Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sorting Things Out

Oops - I haven't even started touching the photojournal. We've got that distant earthquake (My seat was swinging back and forth while I was staring at my laptop from my 16th floor flat). Email broke down for 36+ hours, and work piled up with every client rushing me to send them revisions. I'm probably gonna be trapped at home working on crappy leaflets, websites and such. Personal projects will be postponed until further notice. Hondon ni gomennasai...

Seems like I'm going to have my Xmas holiday sitting in front of my computer 10am-10pm as usual! Can't believe everyone wants their work to be done at the same damn time AND on MY holiday...

Only the world's smartest a$$es will be checking my Flickr for some teaser pics ------>

There are a couple of ideas for my 13th WKC photojournal . Since I don't have much shiai pics to go with (since I did't have a VIP pass to shoot from the arena level), maybe I should do better things with them. So far the structure will go as:-

** Please suggest COOLer titles to go with **

Before, During & After
- some chronological photos from the opening ceremony, fights, awards, etc.

Off the court and around the stadium
- audience, bogu stalls, anime-manga convention peeps

The Ultimate Kamae Challenge
- highlights for some Jodan players, Jodan vs Chudan, Nito, etc.

Annyeong haseyo
- Glorious moments for Team S. Korea I captured

13th WKC Kendo Jacket Fashion Showcase
- basically a collage of what everyone was wearing

British Corner
- dedicated to friends from Team GB (including an experimental film)

Taipei sightings
- Obviously some travel snaps to go with, i.e. street foodstalls, around town, Taipei 101, etc.


Will need to spare time to put everything up during Xmas.

Monday, December 11, 2006

So You've Bloody Missed It

So you've heard the news. Result for the 13th WKC men's team:-

S. KOREA First Place
USA 2nd Place

Chinese Taipei got beaten by Korea.
Japan GOT BEATEN by USA (something like 1:0, 0:1, 1:0 , 0:1, 2:0)

It's all f***ed up and sorry you've goddamn missed it.

You might think that we all arranged it and I am telling you that some team other than Japan got 1st but ITS FREAKING TRUE at 1.50am after a few drinks offered by the British team.

But you can still get ready for Kendo Nippon's coverage on it and look at it yourself.

(why do I bother plugging in my laptop on a Monday Morning....????)

Friday, December 08, 2006

From Taipei

Smell it.

Busy with work - more later.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rushing Up

Devoted the weekend to Nihongo - sat 2 JLPT exams and they turned out to be easier than expected.

Now I am struggling to finish projects up for 5 different clients, all setting deadlines in a week. If I delay the projects, I might lose the deal because clients will find someone else. Might have to bring along my laptop instead of bogu. (Or just the kote to have them patched up)

There's also something else happened, making me to give up on my NTD 1200 seat on the second day. Also that I'll have to change hotels on 2 nights (i.e. have to carry laptop, camera and stuff to the stadium)... I thought I'm going to treat myself better by not staying in a youth hostel, but things suddenly become so poorly arranged that I have to apologize to myself!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Spirited Away

Last Sunday was the 2nd Regional Kendo Tournament. With not much work to handle this week and no dates to go to, I turned up as a spectator at 10.30am. The lateness was due to my failure in getting to the out-of-town venue using an alternative route - which brought me to the wrong side of the harbour...

Yet thanks to the usual operational delays -when I walked in it was still at the first team matches at the first pool in both courts.

"Regional" really means Chinese. It's a Chinese-only tournament with teams from other cities in Mainland China. No Japanese team members in sight except the coaching sensei from representing cities. Apart from Hong Kong Team A-G and neighbouring Macau, we also have Team Guangdong A-C, Shanghai A-C, Beijing A-C and a mixed team. People with odd zekken like Dalin, Chengdao, etc. have been spotted.

They seem to love energy-saving lightings here, which wasn't favourable for photography. So I ended up doing some filming for my ex-teammates.

Comparing to last year, the level of kendo from other cities has gone up. Adding to that, Team HK didn't put any team with five 4-dan in it, which makes the matches more exciting to watch as the result is always unpredictable.

I follow mostly Team B to film which also had Jane as jiho. She is getting used to fight alongside the other 4 boys, and took some surprisingly sneaky ippons that got praised by Kishikawa sensei and the whole lot of us from the same dojo.

Team Ladies was defeated by Guangdong A at the quarter-finals. Senpo Xixi was sick to hold on to the match. Must have set a bad start for the rest of the team members.

Team "A" went all the way to the semis but beaten by Beijing A. The Northerners were on fire.

That only came to Team B's responsibility to be the top Champ. It was going like 0-2 for Wong, 0-2 for Jane (apparently, she hang on against Xixi's tall boyfriend till 3'30"...) - until our Fok came up, lost one more point, which fired him up to get back a 2-1. Then Johnny a quick 2-0 as usual, and finally taisho-sen Yip also delivered an breath-taking 2-1 against Yuding (who went to Fukuoka with us last June).

Observing a more local tournament with an overall level closer to myself, it's not only the kendo that matters. You can still get sucked into the game and enjoy checking the scoreboard. You can shout encouragement whenever necessary and cheer for any players putting up a good show.

We did have 2 IKF 8-dan sensei overlooking the taikai. I reckon the more they come and see for themselves, the more they notice the interest of kendo in Mainland China, which will help the Chinese to set up a proper IKF-recognized organization.

Besides the camera, I had my bogu with me for some light bash at the finishing 35-min of jikeiko. Most visting girls ended up standing in the 8-dan queue with 10+ people in it. In the end I had a Guangzhou guy similiar to my build, and then a Shanghai big guy. Depsite being more junior than me in terms of skill, both of them were a lot more spirited to initiate attacks and such. I lost a handful of debana men just because of that. It's like one of those days where you haven't been into regular training and people keep getting you at ease. It's just a matter of going back.

I do have a feeling that I should avoid regular kendo to concentrate more on jobs, etc. I am having a second thought on what the others told me - "kendo gives you the positive attitude that can be translated to other aspects in life" blah blah blah - simple because it wasn't working. For the past few months without much practice, all work suddenly came to find me.

That's why it's not any worse going to Taiwan just to catch everyone else's fights. Enjoy the fights, the chat, the photo-snapping, the street food, the beer and the combined kendo atmosphere. 3 weeks to go with flights, hotels + tickets all booked. It's rewarding enough for what I've sacrificed (by staying away from kendo).

Monday, October 30, 2006

Have a Break

No, I am still going to kendo once a week. Was fun and relaxing. Nothing special to report.

Just that this Sun I joined a small photography club. It's so much better to pick up my other interest again. The club was started by some foreigners, and now with about 15 members, (with 4 local Chinese on this trip) they go around the city every month for a photography outing. Some of them are semi-pro with cool DSLRs and a bag of lenses.

