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.