Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 596-597

Day 596:

I did 3 sets of Iaido in class before asking a question. Sensei was teaching the new student about the footwork in the ninth kata. Sensei turned his left foot to the right about 45 degrees. I have been keeping my left foot straight. A short conversation resulted in the answer being either one is good, but straight is better. I did a few spare kata to reinforce the footwork.

In Kendo class, we had a Guest Sensei. He’s a yondan from Michigan, which is Sensei’s alma mater. He was really happy to be here and practice with us.

The class got delayed just enough that I could stepo in and lead the class in rei-hou. We did warm-ups and suburi together. As a class, we did a few rounds of okuri-ashi and then put on men.

We did several rounds of kiri-kaeshi and men-ouchi. Class was large and the receivers needed to rotate. We did a few kote-ouchi and then it was several ji-geiko. Most of my partners were kyus so I had to push them into hitting me. At least today my naka-yui stayed tied. Maybe I can keep this shinai a little longer.

After class, Guest Sensei had advice for me. He said that my left arm is still bent at the end of a strike. I think it’s because of not extending and being too stressed at striking.

Day 597:

Iaido went by quickly again. I got to complete three sets of Iaido and had some time left over. I asked a question about tate-heiza. Sensei seems to sit with his feet in line with each other. It looks really awkward to stand up. He said it’s not necessary to sit exactly in line just make it close.

In Kendo, we had a hard class. After suburi, we skipped okuri-ashi and put on men. We did several rounds of kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, and kote-ouchi. We had a round of ji-geiko using only men and kote. Afterwards I had to sit out. I was getting to the point of not breathing any more. After I got my breath back, I stepped in for some advanced waza. Kote-men-ouchi, harai-men, and harai-kote. I like doing harai-waza. It makes its own opening. After one last ji-geiko, we finished class.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 594-595

Day 594:

I got to class early today. I was able to complete three sets of Iaido with time to spare. I was able to practice the eighth kata a few times to practice the footwork. After class, sensei told me that the official instruction book was available. I asked for a copy.

In Kendo class, we did suburi and okuri-ashi. I felt good throughout. It was a big class, big enough that the receivers had to rotate. I like this kind of class. It gives me the time to recover my breath before doing waza. I still get to push myself.

Day 595:

In Iaido, I was really motivated. I did three sets of kata and then had time for almost another set of random kata. I had to remember to bring my right hand down before backing off. A sensei at the seminar told me to hold both hands on the sword as you back off. My sensei told me it’s not true. Now I gotta unlearn that lesson after months.

In Kendo, we did kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, and kote-ouchi. My naka-yui started coming undone before my eyes. I stepped out to re-tie it and back in. I practiced kote-men-ouchi and then had to step out for breath. Soon after, the whole dojo took a water break. We stepped back in for kakari-geiko and ji-geiko. Very good workout. I need to inspect my shinai this weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 592-593

Day 592:

Today we had kind of a group practice. We all did the first kata twice, then the second kata twice, etc… We finished with the sixth kata twice. Then we broke into freeform. I finished the seventh through twelfth katas twice and finally did an entire set.

In Kendo, we did suburi and I was sweating really badly. The summer is really hard on my health this year. There were thunderstorms, cooling the air. Still, it was humid. We did kiri-kaeshi and men-ouchi. I felt drained, close to losing all my breath again. I stepped out to catch my breath. Afterwards, I stepped in for some ji-geiko and kiri-kaeshi. I had just enough energy to finish.

Day 593:

Iaido was a structured class today. Together we started with leg stretches and then the four-direction practice. I messed it up trying to follow the opposite line instead of just turning the direction called. Ugh, what an amateur mistake.

Then together we did the first seven katas twice together. Afterwards we had free practice. I finished the two sets and practiced a few spare kata.

For Kendo class, sensei did not arrive. I stepped into lead the class in rei-hou and then led suburi. We did okuri-ashi and I remembered to loosen my arms. It allowed for better strikes. We put on men and then did waza. Kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi. I was getting tired. I was thinking about stepping out but it was close to the end of class. We did kakari-geiko a few times and I had to stop in mid-stride.

Fortunately, we stopped to line up for birthday keiko for one of our students. When it was my turn, I made sure to crush her spirit so I could step in and strike her men and kote. After that, I allowed her to strike my men. It was a success, I think.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 590-591

Day 590:

Today was really, really hot and humid. I was sweating a lot during Iaido class. I did two sets and four spare kata. I didn’t sip a lot of water before Kendo class.

In Kendo, we started off without men and doing a lot of okuri-ashi. It seemed really good to pace the class that way. We did the drill where we criss-crossed the room in alternating style charging and then men-ouchi. Then we put on kote and went through lines doing men-ouchi and kote-ouchi while rotating into lines.

Then we put on men. We did kiri-kaeshi and men-ouchi waza. I got really hot inside and felt weak. I decided to power through it because the class was close to over. However, sensei decided on a huge drill, four men strikes and then 4 kote strikes and then 4 doh strikes and then 4 men strikes. I did the men strikes and was weak. He yelled at me to be louder and more firm. I tried to summon more energy and struck kote twice. Then I collapsed against the far wall. I stopped breathing. I was so hot, that I didn’t feel anything. I had to sit out for the rest of class. Still, I kept my men on for ending rei-hou.

Sensei was concerned for me and insisted on my colling off with two sets of Kendo kata with him after class. Kata is always fun. It was a good idea to practice kata deliberately but pace yourself. Embarrassingly, we both screwed up the third kata both times. I guess we needed to concentrate.

Day 591:

No class today as I am ill.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Beginner's Point of View 588-589

Day 588:

In Iaido class, I was really distracted. I focused on my kata and almost finished all twelve kata for a full three sets. I was only one kata away and I kept thinking about other things.

In Kendo class, it was cooler than expected. We did suburi, kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, and then some shodan waza. We started with step-men, step-kote, and ji-geiko. We were trying to bring up the class from kyu ranks to dan ranks.

Day 589:

Today was really hot. It was 95 degrees and the heat index was 105 degrees. There were multiple warnings of heat exhaustion. However, our class today had two advantages. The air conditioning was actually working for once, so the temperature was only 82 degrees inside. The other thing was that there were lots of students here today. I was in the receiving line for multiple students in each line. I still got to perform waza practice but had plenty of time to catch my breath and cool down between sets. This is the way to practice Kendo on hot days. Good workout but not feeling poorly from overheating.

Suburi, kiri-kaeshi, men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, and kakari-geiko was done quickly with one rotation each. After that it was birthday hotseat. One of my friends was having a birthday later in the week, so we all took turns gauntlet-style for short keiko. Even the new students practiced waza on him. It was a good day.