Equipped with a Konica Minota Dimage Z2 - We went on the 1-hour ferry tour and I thought it'll be nice to share some touristy places from where I am.

>> Clock tower from the Central Pier, with the 88-storey International Finance Centre behind.

>> Yup, the infamous Victoria Harbour. The day has been nice but it's been rather smoggy lately - pollution from Mainland China. I'll consider to relocate in a few years time if this situation doesn't improve.

>> Clock Tower from the opposite side of Central - Tsim Sha Tsui or TST for short. The slope-like archtecture piece behind it is the Cultural Centre, and the grey one, the classy Peninsula Hotel.

>> Yet another view of the Wanchai commercial district on the island side.

>> Back at Central Pier. I am starting to like archtecture photography more than I used to. The Central Pier is going to be torn down in Nov. Hence apart from my group, a lot of people are taking pics that day - for example... spot the girl on the 2nd floor.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Iizuka Sensei + Friends

One of my non-kendo friends asked the same question that everyone reading this blog wanted to ask,

"Jenny, you're lazy. When's the last time you train?"

I did go last Thurs. Though with work piling up in recent weeks I could barely fit a keiko once a week. But usually I still managed a swim and a jog in my neighbourhood during the week, so my body still moves alright (I think).

On Sat morning I went picking up some banners I printed for my client, dropped them to his office, got home and had a 1/2 hour nap, then I picked up my bogu and headed off to QEII.

I only realized that there're Iizuka sensei (8th Dan, Shizuoka ken), 3 fresh 8th Dan, plus 4 more higher Dan visiting this weekend. Hence there isn't much of a "practice" but just queuing to keiko with sensei...

We did have some simple warmup and suburi. Then we were told that "The first 1/2 hour will be practice for 4Dan & above and squad members"... Fair enough. We the lower ranking ones will get the sensei when they were all a bit tired (especially they came straight from the airport?)

I did my keiko with Kawaki, 5Dan woman, and Suzuki, fresh 8Dan older male, during the remaining 30 mins.

A couple of differences that I found without a lot of practice:-

1) I actually wanted to initial attack more. I'm taking more on the offensive, despite the level of opponent.
2) My keikogi became soaking wet within 30 mins. I can keep my stamina up by doing some exercises, but I cannot re-create the pressure in a kendo environment.
3) Stopped worrying and enjoy the bash!

The friendly practice with Tony from Seattle when "last keiko" was shouted, added in much fun out of all the 8Dan seriousness around us.

There's practice Sun morning 9-11am. But obviously I love my bed very much and did not intend to get out of it at 730 this morning.

My Sandan is due this weekend too, but I don't have any intention to get it anytime this year. I really want my other aspects of life to settle first before getting serious in my leisure training. Like, my 3kyu Nihongo class will finish in a month, and I need revision for the 2 exams in Dec.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sumi Sensei

Sumi sensei was in HK for a local referee seminar last weekend. I spared my Sat evening to take a lesson from him. Knowing his teaching style since Ikkyu, I hope that by coming to the dojo, he will inspire me in some ways people here can't.

Saturday's class has a focus on tenouchi. We had different exercises to understand what the correct tenouchi should be like. I think those ones with both hands holding the shinai near the tsuba really helps using the left hand to cut.

There's also men-uchi from to-mai, with a step advancing and then immediately cut. There's a funny exercise that "show your sole of your feet to your opponent" before fumikomi to remind us of using the hips more.

Finally there's some kirikaeshi, uchikomi-keiko and jikeiko to end the session with. Managed a keiko with Wong-san and Takase (kohei) which went alright. After that it was standing-in-the-queue time at Sumi-sensei's line. Briefly chatted with Yip and got and updated on who's in the official men's team.

Kishikawa-sensei wasn't there.

There's always emailing coming in about visiting sensei and upcoming events. Now that I don't have the obligation to get to these "all squad member should attend" activities, I'm getting to the trainings when I feel like. May need a longer period of time to build up very strong motivation, but I'm in no hurry. At least I can tell people "I love my job" now.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Being There

After about a month's absence due to various issues in life, I went to keiko at my own dojo.

We've got a typhoon here and its raining like hell. I went anyway.

It was a really kihon class suitable for all levels. There's only 6 adults and 3 kids in the rotation, loads of stretching & warming-up, plus none of the exercise involves an offensive motodachi. The only special scene being the visiting 7 Dan Kyoshi, Miss Nou from Chiba getting into our rotation for a while, and did jikeiko with everyone towards the end of the class.

Over the days I have lost the inspiration from visiting sensei. Maybe because we got 7-8 dan visitors so damn often. I've already missed Furukawa sensei from Hokkaido last weekend because of painful tonsillitis.

With the squad responsibility out of my mind, during keiko I felt a lot more relaxed and in control. I didn't get to train because of some subconscious guilt - and that certainly makes the keiko more enjoyable, no matter how basic the things we did today.

A bit of update about life: apart from a couple of logo projects for the coming month, my spare time involves meeting friends, studying Japanese (this is getting difficult if I don't revise anything) jogging, and swimming in the pool. I didn't know that I can learn breaststroke in by watching people doing it...! It's hot, sunny, and the pool is only 3 mins walk from home. From nothing to 2x25-metre in 3 weeks. Amazing.

My ex-02-boyfriend is a lifeguard, but I wasn't interested in swimming until after the broke up. Maybe the moral here is that, you're only going to miss the thing when you don't have it any more.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Final Answer

Over the few days of birthday extravaganza, I've got me a few freelance projects to work on, and also something to remember.

1. Successfully dumping the boyfriend.

2. Telling the coach that I am not up for the WKC selection any more.

It feels like career, romance and personal interests do not get along too well together. But it is quite important to at least keep one of them, and let it grow.

Now I hope I've made some right choices at the age of 24.

Last but not least, to cheer everyone up, here's me under 35oC mid-day sun in Fortaleza e Forl da Guia, Macau (neighbouring casino town).

Monday, July 17, 2006


There was this "WKC squad member interview" thingy with the coach + assistant coach last Sun. Apparently I was offered a place in the Ladies team, providing that I fix my attitude (i.e. being "lazy" enough to skip Sunday squad at 9.30am-12.30pm). So I guess I'd have to stick around for a few more months...!

After a few rounds running last week (can't do this week as the rain is way too hard), I noticed how I can explode forward much better. At least the way my understanding is to keep my stronger left thigh muscles ready to push off at all times (I think I was pushing with the ankle before, which is no good). I've also been experimenting with a 70% body weight on my back leg, while using the front to hover around and leap, which is working rather promising.

Yet I still lost quite a lot during shiai keiko. Got scolded heavily on going back during tsubazeriai.

Also, it's still very difficult to last the whole thing, especially the hardcore warm-ups have already drained my limited energy out.

Friday, June 30, 2006


This is from the "club celebration" we had last Sat, while I've stopped training for the week in an attempt to heal my injured left ankle. (It's now 90% fine, only minor extending problem that keep me moving in straight...)

