Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 531-532

Day 531:

Today was a hard practice as one of the instructors are going away on a trip before next class. We did several rounds of kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, ji-geiko with only men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, ji-geiko with men-ouchi and kote-ouchi, kote-men-ouchi, harai-men, ji-geiko with kote-men-ouchi, doh-ouchi, and 4-man kakari-geiko.

Afterwards, both instructors gave me advice on my progress towards nidan. Sensei told me that I need to keep my arms and shoulder loose so I don’t tense my right arm before a strike. The instructor had a nice, long lecture with me with metaphysics. I like those discussions since I like to consider the philosophical side of things. He said that now I need to stop looking for new things. Instead, I need to take all the pieces that I have and make them connect more smoothly. I also need to understand the ‘why’ side of things. Why do I strike? Why do I strike now? Why did I not strike over there? Why did I not strike sooner or later? It’s starting to come together.

I’m also not doing fumi-komi right. Apparently, the example of ‘charging up stairs’ is not quite correct. I need to ‘step over a puddle’ instead. Now I need to unlearn fumi-komi and learn it all over again.

Day 532:

Today is the day before a holiday. Only Sensei is there. He sent a message to all of us in the advanced class to try to show up early so the beginner class is not empty. All of us showed up for a big class.

Sensei asked me to lead the class. I had to rely on memory to lead the class. Rei-hou, stretching, and suburi came naturally. I had to make sure to give every stretch because it was cold.

Sensei had us put on men right away. We practiced men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, doh-ouchi, and men-debana-kote-ouchi. Afterwards, we did a few rounds of ji-geiko. The last ji-geiko I fought Sensei. I’m not sure if he was taking it easy on me or if I was really fighting him evenly matched. Maybe it’s just because I know his patterns well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 529-530

Day 529:

No class today as I have a previously-made appointment.

Day 530:

No class today as I am ill.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 527-528

Day 527:

We had one of our regular Guest Sensei practice with us. It was fun seeing him again. Today we did a lot of conditioning exercises. Several iterations of the same drill over and over. Kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, doh-ouchi, ai-ouchi-men, kote-suriage-men, and men-suriage-men. We finished with a few rounds of ji-geiko. It was interesting fighting against Guest Sensei. If I push myself to the limit, I could match him in the short term. I was able to speed my sword to hit his kote to beat his defense to make him smile.

Day 528:

Today was more conditioning. At the end of practice, Sensei said the drills were the shinai versions of the bokutou kihon kata being pushed by the Kendo Federation. We started with kiri-kaeshi and then did the sequence of men, kote, doh, tsuki, kote-men, kote-suriage-men, men-debana-kote, and men-nuki-men. There were a few more but I don’t remember the entire series. We finished with some ji-geiko and moved into kata.

I love kata. I teamed with a student to sharpen our first five kata. He’s really coming along. I took the time to demonstrate my seme in kata.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Beginner's Point of View 525-526

Day 525:

Today we worked on getting maai for men strike down well. Drills included kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, okuri-ashi-men, seme-men, seme-men-men, and then ai-ouchi-men. We finished with an invigorating round of four-person-kakari-geiko.

We did some kata afterwards. I practiced the first five kata with a student. He did well. I think he would have passed. I had forgotten which type of jodan was needed for the fifth kata on the uchidachi side. It turns out to be left jodan. The uchidachi needs to be careful in attacking to straighten the attack for the shidachi.

Day 526:

Today was more instructional for form and techinique. We did kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, and then ji-geiko using only men strikes. That’s new. Then we did kote-ouchi and then ji-geiko using only men or kote. We then did doh-ouchi and then ji-geiko like normal. We then concentrated on oji-waza. Kote-men-ouchi, seme-men, seme-men-debana-kote, and seme-kote-suriage-men. We finished with some three-person-kakari-geiko.

We finished with some kata. I practiced the first seven kata with another shodan. I learned that we need some precision work. For myself, I have two errors. First, I need to not jump back as uchidachi. That just makes the shidachi too far away. Also, my footwork as uchidachi in the seventh kata is wrong. It’s two steps forward for the initial cut and then slide the left foot back as you aim for the shidachi and a Kendo step backwards to pull the shidachi up.