last Sunday. Just don't have time to report on it. More laterz.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

15 minutes

It was slightly better this week with me rushing home from work at 3.45pm for my bogu, arriving the QEII Stadium at 6.15pm. Funny enough the female changed room was rather busy when I get in. Apparently there is this Interschool Fencing Tournament going on at the main arena, and the changing area was pretty much occupied by school girls.

That reminds me of this Chinese-intercity competition (whats the official title) the next weekend. Obviously I am not on any of the team due to my poor attendance at the squad, but I'd have to go and help out or keiko at least. (Though I would rather spend the day sleeping after 6 days of work -_-)

Rarely in my home dojo would they do anything rather than "Kihon" - but when I got in there people were already at those tiring rounds of kirikaeshi-up-and-down-the-dojo-till-sensei-says-yame. Being singled out I just had the chance for mitori keiko. Kinda wonder how many rounds can I last these days, feeling so physically unfit.

After that the adult group merged with the kids class which usually occupies the other half of the dojo. It was in fact 8 rounds of uchikomi keiko for the kids side only. I haven't seen this stuff for a while and its quite refreshing to watch, especially most of them are 12-15 years younger than I am.

This was followed by enjin-keiko (one person in the centre of the circle, fighting everybody else). Still the kid was in the centre being battered by the adults. Outside the game observing, I really would say the key for this exercise is mainly to build up self-motivation and endurance, while techniques come second.

So by the time Eda-sensei said jikeiko for the adults group, it was already very close to 7pm. I had quite good keiko with Lisa, Andy Ng (kohai from the squad who is visiting with his kid) and Mrs Horibe. I got some relatively satisfying kote-mena nd hiki-men on everyone, but somehow lost quite a lot of de-kote. It's either I am too slow or not hittinf spot-on. It's very strange that I used to be able to fire one tobikomi-kote whenever I wanted to, but now it's just so closed to non-existance.

The last and very short keiko was taking 3 cuts from David the interpretor who happened to time his jodan men quite well. None of this should happen again when I practice more often...!!!

Oh, and I finally paid the dues for this season to Eda-sensei. She said Kishikawa-sensei was asking where me and Angus are. So I guess I am not the only one getting sick in a month and too busy in another. It'll be really interesting next week when I see Kishikawa-sensei and the rest of those in the squad.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Slowing down

After the 2nd week at work I arrived at the dojo at 6.30pm on Sat, missing the first hour of the kihon keiko. For 2 weeks I've been getting off work at around 7-8pm, rushing to different evening classes, sleeping at 1.30-2am and waking up at 7.45am. So this afternoon (still at work for half a day on a Sat) I just collapsed to bed at home, and when I realized it, it was already 5pm..!!

So when I joined in the bogu group they were already doing mawari keiko. In that half an hour I went from the end of the line to the top of the line - i.e. 8 keiko - which is much of an accomplishment, considering my absence in the dojo for the last 3 weeks.

On my way there while I spent my time on the bus fixing my 2 shinai, I was only thinking about doing a lot of men cuts, kote-men and hiki-men. Just cutting straight is enough...

But then life is not that simple. The first few keiko I was still in kihon mode which just turned out to be cuts without seme. Didn't get battered, but still, I should have at least find the right opportunity... Against Leo who still train in the squad weekly, he can easily perform a suriage waza that makes my men-uchi a useless move. Further down the line I am slowing down (probably due to the lack of energy), but that actually made me think about when to hit. At least I did some satisfying hiki-men in the ending few fights.

Whenever I had been out of regular training (by that I mean twice a week or more), it only feels like doing some exercise, and not improving on a specific kendo aspect (posture, waza, whatever). This of course slows down my what I am learning, but then at this moment in life, I can't really help.

From 7pm onwards it was jikeiko time and people could grab whoever they want. I took a slight break for a while and watched everyone's kendo. The more I watched I felt I am way behind a lot of these dokai.

I asked Alex for some kihon stuff, like when I was the sempai I could ask those kohai who wasn't doing anything to "just cut". Men-uchi and then kote-men 10 times each. I used this chance to work on "being straight". But the comment was that I was quite slow, and my kiai wasn't strong enough to score in a real shiai.

There's this brief conversation in between which kept ringing in my head for the rest of the day:-

Alex: So are you still training at the squad, Jenny?
Me: Er, no. I haven't...
A: Ahh, you should really go and train there a lot more. You and Amy should be training for the HK team...
Me: Er, I need to work overtime...

We went on to the side and do some kote-uchi and de-gote (and therefore I managed to escape from the kata session again!!). It was rather disappointing as it seems like I've lost my tokui-waza. I just kinda forget how to do tobikomi-kote - my posture wasn't right, my left leg wasn't pushing enough, my body was bending and unstable, etc. etc. The de-gote was equally awful - probably only managed a pop once out of 5, others either landed on the tsuba or alex's forearm (!). The next thing I should be working on (or should I say "re-work on") is my speed and accuracy.

After the keiko I briefly chatted with Eda-sensei, Leo and the lot and explained my irregular attendance in recent weeks. Sometimes I just want to hear them congrat me on getting an internship - and I don't want to get that annoying comment about "the team", "WKC", or whatever that is coming. I don't want them to hear me say "I don't care"... Loads of people are working as well as training really hard. But then I am still not too secured about my life outside of kendo - do I really have one? I'll be a really sad person if my life only existed by the shinai, or if people only care about my existance inside the dojo.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


A disappointment really, that I just slept at home for the entire time when I should be at the Sat kendo this afternoon. With only 5 hours of sleep every day for the week and then 11+ hours of clicking in front of the computer, together with the evening courses I rushed to... I just couldn't help myself.

I hope I can make it next week. Just did some sit-ups and then a few houndreds katake-suburi, but haven't put on bogu for 3 weeks already. Haven't paid my dues for this quarter yet, and I hope to explain my situation in person to all the sensei and dojo mates...

The situation should be better if I manage a permanent offer for this job. The first aid (on Mons) and Illustration classes (Thurs) finish in a months time, and I can change the times for Nihongo Phrase 4 (after passing the exam for Phrase 3 in late Nov that is). Anyway, this is gonna be a busy month without much kendo. Just a little bit of sacrifice in training in order to get serious in life. I hope I am making the right choice here.