We had 5 members grabbing Top 3 at the 3 divisions of the individual taikai the other month, plus a load of kids winning almost everything at the children's division. As everyone is buys with work, us club members barely ever get a chance to talk after kendo, until now!

David, the guy with yellow apron on the far right, is the owner of this Japanese restaurant. Thanks to this, all of us was getting beers straight from the tap (literally!!)

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Shiai-keiko takes place on the Sundays in July. Thank god it's in the afternoon so there's still time to catch the World Cup. I'll know if I'm in or out of the official WKC squad in no time...

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Here's the Japan Travel photos, if anyone has the time, check the slideshow function.


The kendo bits went off-limits, uhmm, I mean, it's ninja top secret that I'll need to kill you if I let you see the photos. Sorry folks, but enjoy the rest of West Japan.

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Now that I can go for a run in the late night summer heat (about 29oC still)... I tried the "other" route recommanded by my dear coach, which is proven to be way too much for me...:-

Look, it's DOUBLE the length where I used to go. I went on for 30 mins and surrendered to the remaining part (the lighter blue line)... My goal is to make the whole circle and not stopping in the middle.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


At the first squad training in HK after the trip to Japan, I hurt my left ankle. It's probably safer to stop going vigourous for the week. What a great excuse to keep me away from training more. My attendance is rather low this month. After all, I was never really fit enough to be there. Do I really need to break my ankle to prove it?

"It's life". Yeah right.

Friday, May 26, 2006






Last weekend we had Chiba sensei from Tokyo Met Police coming over. Mainly kihon stuff as expected, with shiai keiko and such. Overall it gets people rather excited to see some 8Dan Jodan kendo. No one fought him in Jodan apart from our "Oni Kantoku". Rumors said that Chiba sensei cut kote twice without blinking time for K sensei.

It was rather rainy that Sunday, and I was literally forced to get home by train with K sensei, as he was about to tell me things to improve on! I still have that grip problem that didn't quite click. He also recommands a "kamae check" every time going from sonkyo to before kiai.

We also talked about the running route. Apparently, he and is wife also run, but on the opposite side of the river and their route is so damn faaaaar. They can go on for an hour... amazing. Just that there's been heavy rain over the week, and my plans are disturbed (with not much time left). That very Sunday when I got off the train, it was pouring and as usual I've no umbrella with me. When I got home my jeans turns from light blue to dark blue.

But now it's sunny and 29oC.

Other times Eda sensei was telling people what the training camp at Fukuoka will be like. Seems like Sumi sensei has something special on his mind... I heard different things for the girls will happen when we get there. Everything else is still a mystery.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Run Jenny Run

This is my neighbourhood. Just thought that I need to know how far I've been running in these few days.

Today after Inoue-sensei's seminar in the morning, I went home, got some rest, and in the evening started my 20-minute run as advised by our dear kantoku. I ran the purple route as indicated on the map. A return journey took 17'08" running time, with once a 1-2 minute break time in between. That's 1250m x 2 = 2.5km in 17'08" minutes. Big thanks to the person who teaches me how to run long-distance. The way I used to run 800m in 4 mins is too fast for this.

The ideal route should be the green line which is a full riverside one-way run. At least it sounds better telling people, "Yeah I do a full circle along the river every day!!"

This morning when I got to Inoue's seminar, they were doing a lecture. Sensei talked about a lot of kendo philosophy and concepts. We moved on to bogu next and did some kihon. We only did 3 types - sensen no sen, dai no sen, and go no sen - and then jumped straight into shiai-shimpan practice.

I fought Xixi first round and lost two ai-men 0:2 in 2 minutes, both times having one flag up on my side... Argh. Last Thursday I changed my timing by floating my right foot in before moving the hands. It worked but not today. Need to get used to the hand-foot coordinations...

More people turned up at this time which made this session particularly long. No one sitting down did the usual cheering (I don't know why...) And because the matches where so short that a lot of people went hikiwake. Until me went up for 2nd round against Tsoi from Sekishinkan. It was a MM:0 match again, but no surprise too as the boy was definitely my junior.

In jikeiko things went rather quick, but I did fight Wong > Yamada > Inoue > Yu sensei. My habitual cuts from too far and heavy right hand still exist. Anything new? I don't think so.

Strange but K sensei wasn't here today...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Oval Hand

First squad after the taikai. It is no surprise at all that the "warm-ups" get more intense. By that I mean for the usual 200-hayasuburi + 50 katate-hayasuburi, tonight it went

D O U B L E ...

K sensei points out what we've been doing wrong and we went for it again. It doesn't take too long to realize - hey, I managed 200... and suddenly - whoa, there goes another set...

Then I got dragged to "demonstrate" katate-hayasuburi on the dummy, and turns out to be that my grip is not "oval" enough, hence the tense-up arm and shoulders, leading to a big waste of energy... blah blah. This issue has been up since the very first day I joined the training. Not happy.

My new partner in the Ladies group, Xixi from Beijing, actually hangs on really well. She does great hiki-dou. It's good that she's around my age, and is going to stay for another 1/2 year.

... I, on the other hand, broke down after "jikeiko" is called. Previously taken an elbow-dou cut while daydreaming, and with the throwing-up feeling, I just sat that and watch for the entire 1/2 hour. Apart from another guy with a swollen ankle, everyone was still in there, fighting. I have no idea what I was thinking at that time. Maybe I was just wondering how I would survive in Fukuoka, being not able to withstand 1 hr of keiko here.

No surprise, K sensei gave me the "lecture" after class. "You need to work on your body condition"... Problem is that I've been jumping ropes and stuff over the days, worrying if anything like running along the river side (as suggested) would do any help.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


It feels like soemthing as expected that I lost in my pool (1st round) at the Ladies 0-3rd Dan division today. I had good sleep the night before, ate enough and arrived early... And being back at the tuesday squad for last month, plus the regular exercises, the only thing there is to blame is myself. Do I have the correct mindset to win? Or, as K sensei repeatedly pointed out, "What are you doing?"

I fought Takahashi-san who is an a-bit-older nidan from my own dojo (yet I rarely go to Saturdays, hence not practiced with her a lot). Pre-fight we both looking forward for a "good match".

Until I lost the first ai-men kind of debana-men at about 2 mins, followed by a men-kaeshi-do (zanshin was good, as I was told, but she actually didn't go through...). I finished my 2nd opponent with MM-0 in 10 sec (I raised my shinai 3 times.) That was a beginner from K sensei's dojo - and I don't need to comment further.

I am not sure why I am so bothered by it for the whole day (even now), despite the fact that about 2/3 of the population will lose in their first round.

The rest of the day was spent cheering for whoever that steps into the shiai-jo. That were some brilliant matches, such as Leo in very neat Nito fighting Leung (Macau) in Jodan, and Vins/Yip/Ng's pool with 1 win-1 lost on everyone. It was fun looking at other squad members fighting.

