Monday, April 29, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 469-470

Day 469:

Today when I showed up, I was the only one there. There was someone who showed up looking for lessons. I had to do my Iaido kata myself and then stop early. I started to show the new guy a few things about Kendo like talking about the bogu and how to stand and hold the sword.

Then the instructor shows up and lets me know that the national federation has lost its insurance. Officially, there is no practice. However, another student showed up and we had an unofficial practice directly into advanced practice for over an hour. I had to stop after many iterations of waza. We did kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, sashi-men-ouchi. I had to rest and recover before going back in for and kote-ouchi, sashi-kote-ouchi, harai, kote-ouchi, and kakarigeiko.

Day 470:

We did two sets of Iaido kata during a warm and humid day. I was sweating and gasping.

In Kendo we did warm-ups, suburi, and okuri-ashi before doing a hard day of men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, and kiri-kaeshi. I just couldn’t bring myself to finish the class.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 467-468

Day 467:

Today was really warm. I was sweating while doing my three sets of Iaido kata.

In Kendo, I was late for warm-ups. After suburi, we did a different kind of suri-ashi. The instructor called it okuri-ashi. We divided up into two lines. We would cross the floor in alternating patterns relatively close to each other.

Then we would men-tsuke. It was a hard day of kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, and kote-men-ouchi. I really pushed myself to not sit down to rest. It turns out I’ve been twisting my left foot too much and that now I need to swing down with the shinai faster than I swing up. If I keep doing that, then the instructor says I’ll be closer to being ready to pass nidan.

He also let me know that there are different warm-ups for summer and winter. In winter, you have to run around before stretching out to avoid injury.

Day 468:

Today I did two and a half sets of kata. The floor still does not seem to be done. It only has the one coat of varnish and no sealant. The instructor said that the association that is handling the floor is planning on finishing the floor over the weekend.

In Kendo, I led warm-ups and suburi again. We did some more okuri-ashi and then men-tsuke. Today was an all-day men-ouchi focused study. We were trying to teach everyone, including three new students not yet in uniform, proper head strikes.

In helping others teach, I had a revelation!!! The instructor had another instructor hold their shinai above my head horizontally to block my swing going backwards at the overhead point. It turns out that men strike has been hard for me because I’m swinging it too far back. I’m twisting my right hand backwards while over my head, this twists my wrists awkwardly and makes a flat strike on the top of the men difficult. When I corrected this, my strikes were faster, crisper, and easier! I can wait to fix my foot and get much better.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 465-466

Day 465:

There hasn’t been any new work done in the dojo, much to our disappointed.

The new student had more lessons, so we did two and a half sets of Iaido kata.

In Kendo, the instructor actually asked me to lead the class. I led us in warm-ups, suburi, and suri-ashi drills. I tried to do it the same way that the instructor did.

The instructor took over and we put on men. We had a regular class of kiri-kaeishi, and men-ouchi. During class, the instructor gave me the advice that to improve myself to nidan, I should be swinging down with my shinai faster than I swing up. I also should fix my left foot some more.

Because of the warmer weather (and that I did not have to do all of the suri-ashi drills) I did not have to sit out even once.

Day 466:

Instructor gave me lots of advice on how to lead a class, keep class moving, talk less, only talk if someone not doing it right, don’t slow down by end, need more practice but that’s okay, good advice

The dojo floor had more work done. Only a little bit more work. We could have avoided the area, but the owners insisted we not practice in there. So we had to practice in the carpeted room again.

We did another two and a half sets of Iaido kata. A higher-ranking student corrected me in jodan-no-kamae. I was holding the sword at forty-five degrees to the side. It should be more slight, otherwise it’s out of balance. The new student learned kata one and twelve.

I lead Kendo class in warm-ups and suburi again. I wonder if this will be the new way from now on. We mixed it up to keep things fresh. We practiced the Kendo kihon waza with the bokken, called "Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho". (Say that three times fast.)

The first is men-kote-doh-tsuki. The second is kote-men. The third is harai-men. The fourth is hiki-doh, which is very awkward to do. We’ve practiced this before a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 463-464

Day 463:

Today we’re back at the dojo, only to find the floor sanded. There was a lot of sawdust all over the floor. Even when you sweep up, there’s still dust left.

There was a hard, large bead of wood glue on the floor. I slid my foot over it when stepping back in the ninth kata. It did not feel good.

I did three sets of kata. There was a new student, so the instructor had to spend all his time with him.

In Kendo, we did warm-ups, suburi, suri-ashi drills, and men-ouchi. After that, the instructor stopped us and had us both take off men. He then had the others practice taking a test just like shinsa. He would harshly grade them for each big mistake. He even asked my opinion whether or not I would pass them. I would pass two but fail the third. The third was constantly lowering his arm, making his strike the men-gane instead of men. He took my comments as ideas on what to tell them to work on.

Day 464:

Today I found the floor treated with wood stain. It was still sticky, showing it was just put down today. We would have to practice in the carpet room again. I did three sets of kata.

Today we did more kata. I would practice in lines with rotating partners with as many kata as possible. The students I practiced with practiced the first three kata. With the instructor, I practiced the first five. He was disappointed that I forgot all about what I learned on the sixth kata and didn’t know the seventh. He did correct me on the fourth kata to step to the left more. Otherwise, my cut does not look straight down.