Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 389-390

Day 389:

I went to Iaido again today. My toes still hurt but only slightly so. I’ll just be careful. I was able to complete all 12 kata three times. Sensei showed up late. He wedged himself in a tiny space just to be polite and let us lower-ranking people practice. At the end of class, I traded spaces with him so he could practice his standing kata. I just practiced the first, second, and fourth kata until class was over.

For myself, the instructor said that I was cutting too low. The ki-saki was actually pointing too much downward towards the floor. It’s hard to stop that heavy steel blade, so I guess I should start squeezing in tenouchi earlier. He also told me to use only my left arm for cutting in all cases except for when I draw with the right. Then I have to cut with the right. Doing that will correct any downward wobble.

Day 390:

Today I started by doing my 12 kata like normal. It was a nice day for Iaido. I completed a full set and felt good about it. I completed a second set and felt wobbly on my feet. My sword was pulling me again.

When I completed the third kata in the third set, I caught my toes on my left foot as I slid to the right. Pain shot up my foot and leg, making me gasp. However, I was able to complete the kata uninterrupted. However, after the kata my foot began to throb and cause me hardship. I decided to be smart and quit there before I really hurt myself. I bowed out using the quick method.

I talked to Sensei after class and asked him about how he was doing the third kata. He was actually using a kind of pivot/jump step and stepping back in to cut diagonally down and left. It looked powerful. He explained that he was also studying Muso Shinden-Ryu. He showed me the basics of the kata in question and the idea that you are not just parrying but stepping completely out of the way and then back in as your opponent passes you by. It was very interesting. Maybe someday I would like to study it as well.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 387-388

Day 387:

I smashed my left toes over the weekend and they’re still hurting. I hope I’m good enough for next class.

Day 388:

Today my toes felt better, almost healed. They’re still purple, but flexible. I went to class and there was a function in the area. The community center had a large event, so the area was crowded. I almost didn’t find a parking space.

We got in late because the building was locked. An employee opened the doors and let us all inside. I changed into my uniform and went out right away. Sensei was there, and he looked better than he’s been in a while. No grimace of pain when he cuts. I spent the practice time pushing myself slowly to last through the class.

My sword felt heavy, my toes stung if I turned on them, and I messed up the eighth kata by taking an extra turning step. However, it felt really good to be back to class.

I asked the instructor to watch me and tell me what he thgouth after I had been out for months.

When class was over, I noticed that Head Sensei was present! What a time not to be good enough to be at Kendo! I talked to him briefly and he was shocked to hear about my liver injury. He seemed to think the doh strikes shouldn’t contribute too much to my health but when I told him about the aggravated growth in my liver, he seemed satisfied. He encouraged me to work with the doctor and not to rush coming back. I’m glad he has my well-being at heart.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 379-386

Day 379-384:

More progress on my attempt to heal my liver. I can’t wait to get the blood tests back later in the year.

Day 385:

Today is my first day back at Iaido. It felt really good to be back in the dojo. The place looked exactly the same. I missed even the squeaky floorboards.

I went through a full set of kata and was embarrassed at the fact that I had forgotten the tenth kata! I had to stand there and search my memory to find it. Eventually I remembered and finished. I was breathing strongly and needed a drink of water.

I went to complete a second set and felt very drained. I had forgotten to keep the ki-saki down when finishing the fourth kata, like I was on autopilot. I got some more water and knelt in seiza for a few minutes.

Then I powered my way through the third set of kata. I tried not to push hard, but to just do them. I was slow, with many pauses, but I finished. Even through there was about seven minutes left in class, I was drained. I bowed out and paid for the month. It turns out that if I only go to Iaido then I get a discount. Nice, but it just reminded me of not being able to do Kendo.

Day 386:

No class today as it is a holiday.