But at the end of the day, my dojo grabbed the majority of today's medals. Countless ones went to the kids. We also had 1st+3rd at the Ladies (Amy, Takahashi), 1st at the 0-1Dan Open (Naganawa), 1st+3rd at the 2-3Dan Open (Angus, Michael who were also on my dojo team at the last team taikai). At least there is something to cheer for.

Now is the time I need to adopt the correct attitude at shiai. No matter how proper my posture is, or how many hayasuburi I can do, in the end it all comes down to shiai. Looking back I do identify myself as an "Event" person rather than a "Shiai" person (look at my pics). Somehow I need to twist it around. Overhearing the plans for the squad's visit to Fukuoka, I'll either throw-up every hour or die on the spot. Time to fix myself.

Thank you readers for reading to the very end. Here's some eye candy for you.

Me in Chatuchak Market, Bangkok. A plastic veggie background included.:-

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Here We Go Again

(Me in Pattaya, Thailand, Day 1)

Back in business.

It's nice to stop worrying about everything for a few days and play hard.

Now there is a taikai coming next Sunday (individuals). Oops. I need to get back into the mood.

Travel pics to come later...

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Not sure if this is some sort of accomplishment, but for both March & April, I've been making to keiko twice every week. This month 3 of them were squad sessions (minimum requirement for WKC selection). I also exercise at home regularly, like today it was 2000 rope-jumps, a 800m run, 100 sit-ups and a few push-ups. We got introduced to the "latex strip" which I did a few sets of 100 while watching TV.

They've been changing practise patterns, but still it goes non-stop. Now our coach barely stopped the class and explain. The only thing I remember him saying was, "What are you doing? I told you!"

It's sad that when the group practice finishes after that 1 hour with yakusoku-uchikomi-keiko, I so couldn't stand it and had to step out during jikeiko time. At most managing 2 keiko, but the others were really queuing in and fighting. I don't know why I want to watch when there's no one pushing me.

Sumi Masatake sensei came last Thurs and then the squad when with him to Beijing this weekend. That session was only about 10 times of 3-set-5-cut variation of kirikaeshi, plus 4 times uchikomi keiko. The key was breath control (again!) and I know K-sensei was not happy about mine. I think I did 10 sets of 5-cut kirikaeshi in front of him alone... Argh.

For 30-mins I queued for Sumi-sensei, and I was the next one up when they said YAME. Damn. But it's so good watching him. At least he is passionate and encouraging, no matter you just started or you're nanadan.

My last jikeiko with K-sensei follows the same old pattern, all excited > exhausted > frustrated > got pinched to the wall > got pinched to the other wall > people shouting GANBATTE JENNY > erhm I don't remember. It's all drama and you just can't rationalize it.

But this is probably nothing comparing to what will come in Fukuoka in June. I doubt how I can take the training camp. Will I break down or drop down first?

My scale reads 99 lbs. Must be the summer heat. Need loads of icecream and gain more weight!!

Off to Thailand this week. For a bit of change I'm not taking my bogu - I'll have to learn swimming instead.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Is That My Final Answer?

Being indecisive has only one advantage, it allows you to change your mind 180-degree when you weren't really thinking hard enough before.

...After considering various scenerios and talking to a few people about my concerns (as in previous entry), I felt a lot less confused and finally sent my name on the 13th WKC selection list. (on the day of the deadline)

I thought about, at least before Aug, the options I can have at freelance that can keep me going.

I thought about the benefits of travelling with the team. It's probably a mistake not to go on the trip with Sumi-sensei to Beijing coming next month. Apparently government fundings had made everything in budget. Sorry folks but that gets into my non-kendo tour in Thailand late Apr.

I thought about looking really fit and muscular in the summer.

I thought about getting kicked out before the selection -but maybe signing up will actually fire up my commitment..!

I thought about working on my Sandan.

I thought about the little lecture Sumi-sensei gave out last time... That thing he said about Zanshin, being able to get up and go again after being knock down. What an inspiring way of thinking.

I thought about making the next squad, still probably can't make Sun morning but should be ok next Tues.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Decision Time

By Friday I need to submit my name and be counted in the 13th WKC squad selection. There was this massive squad email, together with my dojo's recommendation email, that kept me thinking for all times.

Frankly it is not the most convenient time to think. My wisdom tooth is so sore that I went to the dentist today (tooth still in and sore), made a painful effort talking on the phone and going to Nihongo class... Adding to the freelance work in hand that I am not sure whether the client is going to pay for - there's simply no reason why I should be packing for the squad tonight. That's why I have time to sit and type stuff.

Nor it is the best time of the year to commit to regular attendance in the squad. Be it continuing my freelance career or taking on an internship, work is going to be terribly unstable with ridiculous working hours (been there, done that). Even though I planned to get to Fukuoka, there is no promise about what I am going to live on after June (Without work, seems like money in the bank is only enough for till then, and that is without any further dental expenses)...

Chances is that I can find work somewhere anywhere during this period of time, but being an up-to-standard squad member can be, well, out of my imagination.

Seeing my performance (with 2 mins of video review) at recent taikai, I wonder where I'll go anywhere better within 4 months' time (when the squad will be officially selected). Not devoted, no improvement, no good at shiai, below-average attendance, no cash... the list can go on and on. Is there a point signing up and got kicked out before making it to the selection, let alone training till the end of the year and got scored against within 10 seconds?

Finally, I didn't even go tonight. Doesn't that speak a lot about my attitude right now?

Maybe with a 99-degree fever I am just hallucinating...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bits n Pieces

1) I haven't been to kendo for the whole week until today (Sat). Actually I was late for 1/2 hr, but then compensated by joining the beginner's class... Somehow my fitness level has dropped, as I can feel my shinai getting heavier and heavier towards the mawari-keiko rounds. I couldn't even managed fitting in 30 mins of cardio-exercise on the days without kendo...

2) On average this month after the Asian Tournament I had only made about 1 practice a week. Should be really getting more practice, like what the coach said (echoes in my head). Now even though I am still struggling with unstable "workload", I am also planning to go with the Tue/Thu/Sat training pattern. Sumi sensei is visiting next month, and with another taikai (individuals) coming in early May, and a squad visit to Fukuoka, all I want is to get back into it. Due to various excuses, I'd been neglecting my hobby and loosing the passion for quite a while, but really, I should be fixing this problem now.

3) Oda-san gave me the Asian Tournament video with the match I lost on it. Gee, I looked awful, and I simply don't know what I was doing there...!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Operation OPU

Squad email: "...The attendance is a MUST (no excuse) for all people that intend to participate in Taiwan's WKC, no matter male or female (seems there are 7 female). Their attendance & performance will be considerated during selection..."

