Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Beginner's Point of View 788-789.5

Day 788:

In Iaido class, I got to complete 2.75 sets of kata. I was energetic but sometimes my downward swing was wobbly.

In Kendo, I wasn’t too well. I had some abdominal pain last weekend. I wanted to take it easy. It was a kata day. I spent time practicing the first 7 kata with someone planning to test for nidan.

In keiko, I deliberately took it easy, not pushing myself. I still finished class. I practiced kihon and the same waza from the last several classes. We had 2-minute ji-geiko for several rounds. I made it a point to pace myself and finished with energy to spare. I still did my best to score points. I think I’ve got a chance on the keiko portion of the exam.

Day 789:

No class today as I am ill. I need to save my strength for the tournament and exam.

Day 789.5 Tournament and exam:

The day of the tournament was early, and long, like usual. I was put in charge of managing the first court. We had four courts running all day long. Over 130 kendoka on four courts ran very well, especially since we chose not to save all the final matches for the end. We got out more or less on time. We were complimented on how well-run the tournament was.

In my matches, I had no time to warm up, however I did very well. I won my first match 2-0 and then lost my second match 2-1. Better than I expected. In the team matches, I won my first match 2-0 and lost the second match 1-0. Overall, I did very well.

During the exam, it was a long time just waiting for my turn. There were only four of us testing for sandan. I was getting leg cramps shifting sitting positions.

In the keiko portion, I only got 1 solid men strike, and half-good strikes in men and kote. I kept trying to be as fast as I was during the tournament. During the tournament I was faster than I was ever before. During the test, I was second-fastest. Darn it. I was not invited to kata. I know that if I was invited to kata, I would have passed. Keiko is my weakness. My arms feel so slow compared to others of my rank.

I’m going to stop this blog. It’s no longer helping me adjust to practicing anymore. Also, I just don’t feel like a beginner. A beginner just practices waza over and over. Now I’m trying to practice dynamic seme, trying to bait and goad my opponent into attacking first so I can take advantage to them. I’m no expert yet, and clearly not a sensei. However, I think I’m somewhere in the middle, like the European word of “journeyman”. I wonder if there’s a Japanese word for the same thing.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Beginner's Point of View 786-787

Day 786:

In Iaido class, I felt better in my leg. I completed 2.5 sets of kata.

In Kendo, it was a kata day. I always love kata best of all things. I was doing well today. I need to be closer for the kodachi kata.

In Kendo I was feeling very aggressive. I got in several very good hits in both waza and ji-geiko.

Day 787:

Today was a very hot and humid. Very hot and humid. It was in the 90’s temperature today. Still, I was energetic enough for 3 full sets of kata.

In Kendo, it was a hot day. Kiri-kaeshi, kihon, and tournament-style waza such as debana-kote and suriage-men. I had to step out due to overheating. Ouch, I nearly collapsed from heat.

However, some visitors came to practice with us. One of them was really unsatisfied with my tsuba-zeriai. She decided that during ji-geiko it was a good idea she should grab my shinai blade with her hand and move it around. What the $%^& is wrong with her? I really was very angry with her, but I tried not to yell at her. Instead, I just continued until the end of class and walked away. I refuse to listen to anything she does that would be an immediate hansoku.

To be fair, she was just trying to help. I shouldn’t have been angry at all. I know her. But still, it really made me instantly angry.

I’m not sure this blog is helping me anymore. I think I’ll continue for at least next week when we have our tournament and testing. I plan to test for sandan. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t expect to pass first time like all my other promotion exams, but still I feel good in giving a strong offering.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Beginner's Point of View 784-785

Day 784:

Today was okay for me. My leg felt okay. I did two sets of Iaido kata, including the 4th kata with some feeling.

In Kendo, it was a kata day. I did all 10 kata and I feel I did well. I need to take smaller steps backwards to avoid going too far back and making the maai awkward.

We then did kiri-kaeshi, kihon, men-debana-kote, men-nuki-doh, and ji-geiko. This is because Sensei wants us to practice taikai techniques for a better match. I felt assertive today, so I scored many points in ji-geiko.

Day 785:

In Iaido, I did 2.25 sets of kata fairly fast. My leg isn’t great. Apparently, I overdid it last class. My healing is slower than I expect. The fumi-komi in the 4th kata last class hurt me. I hope I’m healed enough for the test.

