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.