Friday: Skipping my last 30 minutes of Nihongo class, I rushed through a busy road to get to this special keiko. Visiting was 25+ kendo club members from Osaka Prefectural University.

The first thing I got told was "Where have you been? Haven't seen you in the squad for exactly a month!!!!!!" from Kishikawa sensei. It seems like some people are forgetting why "career" is more important than having regular exercises... which is what kendo is like to me recently without the squad. I did keiko last Thur+Sat though...

A good hour was wasted taking group pics and doing demo-intro session for the venue's provider (Baptist University's gym - and their Japanese Culure Club). The demo was actually good fun. There were 5-6 girls on the OPU team and I fought 4 during jikeiko time. They aren't of the top Tai-dai (Sports Uni) unbeatable type, yet they are still good and sharp.

Saturday: This keiko was in the afternoon from 3.30 to 6.30... but thank god its been delayed and stuff. Starting off with 5-6 in a group going kirikaeshi and kihon for 30 mins, shiai-keiko for 1 hr, and then jikeiko for another 1 hr. Not as exhausting as the squad itself because there were plently of queuing time. The shiai-keiko was again in the male/female format (a lot of girls I haven't seen before turned up from other dojo), but fights are in 2 min Ippon-shobu. I fought 4 times - all losts, but I doubt some of the cuts that I should have scored, etc. Argh.

Sunday: This is also the day for the local club's team tournament, with me being on the squad team of my dojo (Leo, me, Amy, Angus, Michael). Our club is rather small comparatively with only 3 teams, as the others are having teams up to "H". Well, we got more kids though.

The OPU students got the odd jobs of making 3 scoreboarding teams, and have one or two members got dragged to fill up local teams without enough players.

Our team got lucky and went straight through to best 16 against City University A.
Leo 1-0
Jenny 0^-0
Amy 0-1
Angus 2-0
Michael 0-2^

So that's a draw. On daihyo-sen (golden goal), Angus lost and we are out. To be honest, all of us were responsible for the lost of the team... Say, if I hadn't bounced out of court and got that hansoku, we could have been through without daihyo-sen... Too late now.

I have no idea why I kept having big guys as opponents. His kendo was quite straight (but still the too much power type..). 3 minutes went and not much waza worked (on both sides). Comment from Kishikawa sensei was: You're cutting without seme. You didn't wait for your opponent to move first. You need to train more!! - all rather obvious points...

So we had a big lunch and a good laugh at the side watching the matches. Worth mentioning was Ng who smashed more than a couples of de-kote. I lost this de-kote waza completely and it's through watching him that I realize how important to really get to the squad more. Ng belongs to the hardcore group, and he's become so successful in the recent tournaments.

Waiting till after the finals (Macau A vs Hong Kong A - winning), I got "selected" to fight in the friendly matches HK vs OPU on the ladies court. I fought senpo first off (vs Ikeda) and then jiho (vs Nakakawa) the 2nd round, both losing 0-2. The first match wasn't too much control there at all. (Kishikawa comment: What the hell are you doing?!?! You have 3 minutes to study your opponent. No need to be in a hurry.) The second round was slightly better. At least I tried something new, like hikimen that pops. I lost a rather slow-and-oh-the-shinai-is-too-heavy ai-men. The other point was a de-tsuba from my opponent that got scored (shushin actually came afterwards and said sorry(!)). Our HK side did rather badly, losing 0-12 against the 6 OPU girls, and then 1-3 on the 2nd round.

Accumulating the tireness from the 3 days without proper sleep, and having projects deadlines to meet this week, I skipped jikeiko and headed home.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Show Off Stuff #2

A nice piece of "Ganbette" paper on the wall of my home studio... Most definitely looking nicer than any of my budo menjo... Besides, that's HK$100 scholarship!!

...That's spending a whole Monday revising, right after the Asian Tournament Weekend. I also spent that day writing my composition. Not surprisingly, it begins with "Watashi no Shumi wa Kendo desu..."

Another 4 months to go before sitting for JPLT yonkyu... The date for the test seems to be on the Sunday before the 13th WKC...!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Asian Tournament Weekend

... Came in at 9pm for this 7-10pm godou keiko session before the actual competition. Last nihongo lesson before the end-of-term test so I had to.

Seeing massive queues for sensei everywhere, all I could do was to spot people and said hello... Finally I got to practiced with Terry Holt-sensei who came all the way from London.

The keiko actually stopped at 9.30pm for people to get changed + get back to hotel by coach. So thats one keiko I got after travelling in a rush... Argh.

... Meant to come and watch shinsa, but overslept obviously (having dinner at midnight last night was no good). Panicked for a while with one fo my shinai going 6 grams underweight with a 37 tsukagawa instead of a 38 one...!! Anyhow for both days I've been only fighting with the other no-as-well-balanced shinai which is 3 grams above standard.

This was the day for 2Dan+below 3-person team matches. Fanny dropped out of my team last minute, being "too exhausted from work"... I was the Senpo with the elder of the Wong twins (who just passed nidan I think) as chuken. Replacing Fanny came Prof. Tsang who just got 3Dan earlier. Haven't talked to him before but he's a rather entertaining person, keeping the rest of us awake.

The entire HK squad from Team A to G did group warm-ups together beforehand. Kishikawa-sensei told us to focus on the things he's said about shiai - move around, seme, getting the right chance, study your opponent, make ippon, etc. One other thing worth mentioning was about "keeping yourself warm". I wasn't going to repeat the same mistake I made at earlier shiai-keiko. Everyone got a nice new HK Team windbreaker, which I'd been wearing for the whole weekend.

My Team C was in a lucky pool, fighting Macau B and Guangzhou D (theoratically, Team A is the strongest, you know...) I crashed both my opponents MM-0, and overall my team went 3-0 & 2-0. No idea why my de-gote went rather disfunctional, but the four tobikomi-men worked wonders. Especially the rather heavyhanded opponent from Guangzhou who kept bashing on the back of my head 3 times when I bent to one side at tsuba-zeriai... I thought I should sacrifice getting bruises to take a deep breath, and cut men when he backed into chudan (I did). After the match, Yung-sensei told me to face the opponent instead of turning my head away, which made better sense...

Next up at the Best 8 match, we were against New South Wales A. Great - me fighting someone twice my height again - their Senpo was Yoon, and was nicknamed "the Bear"by our HK squad :p Nevertheless, our Team B Senpo, Amy, previously gained one 2-0 win against him, giving me a thought of putting up a good show too.

In the end, it was me 0-0, Wong 0-2, Tsang 1-1. Our team lost by 0-1 overall. Bye bye, medal.

Although it's nice to have everyone watching Bear vs Rabbit at the side, telling me about "what a good fight" that was, I do wish I've done more. Kishikawa-sensei said that I should be more confident about scoring, instead of holding for a draw. Indeed, both Amy who fought Yoon previously and the Taiwanese Senpo who fought him after I did, scored KK-0...

