Sunday, January 20, 2008

Back in the Habit

Hello peeps!

Got this piece of metal last month (Jan 19) at the local team tournament. That was my come-back taikai after 2 months of recovery from the wrist injury.

Our dojo filled a 5-person ladies team on the mixed event. The week before there's a slight dispute over whether the girls should withdrawn from entering the taikai... But luckily everyone seems to have no problem fighting guys. (...Sometimes I wonder what makes the sensei so worried about our safety...)

"D" team from HKKA was our first opponent. Noyori-san points out that they look beginner-ish, and so they were. Though I wasn't too sharp fighting as senpo (not sure why I was put there, after no kendo for 2 months!!), and the first match ended with me losing to a funny silent kaeshi-do. Everyone else trashed their opponent, and we were up the 2nd round.

City U's team, filled with younger, bigger uni students, was next. Our dojos had girls fighting Tse in Red-do a couple of times in previous taikai, and all complained about the hard hittings. When I started that I didn't feel much of that, mainly because I switched to attack mode. 2:1 was the result of my match, after losing to a kote in between 2 debana-men. Not recalling much from here, but the girls behind me fought well, and we won against the imaginary bullies (they weren't much so).

Horiguchi-san on taisho was the one shouting "Ikuso--" (Go!) after team bow off before the match. I guess this worked quite well for the team as a whole. Especially her 10-sec ninja kendo on taisho match always made a climactic scene to watch.

Third up was Shojinkan, K-sensei's squad featuring 3 Japanese and a Korean, including "bullet train" Hamasaki as senpo. Everybody in sight warned me about him, how he can hit from to-maai, how fast he can finish a match (5 sec...argh), etc. None of us thought that we have a chance against them, but we battle on.

I bet a lot of people watching were counting how many seconds I could last against Hamasaki. Well that's what I was thinking too, but the whole point of the match was "not to lose points". I made a lot of blocking and ducking just to stay longer in the court, and this tactic worked until aafter 2 mins, when he launched a men after a short ai-kakari-geiko. He did another men immediately after "nihonme" to end the match.

Somehow this had made the girls thought we weren't fighting an invincible team. Both Noyori-san and Pik scored back after me, and when Takahashi-san got a draw, we already won! Again, Horiguchi-san made her quick finish, and the audience went mad...!

Because our girls team made it to the semi-finals!! No one, not even ourselves, expected this.

We were one-girl short on our next match against HKKA's A team, as Takahashi-san pulled her leg muscles on her last match (like myself, she's out of practice).

I got Joseph, younger of the Chan bros who practiced since they were v young. He's of a simliar age and level as I am, but obviously practices more regular than I was. My rusty kendo let him won a clean 2:0. The rest of the teammates followed suit, and we ended up with 9:0 after a no-show for Takahashi-san's match. I guess at that point we were so not-concerned about winning or even fighting, and just simply lost the momentum with Takahashi-san's injury.

Team bronze (left to right) - Horiguchi, Takahashi, Noyori, Jenny, Pik
BTW that's designer dojo jacket, designed by ours truly.

This medal has the best design of what I kept so far. The hosting dojo, Sekishinkan, must have had it made in Japan.

Now I'm back in weekly practice, but planning to get more often because a) the Asian Tournament is coming, and b) I got free time after finishing more freelance work, and c) I passed the bike exam, waiting for my Learner's license to be issued. My wrist is healing 95% with only mild pain left.

It did not feel right when I was the "weakest link" in my team, after losing 3 out of 4 matches. Some say that my opponents were also stronger of their team, but then I could have at least pull a draw. Simply enough, I was not in shape.

This Sun I even turned up at squad training at record-low temperature of 9 Celsius..! Made me feel less guilty of my performance. Sadly, the training has been minimized into 15-min of kihon and then 30-min of long-queue shiai-keiko, finished by 30-min of jigeiko. All very different from when I left the squad.

Hope that I can get back in shape in time for the Asian Tournament, which is only 3 weeks away!

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