Friday, September 28, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 409-410

Day 409:

Today was not a good day. My abdomen was sore all day. After clearing and sweeping the floor I barely had the energy to complete two sets of kata.

Day 410:

Today was a lucky day. I felt okay at work and I didn’t have to clear the floor tonight. I went into kata with a passion. Keeping in line with the great circle technique, I blazed through two sets of kata right away. Still, class was half over so I went for another round of kata. I should have stopped for water and a minute to rest. Once I got to the fourth kata I smacked the tsuba against my hand.

After that, I had no energy. My cuts were lethargic and I was wobbly on my feet. It was visible that I was having a hard time. After practice, the instructor told me to slow down and not go so fast. I think if I can remember to breath between each cut, I should be okay.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 407-408

Day 407:

Today was just a bad day from start to finish. I was tired and sore all day. I didn’t have to clear the floor and thought I could just complete three sets of kata easily. I didn’t have a lot of energy and I was wobbly on my feet getting up from a sitting kata. I hope the doctor knows what he’s doing. I don’t feel better yet.

Day 408:

The floor was already cleared when I got there, so a simple sweep was all that was necessary. I only finished two sets of kata and a few spare kata. I couldn’t keep up the pace since my abdomen was sore all day.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 405-406

Day 405:

Today I had to move all of the furniture and it made me very tired. I was actually breathing a little shallower as I started. Not a good way to start a class. I hope my liver will recover. My next appointment with the doctor is in a few months.

I only had the energy to complete two sets of kata before my energy gave out. My swings are smoother but a few still wobbled downwards. I need to be more calm and less intent on finishing strong. Also, my weight is not distributed well. I sometimes wobble on my feet when striking.

Day 406:

The floor was mostly clear today because one of the cleaning staff had been working just before I arrived. I only had to move the sofas. I was brimming with energy when I started class.

I completed three full sets of kata. I was swinging strongly but smoothly. I was calm and drawing better, too.

I saw that there were two new students singing papers. I wonder if they are here for Iaido or Kendo.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 403-404

Day 403:

No class today as it is a holiday.

Day 404:

Today I wasn’t the first to arrive. One of the instructors arrived and moved the furniture. I still had to sweep the floor but that’s all right. Since I didn’t have to move the furniture, I wasn’t tired going into Iaido.

I had so much energy, that I took to Iaido with gusto. I remembered to swing easy instead of with power so I was smoother. I was so into the ‘zone’ that can’t really remember if I did two sets or three sets. By the time I was looking at the clock, it was time to go.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Beginner's Point of View 401-402

Day 401:

Sensei brought his own sword to practice and suggested I try using it. I felt like it was made of hollow plastic. He said this was a zinc-aluminum blade. It’s metal but it feels like nothing, like air. Well, that settles it. I’m not buying a zinc-aluminum sword any time soon. My ‘slow swing’ seemed to fly at a hundred miles per hour for the horizontal cut in the first kata. I slowed down again and it sped too fast on the down cut.

Sensei was amused and showed me a kata from Muso-Shinden Ryu. It’s like the first Seitei Gata kata, but standing. You step forward with your left foot, hands on the sword, draw and cut horizontally while stepping forward with the right foot, swing to the left and upwards while stepping forward with the left foot, then cut downwards while stepping forward with the right foot. Chiburi just like the first Seitei Gata kata. After a couple of times, I slowed down and stopped using power in my swing. My kata got better. Sensei gave me my sword back and I tried again.

By using great circles centered around my navel instead of pushing and pulling the steel as if the center of mass of the blade was the center, I did much better.

Day 402:

Just a side note, the owners of the building filled the furniture with a new type of chairs. Folding outdoor chairs that seemed built backwards. It took several minutes to figure out how to fold them. I guess it was good for the problem-solving skills. Instead of just using two hands, you need to use a foot and one hand or else you won’t generate enough pressure to overcome the tightness of the chair. There’s a lesson in there that reminds me of last class’s no-strength lesson in Iaido. Different points of view and different approaches can solve problems.

I continued to work on my Iaido and it appeared to me to be smoother. Not wobbly on my feet tonight. Just trying to pay attention I felt distracted. My mind was going many strange places all throughout the class. I did two sets of kata.