For the ending godou keiko, I fitted 3 fights out of 30 mins, which is a slight improvement from yesterday. Struggled to find old friends that I know, but in the end just got dragged by random. Except for Vivian Yung on the NSW team whom I managed to find in the sea of indigo. She caught me with her killer de-gote more than a few times. Following all her matches the best I could for the entire weekend, somehow I feel more moviated. Finally I met someone of the same age + same kendo age to get onto an impressive level for everyone. For me, that means a long, tough way to go.

I spent the dinner party with the NSW team - god knows why none of the HK squad turned up, except some of the sensei + kendo association committee members. Argh.

... All HK squad members were told to come early for a group warm-up at 8am, meaning that I had to get up at 6.30am. I did not remember when was the last time I woke up so damn early...!

The 5-person Ladies Team event kicked off at 9am. I was the chuken on Team B - Takahashi, Fanny, Me, Mrs Horibe, Fifi. Our opponent was a mixed team with a member of JAL, one from ANA, and 3 from Minoo, Osaka... I did a quick glance and sitting on the chuken position on the opposite side was the ANA - Shingo(sp?) zekken, who was one of the girls grabbed me the day before at jikeiko..!!!

On the back of her hakama, "Dai-33-Kai Gakusei Kendo Taikai Shutsujo Kinen" & "Niigata Daigaku - Shingo Keiko"...

With Takahashi losing by 1 point, and Fanny winning 2-0 in light-speed, I fought the 3rd match. It felt long, but I eventually lost 0-2. One hiki-men and another de-gote. Although Mrs Horibe also won 2-0 rather quickly after me, Fifi lost out 0-2. Our team got KO-ed with a 2-3 result overall, and we all switched our attention to the A team on the other court. (They lost too, sadly)
Conversation with Kishikawa-sensei:-
K: Jenny..!!
J: ...You watched?
K: Of course.
J: Sorry I lost...
K: ...Your team drew but on the lead by one point - so you shouldn't be fighting in a hurry. Especially your opponent is of more-or-less the same level as you are...
J: Yeah I know. Actually I fought the same girl yesterday at jikeiko. She got me sharper cuts...
K: So you didn't study your opponent, but your opponent studyed you.
J: Argh.

It was too dark to take photos with my SLR. I spent the rest of the day supporting those on the Men's team.

Incidentally, NSW fought JAL B on the first round, and Yoon was against Shingo...!!! The match was a 1-1 draw, but the girl got knocked over 3 times by the Bear. She definitedly gained sympathy from the audience... Watching from 2 shiai-jo away, I told myself, I lost to her, but my kamae was much better. (what losers comfort themselves with...) Anyhow I am not going to fall over in the shiai-jo again..!

Sitting on 2 shiai-jo away, it was rather exciting to see Ng on our C team winning 3-0 (shushin suddenly cancelled an Ippon - for no reason!!) against the chuken of AsiaKC (Winner of the Day)... The other team consists of some Daigaku OB members, and they are really good.

B team lost in the pools by points. It's a shame that 4 teams were in a pool and only 1 team came out... So the wins must be really great in order to secure a place in the best 8 -- which was almost impossible.

A team went all the way through to joint-3rd, being beaten by Beijing A the Japanese sensei team.

Our very own sensei team (Tomioka, Johnny [who won Daihyo-sen at the 2Dan+below event earlier], Yoshioka, Yung-san, Kishikawa) also lost by points. But somehow I think all these "sensei" hadn't really tuned back into shiai-mode, and fought in a rather reserved/ defensive way instead. They fought Taiwan A + Thailand A (All-Japanese sensei team again). Adding to that, Kishikawa had been ill, sitting on the bench most of the time. He won his 2nd match 2-0 in his usual style, but WHY did he lose to that so-so taicho on the Taiwanese team...!!?!? The refereeing weren't that great at all, with all these 5dan suddenly got dragged to be shimpan (god knows how many sensei who were supposed to be the shimpan went playing instead!?). Bad, excuse. Argh. I jokingly told Kishikawa afterwards, "Sensei, you haven't practiced hard enough..!"

So that ended the weekend with me heading home early due to a fever, missing some good keiko with Komoto-san, Emiko and the lot. It's my first experience to fight with a Hong Kong team zekken, and hopefully it won't be the last...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Squad #21: This Fire is Out of Control

This is the last squad practice before Asian Tournament. Got my valentines dating schedule arranged so that I can train once more tonight.

Oddly enough, we've got Franz Ferdinand playing LIVE in the main arena of the same building... Sensei actually said, hmm, the music is good - do warm-ups at their beats! When we went quiet during shiai (like the gogi time and stuff), I can really hear them sing with people cheering out loud. Yeah I know I am not really focusing...

I did go to Inoue-sensei's seminar last Sunday (no blog entry). We followed the similar format for shiai training today after some shortened warm-ups (yay) and waza-keiko, i.e. team match, followed by jikeiko-shiai-style.

Honestly I felt the need to train tonight with last Sunday's speedy lost against Jay, and losing de-kote x2. I tried to blame my left contact lens being broken when I opened the case... and fighting with a blurry vision made me want a rematch tonight.

Instead I got Fifi (also yondan) this time. Lost a Men-nuki-do on the first point, and then I got my share of de-gote on the 2nd point. The 3-min match finished as hikiwake.

That 30-mins was spent observing the rest of the teammates fighting. It suddenly feels a lot more like a national team as a whole, as we've all been training together for quite a while. Also I got the chance to check out the kendo on the boys' side. With the male/female group format for the squad, I hardly ever practiced with the boys, really.

Over the days I've been trying to do more of that moving footwork. Only proven to work better if I am really relaxed. Otherwise my balance wasn't really there with my feet at the wrong place..!!

At the shiai-keiko, I fought Yu-sensei, Agnes, and Kishikawa-sensei x2. Recalling what happened last Sunday, with my fingers still cold before my match, I know that I should really fire myself in shiai mode if there's not enough warming-up. Especially it'll be cooler this weekend...

I think I fought much better on my 2nd round against Kishikawa-sensei. Well, he's been going for 30 mins, so somehow maybe thats why I can finally hit his kote! This round I felt that I can spot his openings a lot better, but I wasted a few supposedly-good chances - cutting too soft, no kiai, etc. No ippon there but I pulled out a good fight towards the end of the night (the time when yame was shouted and everyone telling you to ganbatte...)

Yoooshiii---!! Fighting both 2nd Dan & below + ladies division. Team list not announced yet. Pantient...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Countdown Keiko

After today there will be 3 keiko left before meeting those at Asian Tournament. I wasn't too focused at work, and it's rather surprising that I got there earlier than usual, i.e. not late.

This practice is really very kihon from footwork to basic cuts. Of course that means I can concentrate on improving smaller details, like balance, coordination, etc. I know the worst thing about me right now is my kiai... It's getting into a habit that I find it hard to get rid of...

