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.