Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 347-348

Day 347:

Today Sensei showed up for Iaido! He felt well enough to slowly go through the kata and get some exercise. Myself, I tried to pace myself a bit more than usual. I wanted to try to last through a full four sets of 1-12. I still place my weight on the front of my feet. It still makes me awkward to step and shift my weight into new positions. Only when I slow down and think about it do I place more of my heel down to the floor.

I finished the four sets of 1-12 with no painful thumping of my heart and less fatigue. However, my abdomen has been sore for the past week. The doctor and I are investigating the problem.

Day 348:

Today felt like an average day going into Iaido. I did my 1-12 and found that I could do four full sets of 1-12 easily. However, that was an illusion. After the adrenaline wore off, I found that my hands were shaking and I felt drained. It was a good practice, but I need to remember my limitations.

I asked the instructor something. He confirmed that in the tenth kata, when going for the fourth cut you can take a big step and follow up by bringing your left foot up closer to your right foot. This makes you travel towards the left side of the kata, which evens out your inherent rightward travel.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 345-346

Day 345:

Well, I’ve been talking to the doctor and he’s found something potentially serious inside me. It might equally be just a nuisance, but it’s best to be careful. I’m going to finish the tests and visit him again for a check-up. I’m going to take a break from Kendo for a while until I’m in the clear, just to be safe. I’m mostly recovered from last weekend’s overexertion at the demo and lack of blood. Let that be a lesson. Never give blood and then do Kendo. It ruins your whole weekend.

I went to Iaido class so I can keep exercising and maintaining discipline. I did my 1-12 again and at first I was doing very well. Good posture and control. I need to keep flexing my wrists to make the circular movements nicely. As the class went on, my energy ebbed and I found it harder to keep control. I need to relax my feet so my heels can come down to almost on the floor.

Day 346:

Today was a good day for Iaido. At first, my sword swung freely in my hands. Much smoother than usual. The steel blade felt lighter than usual. I had good energy. However, halfway through the class I started losing energy. My hands were shaky and the blade felt heavier and heavier. My heart rate increased and I started to get winded. I had completed four full sets of 1-12. On the last time I did the eleventh kata, I felt wobbly, like I was dizzy. I slowed down a bit.

One of the senior students advised me to let my arms be more loose and natural in using hasso after the fifth kata. After class, I was glad to go home.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 343-344

Day 343:

I’m back to Iaido class. I’m skipping Kendo because I’m not well enough for it yet. I get winded just walking up and down stairs. Still, I’m stir-crazy, so some exercise will be good for me. I practiced my 1-12 as usual. My sword seems lighter. I’m swinging it almost as fast as the others swinging their aluminum-zinc swords. My heart rate got up to over 140 beats per minute twice tonight. I needed to sit and rest a bit before continuing. Still, I got through class without pain.

Day 344:

In Iaido, I went through my kata like usual. I had some wobble to my motion so I need to slow down and keep my balance more backwards than forwards. The instructor made mention that there’s been a correction to the fifth kata. When we draw and slash diagonally upwards, we follow up with a slash back down the same path but we do not bring our back foot up into a normal stance. We keep it back for stability. Then we slide the right foot widely back into normal hasso-no-kamae. I had just gotten used to bringing it up. Oh, well. I also had to concentrate at the end of the twelfth kata, making sure to slide my right foot back when doing chiburi.

Day 344.5:

We had a demonstration of Kendo at an elementary school today. Just a half of an hour, I’m sure I can last through it all. However, when we all show up, myself and another shodan are the highest-ranking Kendoka there. She took the role of announcer and I led the class. She wanted to do it the way the club did it before I joined. Stretches and suburi first, then rei-hou. It felt weird.

Still, that’s what we did. When it was time to assemble, I led us into a circle and we stretched while the kids filed in and sat upon the floor. I led us in a speedy set of stretches and suburi. Then we swapped our bokken out for shinai and grabbed our men. We lined up facing the class and did rei-hou.

I organized the class into two lines of three each and we did kiri-kaeshi both ways, menouchi both ways, koteouchi both ways, and dohouchi both ways. I stayed in my spot as the anchor to keep mixing up the partners. By now another student showed up and I put him in the odd position.

We finished with some keiko using only men and kote. We each fought twice. My first keiko was all right. I was trying to show good form. However, my second keiko drained me of energy. I found myself using stalling tactics to catch my breath.

Once the demo was over, we lined up, took off men, did rei-hou and the kids applauded for us. We even attended their little finishing ceremony for themselves and then packed up to go home.

I actually followed one of my friends to his house to help him assemble a ‘Franken-shinai’ out of spare pieces. I felt destroyed. Not good at all. Earlier in the week I gave the doctor seven vials of blood for lab analysis across three days. I learned not to push myself after giving so much blood. Ugh.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 341-342

Day 341:

No class today as I am sick.

Day 342:

No class today as I am sick.

Day 342.5

I had to cancel my trip to the Iaido seminar because I am not well enough for a full day of swinging a steel sword over my head. I get winded just doing it for 2 hours.