The ending 3 jikeiko with the girls are actually rather enjoyable. I was serious against all of them and vice versa. They'd have a good practice before shinsa, and I was preparing myself to shiai. It was more than half a year ago that I set my feet in a shiai court. Not sure if it's pressure or nervousness... Anyhow I'll need to overcome that.

There are a few dojo mates going for grading on the 18th - I think I should go and support them. Maybe it's time to watch out what I'll need for sandan too (that being a year away tho).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Squad #20: Fight the Boss!

Following the Chinese New Year break last weekend, I join the squad this morning again. During weekdays it's been even harder to make to the evening practices, as I've been doing some freelance work which requires a very strange work schedule... With the delicious Chinese New Year food over the days, I definitely need more keiko to drop that extra 7 lbs I gained!!

Eda-sensei went to Fukuoka at a seminar with Sumi-sensei I think, and me, Leo and Amy from Seishinkan dojo were told to look after Pik + Jane, as they've been invited to the squad. "Rumors" said that everyone who attend the squad would be in a team for the Asian Tournament. Still, I'll have to wait till the last training before the Taikai (Feb 14) to find out whether I am really on it...

It was a well-attended training today, with about 18 of us. Thanks to the upcoming shiai-keiko which usually takes up more time, we got half of the "normal" warm-up cut down to, half of the suburi variations, and then 100 hayasuburi.

Even thought it was as physically+ mentally demanding, the kihon and waza-keiko part all went really quick. It feels like there's about 45mins left for shiai keiko...!

We were then divided into 2 groups, one went with Wong-san for juniors of less shiai experience, and 10 of us seniors went to the Kishikawa-sensei group, with Lai-sensei at the shimpan side. First of all we had a 3-person team pool. Somehow me, Leo + Amy were in the same team. It feels great to be with them who all started kendo the same time at the same dojo.

I was the Taisho and the first round I fought Mr Chan (Derek's father - should be 5 Dan or something). Quickly after shodachi, he opened himself up and I just went for my trademark Tobikomi-kote. At nihonme, it was an Ai-men, only that I came down faster from further away. Mr Chan is of taller, so I am rather happy to get this Ippon. Well, KM:0 for me in 20 seconds!

Second person I was up against was Matsuura-san (who is I think, about 4-5Dan, and I used to see him wear some Yokohama Daigaku zekken...) This match was actually a reverse of what happened the first round because I sooooo quickly losted a debana-men and then an ai-men. I did experiment with moving more with the feet and the sword, thought it seems like the wrong time to do so!

The general comment is that we are not going 100% for the cuts, and lack the confidence to convince the shimpan that we've scored. I saw the same thing for myself too, but it is really difficult to overcome this problem in the game.

Not sure why everyone is expecting it, but Kishikawa-sensei told everyone to go on the opposite site, because he's going to eb alone on his "team", fight the 10 of us!!!

The first round he smashed all of us 2:0 except Ng, who surprisingly caught him offguard twice, and took 2:1 off the boss! As for me, I learnt to stop standing like an idiot, which helped delaying my defeat.. I mean at least the match went rather long and exhausting, it was a sharp de-gote, and then a very silly tobikomi-men I lost.

For Round 2 (still, Kishikawa vs all 10 of us), Sensei went into Jodan which sent everyone into a very exciting mode. There were individual Ippon scored on our side, but unfortunately none of us really made 2 Ippon in a match. I was the 7th on the queue, and the first to actually attempted tsuki. Fighting sensei *always* become so intense that I feel I can't really reach into him. Everything went so fast ...and I forgot what ippon I lose out on...

3rd round. I was the first person to notice Kishikawa sensei using right-foot-forward Jodan at the start of each match, and at nihonme he swopped hands and went into Gyakute Jodan (i.e. left hand on top..!). Anyway, despites all these strange stuff happening, he still destroyed us with either 2:0 or 2:1. I tried to be smart and went for do/gyaku-do but with no luck. Argh.

After class, Sensei did advice me to work on more of that move-around footwork. I should also be reading the opponent more during the match (say, in the first 2'30'' of a typcial 3-min ladies match), there's really no need to go so fast...

2 weeks to go.

Friday, January 27, 2006

45 Minutes

There's this unexpected traffic jam around the Chinese New Year market in Victoria Park, causing serious delay on my bus journey. It was 8.15pm when I stepped into the dojo floor, and I joined in at the kirikaeshi rounds.

When I got fully warmed-up, there were only 20 mins or so left. That exercise of "Finding chushin -> Hit Men" really got me into the game. I think I did some good solid cuts with loud fumikomi, which kinda compensated that extra 1/2 hour I spent in the traffic jam visualizing kendo. Even though I had about 30 mins of exercise every day, I haven't been in the dojo for 2 weeks, so it's feels great being able to swing the stick again.

...The chushin thing got me think of Sumi-sensei and what he talked about earlier, about being able to do seme without your shinai pointing at your opponent's throat/eye/centre/etc. But so far I can only see an opening by getting and dominating the chushin... So what sensei said is quite far ahead, honestly.

Only did 3 jikeiko at the ending minutes with some kohai girls. I wonder why I repeated told the 2 girls that their kamae is off-centre. With them standing like that, I found out I can actually jump one massive step and hit men outside of issoku-itto, and without shinai touching.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Total Suckage!!

With my bogu bag packed and standing right in front of the door, at 9am this morning, I decided not to go to squad's shiai practice this Sun morning (with the local Japanese). For the entire week I've been sneezing, blowing my nose, folding tissues into buckets of won-ton... I've already taken the last 2 days off "work" and thought I catch up a little on that now!

Kendo rule no. 1 = stay healthy.

P.S. I've been back in Hong Kong for a year now... Not progressing much in many aspects of life, but did learn a lot about myself.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Squad #19: Move it

Althought some are the familiar faces, it feels like there's a 2nd team attending the squad on a Tues. I think we got about 14 people tonight, plus the sensei(s) from other dojo, so the space actually looks more filled up than on a Sun.

With Kishikawa-sensei joining into the suburi warm-up rounds, we get more haya-suburi variation. While turning my head observing how sensei does it, my footwork is all messed up from the 100th onwards... At the last 50 normal ones, I clearly remember closing my eyes, jumping almost on the spot. I just keep counting 1-2-3-4 and swing - a very strange moment in life where there is nothing I can think of (no mind, eh?)...

On to the strings of renzoku-waza (forward and back), I notice how bad my judgement of striking distance is ...especially on the backward ones (can't seem to combine renzoku with hiki-waza)... But my left leg is literally shaking by itself at chudan, probably due to the low level of blood sugar... Might need to invest on some isotonic drinks (or maybe a meal) before the keiko starts.

"If I dropped out now, there would be an odd person out, and that person cannot practice..." I keep telling myself to last a little bit more before I would fall over. I guess that's what I won't be considering if this weren't the squad.

