Monday, December 19, 2005


[Korean farmers giving and receiving backrub. Victoria Park, HK. 4pm 15 Dec 2005]

For the last 2 weeks I spent my time volunteering at HK People's Alliance on WTO. It's been tough, especially the past 6 days we all had to sit in open air (12-15 deg.) at Victoria Park. As my job was to answer queries at the Info Desk (in English, Cantonese + Mandarin), and talking too much hurt my voice. I walked straight to kendo on Thurs and Eda-sensei kept saying "Jenny, more kiai!!!" Argh.

On Thursday I walked straight from the park to keiko, with a fellow volunteer who was interest to watch the class. As usual this made me be very aware of my posture and everything during kihon.

We progressed to kirikaeshi at full length of the dojo. Then a few rounds of keiko with Oda-san and David as motodachi while everyone else queued. Oda-san still said I start cutting without much seme (although my men-uchi is straight enough). With David I smacked a few good de-gote, but somehow I think it's because he was too tired to be sharper.

We spent the last 10 mins or so doing enjin keiko - all 10 of us in a circle with one in the middle, fighting everybody.


Accumulating all the stress and sickness I collasped on Sat. Keiko was supposed to be at 4.30-7.30pm with SUMI SENSEI. But I was so dead that I can't really do anything about it, when I wake up at 4.30pm after a decent nap. At 5pm violence broke out with the Korean farmers around the WTO protesting area, which is not more than 500m from where the dojo is. As no buses was going direct, I just thought it doesn't worth going, and I stayed home for more rest.


Sunday morning at 7.45am I watched the traffic update and there was still no direct bus... 900 protestors got arrested but there is still one major rally in the afternoon.

In the end I arrived at 9.30am with everyone doing kendo kata sanbonme. I was probably the last person to arrive, but was surprised that there were only 30 people at most in the dojo. You simply can't believe how few people (especially from other dojo) turned up whenever there is sensei visiting and doing a lecture.

The whole kata session lasted until 10.30am going thru to nanahonme. General commends were made. I can only recall as far as "there are 3 points of seme in ropponme"... Everyone had already paired up and I had to deal with "imaginary opponent" if I wasn't watching the others.

10.30am to 12pm was a practice session in bogu. We started off with 3 string of kirikaeshi in pairs before doing 5 sets of bokuto kihon #1 each. Apart from the initial suri-ashi cutting, there were other specifications like fumikomi but not running thru, fumikomi + running thru, starting from toi-maai then step in before cutting, etc. etc. Me at the 3 Dan & below group (which only took up 1/2 of the dojo) got about 8 rotations.

Next up was tachi-ai keiko, i.e. mock shinsa, and sensei at the side will commend afterwards. While Sumi sensei looked after the 4Dan & above group, the few of us juniors got Koyanagi and Kashiwagi-sensei (7Dan also from Fukuoka). Everybody got 2 90-sec fights, and I got Naganawa-san and Vinx, both were challenging as they all did quite well in previous taikai. Adding to that, the flu I was having was giving me nose-blocks. Literally I messed up with breathing and kiai because I had to use my mouth to breath at all times.

Comments to me: should take more initiative. Yeah I know... I should really sort this out before going for the real Sandan shinsa. Sickness is not an excuse, really.

We finished earlier than the senior group and so we moved to watch them. Sumi sensei was talking about how the tension should build up during the keiko, and not losing it after a cut (whether successful or not) has landed. Also it was interesting for him to say "kiai from both sides at the same time is like nidan level"...

The last 30 mins was left for jikeiko, which I had to take off my men and watched at the side for the entire time. It feels terrible to be so ill while there were visitors worth queuing for. I notice how Sumi-sensei did quite a lot of cuts using one-step fumikomi, just like kihon keiko. But apart from him getting a few good de-gote on Kishikawa-sensei, and then turn him into kakari-keiko mode... I was about to faint at the opposite end of the dojo... It's rarely that I felt I should be at home rather than in there.

After lunch I got 1/2 of napping time before another lecture - but no more keiko and we all changed back to casual wear. Sumi sensei talked about the very "confucious" concepts about kendo, and how these can be translated into our daily lives. I got myself 3 pages of notes.

Attendance was rather low with most of the juniors gone (!?) - so at the Q&A session the questions (from local sensei/ seniors) are more to do with teaching/ learning. For example, ways to encourage beginners, ways to explain technical points, how to be good motodachi, etc. Apart from being able to listen to most of the simple, yet entertaining Japanese Sumi-sensei used, I also realized how these sensei showed their concerns about the way they teach - and I hope that what was discussed will be put into practice.

1 comment:

Perry Hunter said...

Ah...the sound of the batons on crowd-control shields, zipties binding wrists, the smell of teargas...

Sounds like fun!