In Kendo, it was a stamina day. We did kiri-kaeshi, kihon, men-debana-kote, men-nuki-doh, and ji-geiko quickly. We spent the second half of class doing a practice tournament for the beginners who will have their first tournament next month. I got to practice being a shinpan for several matches before getting three matches of my own. I fought a sandan, another sandan, and a nidan. My results were to tie, lose by one point, and then tie. That’s not too different than how I do in real tournaments.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Beginner's Point of View 782-783

Day 782:

In Iaido class, I got to complete 2.5 sets of kata. My hip is getting better but my leg is still bad. It’s getting up from tate-heiza that hurts. It’s not bad enough to stop, it’s just uncomfortable. I certainly can’t add fumi-komi to it.

In Kendo class, it was a kata day. We have a student testing for ikkyu but she hasn’t practiced nearly enough. I’m not being mean but this student is really not good at kata. They need much more practice.

We finished the class with kihon, kiri-kaeshi, and then Sensei built up our stamina with rotating uchikomi-geiko practice at high speed.

Day 783:

In Iaido, I was really distracted today. I only got to complete 1.5 sets of kata. I stopped to listen in as Sensei taught a student how to tie their new uniform of keiko-gi and hakama. I think I may be making a small mistake in my hakama-himo (is that the right word? Hakama-obi maybe? The build-in part, not the separate obi I use for Iaido). I tie it in the center and no-one’s ever corrected me.

In Kendo, it was a day of practice for stamina and accuracy. It was kihon, kiri-kaeshi, men-debana-kote, kote-suriage-men, and ji-geiko. I was not feeling assertive today. I tried but I was just so slow. All I can do is keep going.

After class, Sensei gave the advice to attack form the hips rather the arms and fix the fumi-komi to be stronger and synchronized.

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Beginner's Point of View 778-779

Day 780:

In Iaido, I did 2 sets of kata. It seems doing the breathing shall forever slow me down. That’s good for my time limit on embu. I need to be smoother, not faster.

In kendo, I stayed for the kata class. Sensei took the other nidan and myself to take us through all 10 kata. He reminded me that in the kodachi kata, I need to step in the second kodachi kata and straighten my sword before uke.

I did not stay for keiko. The last class had several drills to strengthen us. The frog hop drill injured my hip and hamstring (again).

Day 781:

In Iaido, I did two sets of kata, skipping the 4th kata. That hurts my hip. I’m a little better but not good enough for Kendo class this time.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Beginner's Point of View 778-779

Day 778:

Today I got to practice 2 sets of kata plus a few spare iterations of the first two katas to try to not cut too high. I’m too eager to thrust the sword out and cover distance which raises the ki-saki.

In kendo, we had a kata day. Myself, my other nidan, and an ikkyu candidate practiced Kendo kata. I need to practice more since I seem to be tense and standing a little too far away.

After kata practice, we did kiri-kaeshi, kihon, and then lots of uchikomi-geiko in a three-person constant-rotating drill. Kinda like hotseat. I was really sweating afterwards since it was myself, the other nidan, and Sensei really going at it full strength.

Day 779:

In Iaido, I completed two sets of kata. Today I was really impatient. I was constantly just drawing too quickly and too forcefully.

In kendo, we started with suri-ashi training with fumi-komi drills. We tried a new drill where we chase our partner down the length of the floor while striking men with fumi-komi constantly.

We then did kiri-kaeshi, kihon, and then another set of hotseat uchikomi-geiko.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Beginner's Point of View 776-777

Day 776:

No class today as I have an appointment.

Day 777:

In Iaido, I completed two sets of kata, trying to keep the breathing going. Sensei gave me advice that my horizontal cuts were too high. I need to have them lower on the first and second katas, otherwise I miss the target. It needs to be a natural cut with the ki-saki just a tad lower than horizontal.

In Kendo, we had quite the lab day. A Guest Sensei wanted to teach us to have good fumi-komi. There was a lot of okuri-ashi and group drills. Like lining up and the kakarite charging down the line striking the shinai in order with fumi-komi. I usually call those “Kendo games” because they are so fun that they don’t feel like work. We haven’t done those in a long time. We finished with some kiri-kaeshi and ji-geiko.