Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 399-400

Day 399:

No class today as I am not feeling well. I will rest and go to class tomorrow.

Day 400:

Today someone else showed up earlier than me. He wound up cleaning the floor before I was done changing into my uniform.

Since I did not move the furniture, I had lots of energy. I was able to do three full sets of kata before I was tired. My iaito was scraping out of the saya as I drew. I need to pull it back more fully.

I asked the instructor about the difference in the eleventh and twelfth katas. For each of their chiburi, they do something different with their right foot. In the eleventh kata, you stay firm. In the twelfth kata, you slide your right foot backwards. The instructor seemed amused at this question as he did not have an answer.

I practiced a few more kata at random until I decided to ask Sensei. I waited until he finished a kata. Then I asked him the question. He replied that Seitei Gata was a result of a mixing of the three main schools of Iaido. The difference in chiburi steps was a result of the mixing of styles and techniques. That’s very interesting. It’s no wonder that seeing a demonstration of Muso-Shinden Ryu shows similarities to Seitei Gata.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 397-398

Day 397:

In Iaido, Sensei showed up to help clear the floor with me. He must have gotten out of work early. There were extra things on the tables, so moving the furniture and sweeping the floor made me more tired. I still had enough energy to do two sets of kata.

I noticed the instructor when he does chiburi, he lets the ki-saki dip a couple of inches down, making the sword look like it’s dropping. When I asked him about it, he said that he really didn’t notice, so it must mean that’s how he does it. When I asked about my chiburi, he said I should be more horizontal because my sword is heavier.

Day 398:

Today I tried to push myself. I completed two sets and looked at the clock. There wasn’t enough time to do a third set, so I just practiced the fourth and fifth kata. My upswing doesn’t look too fluid into the downswing because my sword is so heavy. I guess I should just make it smoother instead of faster.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 395-396

Day 395:

I was the first to arrive at Iaido class, so I set to work clearing and sweeping the floor. Those tables and sofas seem heavier than before. I was winded and half exhausted after finishing. I set to work on my kata and could only perform two sets before I had to stop.

I think I’ve found an error I’ve been doing in the tenth kata. For the first overhead cut, I’ve been stepping with the right foot, followed up by the left foot. Then repeat for the next cut. I should be stepping with the left and then with the right for the second cut.

The doctor says my liver is slowly getting better but my immune system is hindering my progress. I’ll be at least six more months out of Kendo. I really hate losing all of my progress towards nidan.

Day 396:

I was first to arrive again, so I cleared and swept the floor. It’s still tiring but I have the time to pace myself. I had the energy to complete two sets of kata and then start a third set before I had to quit.

I asked the instructor about a finer point of the seventh kata. After the second cut, does one raise the sword in jodan or more horizontal like an anticipated parry? The instructor said that it was both. So, treat it like the start of a parry but then push the upper part of the sword up into jodan. Sounds like it’s something easier to do than explain, but it makes sense. Also, the pommel of the sword seemed loose. The instructor said that it may be loose on purpose and that it was only affixed to the sword by the wrapped cord. As long as it doesn’t come off, then it’s fine.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 391-394

Day 391:

No class today because my sprained toes still hurt. I’ll let them heal.

Day 392:

I finally got an appointment to have blood work done at the clinic, so I’ll skip today. I learned my lesson about pushing myself after I give blood.

Day 393:

I went to Iaido today, trying my foot in the heat. As I went through the motions of the first three kata, my foot felt fine. Not perfect, but easily not hurting. It’s time to work it back into shape.

I noticed that my noto is not very good. It’s not crisp like usual, just sloppy. At the end of the three sets I’m exhausted but not sweating. That must be my liver acting up. I think I’ll go another month.

Day 394:

I did a good three sets of kata today faster than usual. I wasn’t sweating and I was only a little down on energy. I concentrated on better noto today and improved it. Sensei was there and with two-thirds of the class gone I traded spots with him to let him practice the standing kata. I worked on the first, second, and fourth while in the short space.

I noticed that my iai-heza was too centered between both legs so I was wobbly getting up. If I keep most of my weight shifted onto my left foot, then I can get up faster and smoother.

At the end of class, Sensei told me that I had a ‘death grip’ on my iaito. I needed to relax. His adice was to drive home using only my thumbs, ring fingers, and pinkie fingers to relax the hands. Maybe tha’s why I got my three sets of kata done so soon.