Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 505-506

Day 505:

Today was a good day of lots of work. Kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, kote-suriage-men-ouchi, and men-suriage-men-ouchi over many repetitions. There was a lot of lecture and demonstrations, which is good. That way I could catch my breath and keep that equilibrium of energy and breath good. We finished with a few rounds of ji-geiko. I seem to be getting better as long as I have some breath in my body. I feel faster when I do.

At the end of practiced, I had a kata lesson on the sixth and seventh Kendo kata. On the seventh, I had bad footwork as shidachi. I kept counting two steps and kneeling down on my left knee. That’s wrong. I need three steps and kneel down on the right knee. At the end, sensei said to augment my kata with more seme to impress the judges.

Day 506:

This was a day of technique over brute force or working us until we drop. After some kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, and kote-ouchi, we do a drill that we haven’t done in a while. We did ten ai-ouchi-men over and over. Head Sensei likes this drill because it builds stamina not just in the body but in the mind. One more time…one more time…one more time…

After a while, I had to sit out. Not because I was out of breath or out of energy. My left hip was sore about ten minutes into practice and just kept getting worse. I tried to ignore it as best as I can but after a while I just couldn’t stand anymore. I was able to step back in for ji-geiko.

I got to do some more kata with a different instructor. He gave different advice. He was more metaphysical than sensei. I like metaphysical, especially if it is relevant to the kata in question. He let me know about striking doh at the same time in order help me get over the mental stumbling block of how many steps to take. He also told me to fix my fourth kata as uchidachi, the attack is NOT jodan. I kept thinking that it was jodan and that’s why I keep swinging sideways. I should fix my hips afterwards to be straight.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 503-504

Day 503:

Sensei was sick today, so he could only teach the beginner class. He handed the advanced class to myself and another shodan. We were surprised.

We just tried to settle for a simply wide series of waza. Men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, kote-men-ouchi, and doh-ouchi. We tried to pull off a hotseat but with only four total people it didn’t go off well. We then moved into men-kaeshi-doh and kote-suriage men. We finished with some ji-geiko.

Day 504:

Had to rest a bit

I have trimmed the callous on my foot very close to my flesh to avoid tearing more flesh.

Today, the Sensei was trying to kill us with pure work. We had so many repetitions. First it was four repetitions, then six, then eight, then ten. Once you thought you were done you now do it eight times, then six, and then four. Only then do you move to the next waza. Sensei was keeping pace, but the rest of us were sufferting.

We did kiri-kaeshi and then into waza. Men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, ai-ouchi-men, doh-ouchi, kote-men-ouchi.

I had to sit out for a full count of a waza before stepping back in. We finished with some ji-geiko. I had to conserve my breath for occasions when I could surprise my opponent with the burst of speed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 501-502

Day 501:

Today we had a guest sensei show up. We haven’t seen him for a year. He was doing well and even had a new job and promotion back home in Japan. Good for him.

After warming up myself, advanced class started. We opened with kiri-kaeshi and then guest sensei wanted us to do a variation of kiri-kaeshi. We start with men-ouchi and then then strike doh over and over.

The bulk of class was a single-extra-long version of kenshi-in-the-middle. We took turns being in the middle until each did each of kote-suriage-men and men-kaeshi-doh twice. Guest sensei really helped me sharpen my doh-ouchi. I have to remember to keep my left hand in the middle of my body. We finished with three rounds of ji-geiko.

At the end of class, we lined up to hear Guest Sensei’s comments. He told me that I had a great spirit. He was always feeling being pressured.

Day 502:

We had a full day of many different waza. Kirik-kaeshi, doh-kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, doh-ouchi, men-debana-kote, and kote-suriage-men.

We all didn’t do so well with doh-ouchi. We kept not cutting well, like going too horizontal with the swing. Sensei had us re-do the drill where the receiver starts by attempting to strike men. The attacker blocks with kaeshi-doh. We do it ten times continuously while standing still. After that, then we all did better.

We finished with some ji-geiko. I noticed that I was scoring men-ouchi and kote-ouchi on Sensei over and over. At first, I thought I was surpassing his Kendo, but then that didn’t make sense this soon. After class, he admitted that his leg hurt badly so he wasn’t fighting at peak capacity. That made sense.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 498-500

Day 499:

I showed up on time and had a quick stretch. My left big toe was really stiff. I can normally pop the joint but it wouldn’t pop. We also had a higher-ranking fighter visit us. I really wanted to spar with him.

We did kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, and kote-ouchi drills until my toe began to hurt. I stepped out and tried to manipulate it. I thought I had a caught tendon somewhere. I worked it until the pain went away and stepped back in.

We practiced kote-debana-men a few times until my toe and foot started hurting badly. I had to step out another two times before going home early. I was really disappointed. I was also disappointed that I didn’t practice with our guest even once. I was in the wrong rotation position and I left early.


Day 500:

No practice as I am healing from the previous class.

Day 500.5:


Today was the first time I participated in a tournament as a shodan. It was really sweet. I feel so much faster than when I was an ikkyu. I was drafted to run a court table again. The first half of the day was just running the other divisions.

After lunch, it was my division. I fought a nidan and nearly won. I still lost, but it was so close. My next opponent was a shodan and I fought him to a victory. I didn’t score any points in my first match, so I didn’t get to advance. Still, I was happy with my effort. I stepped up my effort from the start.

Later, I was on our top team. We played against a young team of low-ranking people. We won all five rounds, scoring all the points. I scored a perfect 2-0 victory. Still, my opponent was not a pushover. I had to make sure to do correct Kendo to make sure not to allow him to score.

Overall it was a great tournament. I think I’m looking forward to the next tournament.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 497-498

Day 497:

In Iaido class, we actually had a structured class. We did matoburi suburi and that drill where we do a draw and cut like in maai, only we do it front-right-behind-left and then do it again. I messed up the first right-vs-left and ended up backwards. Afterwards, we practiced the first three kata and learned the finer points. I need to cut lower across the eyes.

In Kendo, we skipped okuri-ashi and went directly into waza. Several rounds of men-ouchi and all of its variations. We had a lesson on stepping right, not half-stepping into it and messing up your fumi-komi. I spent time hitting my partners too hard. I need more tenouchi. The sensei worked us hard in preparation for the tournament. Kote-ouchi, doh-ouchi, kote-men-ouchi, and ji-geiko. The instructor mentioned that I waver my shinai when I turn around after passing by.

Day 498:

I decided to mix it up by going to advanced class for a while. I forgot we changed our times of class so I arrived halfway through beginner class. The sensei asked me to join in, so I did.

In advanced practice, we worked hard to sharpen our skills. We worked several repetitions on men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, kote-men-ouchi, sashi-men, and oji-waza such as debana-men. I had some trouble with harai-men. Instead of raising straight up, I wound up slinging my shinai backwards and forwards to strike kote, called kote-nuki-kote. It worked, but that was not the drill.

By the end of class, I felt like collapsing. I couldn’t move fast. My feet hurt. My callous on my left foot tore some more sideways. I was really dehydrated. Still, it was a good workout.