Thank god for this only lasts 45 mins, and the next thing up was shiai-keiko. Different pairs get dragged out while the rest of us take a breather. At the 3rd round I was up against Eda-sensei (!). No one gets ippon for about 2 minutes, but I feel that we were using almost the same strategy from tsuba-zeriai (like, cutting the same target at the same timing...) But Eda-sensei pressured a lot on me which makes her on the dominant side 70% of the time.

The area is then splited into a jikeiko side, and a shiai-keiko on the other. 3 courts (1 shinpan each) at a time. The scene reminds me of the UK squad shiai league I had more than a year ago.

... And I don't even remember when's the last time I fought in a shiai setting..????

Eda-sensei finds me for a rematch. She's really doing the "move around" footwork which causes a lot of confusion in my head and also I am so not sure when she's coming... I only got a late men after she missed a de-gote. But she got a men before that and also another de-gote. Result - 2:1

Kishikawa-sensei also joins into the shiai-keiko side. When it's my turn, I *always* move out of fear because he keeps moving (with his feet, and also his shinai). I didn't lose on shodachi (unlike some kohai) but still it's tobikomi-men and a de-gote for him. The de-gote was the type that feels like a tap but damn spot-on. Result- 2:0

It is exhausting so I stand there and observe for a while, before unwillingly taking my men off for a blow on the nose... There's this allergy I have which makes me go blow my nose ever so often (I missed Sun sneezing non-stop at home in the morning)... Then I am back on again, fighting Fok, who is a tall sempai and I was most definitely not in focus on this match. I have no idea why I wasn't moving in for a cut or something. Result- MM:0

I was standing at the wrong spot probably, and get asked to go against Kishikawa-sensei again. The sempai/shinpan got told not to count 2 of the ippon... and in the end no ippon was given, which makes the keiko last for aaaaaaaaages. On this second challenge I switched slightly back from the renzoku-waza we just did, to shiai mode. At least I have unsuccessfully attempted kote-men and tsuki... Just that most of the time K-sensei can just take a 1/2-inch step away from the cut, and my shinai just stratches his men-gane top, nodo-tare, mune, etc. It feels like the accomplishment of the day is being able to *touch* him with my shinai tip... If an ippon were counted on this one, the result will be 10:0 or something...

Back to the side I watched Sensei fights the other people. He does 4 smashing do-uchi at shodachi on some tall kohai, and the two-legs-up-jump men-uchi on another kohai who didn't move forward after cutting kote.

It still wasn't safe enough to going cheer-leading. Kishikawa sensei said, "Oi, Jenny!" and I was against him for the 3rd time... (why arent there people in the queue?)!!!

I am still trying things out with the renzoku-waza, which opens myself up with a heavy smack on the right-dou at about 30 second. I quickly loses nihonme, by literally standing at issoku-itto-no-maai when sensei turns around... Yet another case of bad maai. Result - 2:0

Post keiko review:-
1) More koshi...
2) Shiai is the sport part of kendo and we need to score on the opponent with any possible strategy. Being flexible with footwork and wrists is one of the things that makes a player slightly more unpredictable.

At 2am with tensed up shoulders, I still feel rather excited. One of the good things about being a freelancer is that, I don't need to wake up early!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Show Off Stuff...

So from now all the way to the future 3 years, I'm a certified first-aider. Whoo-hoo!!

Also today I secured another freelance design project, and it kinda balanced out my "income" for this month. Since I don't have to work full-time in an office, I'll probably go to keiko as often as I can, and should be quite up for the Asian Tournament coming up.

Uhmm that accidental background of the photo above with my Nihongo textbook, reminds me of my next test 2 days after the tournament... argh!!

As I got this first month of 2006 sorted, it seems to be a good start for the year. Finally good luck is coming to me!


For the troublesome Mr Anonymous, here's the other side of the coin. Are you not satisfied???

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Squad #18: A New Beginning

Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu!

Hatsukeiko on the first day of 2006 - also the first squad training I headed for after having a 4-month break.

Arrived a lot earlier to stretch because I woke up 8.15am sharp, and I forgot whether the squad starts from 10 or 10.30am... (better be early than late). So I was watching a little bit outside the dojo. There were 2 of the Furuse kids from my dojo who went into the 9.30am keiko, probably because their parents (who were also watching from the outside) had no better plans for the New Year..!!

At 10.30am we got a relatively good show of 10 people, only that it's a bit lonely for me as I was the only girl, and got paired up with one of the twins from Yu-sensei's dojo, who's actually quite tall.

We started in a circle with various suburi and the well-expected 200 hayasuburi. My footwork went completely crap after 120 and then I was only counting even numbers at the last 30... Luckily no one got picked on and we didn't have to repeat that again..!

With men on we then used the full length of the dojo (just a little bit longer than the length of a
shiaijo) to do various kihon and waza. A lot of the previous teachings of Sumi and Furukawa sensei was applied here. It was just slightly advanced practice that I've seen in my own dojo, only that the rest of the fellow squad were following much better. We also did various renzoku waza that required a lot of footwork and flexible wrists.

Towards the end of the waza keiko, we've ai-uchi waza running which noised up the dojo a little bit more, and also a string of yakusoku uchikomi.

There weren't too many sensei staying... so the queuing format was dropped, and we got mawari-keiko against 4 sensei instead! It's quite interesting that I could give all I had in that 2 mins of keiko, took some good breath in another line for 2mins, and go back in again for 2 mins. Apart from being quite out of breath, I also found myself going back from tsubazeriai to issoku-itto... while I should be at Toi-maai to keep away from the danger of being hit!!

After fighting all 4 sensei, the squad training finished with everyone doing the ending kirikaeshi and stuff.

Kishikawa-sensei was having a flu (him?!) so he was watching everyone from the side and giving advice with no bogu on. According to him, I am still having a bad grip (not twisting in and not flexible enough...), tooo tense, not enough lower body power, etc. etc. etc.... yeah the same old story I have been hearing in the recent months. Is that a sign of having no improvement...?

But when being asked how was today's keiko... I said I was surprised I can still follow ok (not saying that being out of squad training for so long. Some said it's either me not being serious enough (?!) or my physical condition hasn't gone bad, which is weird since I've also cut down on the exercise at home... Anyhow - at gathering lunch when people got asked about their goal this year, I expressed the unstable work condition I am having now - and it'll be more than satisfying if I can keep showing up at the squad every now and then, until the end of the year for the WKC.

... Those sensei spent quite a lot of their lunchtime calling Japan, saying happy new year to all the Japanese sensei who have visited the city before (must have heard "Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu!" more than 10 times in a roll sitting just next to Eda-sensei...!). Sounds like there's gonna be 8th Dan sensei visiting us in Feb, Mar, Apr and May... With the competitions and everything else running, this is definately going to be a very busy kendo year.