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!