Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 742-745

Day 742:

Today was unseasonably warm for December. The temperature was 60+ degrees. Sheesh, this will be great for my health.

In Iaido, I was able to complete 2.75 sets of kata. I think I’m going slower well now and turning my saya flat for noto by automatic motion. That’s good. I just need to keep my feet apart for stability. I really want that shodan for Iaido.

In Kendo, no student showed up. I guess neither will come back. We had a guest sensei show up. He’s at least yandan, so that’s always good. We did several rounds of kiri-kaeshi and kihon. Then somewhat early, Sensei decided to train exclusively with guest sensei to gain some understanding for his yandan test.

The few times I had practice or ji-geiko with guest sensei, he didn’t challenge me at all. He left himself open which I thought was a trap. So, I must have looked dumb or scared. Still, it’s for Sensei’s advancement and I’m okay. So, I guess I won’t be upset.

However, today we had several rounds of doh-uchi-waza. I took several strikes to the ribs right where I used to be injured. It didn’t hurt as much as last time, so I might be okay.

Day 743:

In Iaido, there was almost no traffic. So, I had enough time to complete 3 full sets of Iaido kata.

Today was very humid and very warm. I also feel tired and sluggish, like when I used to be injured from liver damage. I wonder if this is the same or less.

In Kendo, there was a lot of basic waza. Kiri-kaeshi, basic kihon, and ji-geiko. This might be Sensei listening to the AUSKF saying that all students need to sharpen up their waza for the past couple of months. He said next year he’ll come up with new stuff to practice upon.

Next year I’ll be up for promotion in Iaido and I’ll be allowed to test for sandan in Kendo. However, I don’t feel up to standard for sandan. I’m just fixing my attacking by not using my right hand. That’s hard enough. Now I also have to include tension and seme. I think I need for practice and frankly, I’m not even all that interested. At least there’s no class next week so I can rest.

Day 744:

No class today because of the holiday.

Day 745:

No class today because of the holiday.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 740-741

Day 740:

In Iaido I went slower than usual. I was trying to cut right. I only had time for 2 sets of kata.

In Kendo, we had a day full of repetition. After several rounds of kiri-kaeshi, we did a lot of repetitions of kihon strikes. Then we finished with a couple of rounds of ji-geiko. We had another visit by a kendoka. However, it turns out he has a zekken with our logo. I guess he’s a member of our dojo but doesn’t come very often. He also stands in the middle of the lineup.

Day 741:

In Iaido, I showed up early and kept going long. I completed 3 sets of kata. I was on fire today.

One of our new students introduced his girlfriend as a new student. I volunteered to teach her. We started with a combination of the first 2 days on the schedule. We did standing, walking, 2-step men, and then a primer on basic manners. She’s very short so I need to adapt for a shorter stride when teaching.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 738-739

Day 738:

Today Sensei did not show up. It was just myself and our new Iaido student. I answered questions about the 7th and 9th katas. He seems to want to do Iaido but he’ll have trouble when he gets his metal sword with how strong he swings the sword. For now, he’s using the wooden saya we have in the closet.

In kendo, I really wanted to skip class. My left leg is hurting in both hamstring and Achilles tendon. However, Sensei was sick. Also, the other nidan passed the responsibility off to me. So, I decided on a “lab day” where we care more about technique than brute force.

We did suri-ashi drills to fix fumi-komi, several rounds of kiri-kaeshi, kihon with seme to take center, and then ji-geiko. We saved time for lessons on Kendo kata. I took the time to teach the lower-ranking kata 1, 2, and 3. One student is very weak with his chudan-no-kamae. He’ll need to fix that when he eventually tests for ikkyu.

Sensei left a message that he may also be out next class. Our other nidan said he won’t be available for next class. I’ll have to come up with something.

Day 739:

In Iaido, I was glad to see Sensei show up. He wore his uniform but did not come with bogu. I completed 2.25 sets of kata.

In Kendo, Sensei coached from the sidelines. We had yet another guest sensei show up. I’ve seen him at our tournaments. We did kiri-kaeshi, kihon, and then several rounds of ji-geiko. Sensei gave a lecture about keeping center. The guest sensei gave me silent lessons by holding center against my doh. I need to be less spastic and take center. We had a discussion after class about how I lose momentum when I take strong center. He mentioned that he had the same problem, but you can only learn to use your left leg to propel yourself proper.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 736-737

Day 736:

Today in Iaido, that student of mine showed up again. He took a lesson for Iaido from sensei. We had several people show up so the space was crowded. I had to wait several times for others to be out of the way, I could only complete 2.25 sets of kata. Still, I keep rushing and screwing up the cuts.

In Kendo, I spent the class teaching the new student. We reviewed rei, suri-ashi, 2-step men and then introduced 2-step kote. Afterwards, I stepped into the end of class for kiri-kaeshi and ji-geiko.

Day 737:

In Iaido, I completed 2 sets of kata, trying to make my cuts smoother. After going to that special session, I’m not satisfied with my techniques at all. Sensei gave a lecture on the ninth kata. You must thrust with the hips and feet, not the hands.

In Kendo, my student did not show up. In class, we did kiri-kaeshi, and kihon. There were three beginners, making sure there were lots of times to rest between waza. My left Achilles tendon and hamstring are aching for some reason. Also a new pain occurs. My right big toe’s bones are crunching together. I don’t understand why. I hope this won’t be a problem for the upcoming Iaido seminar.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 734-735

Day 734:

In Iaido, I actually finished 3 full sets of kata. I did kinda rush through them. I should slow down.

In Kendo, we did a full day of bokutou kihon kendo kata. We did it for a simple practice and to train beginners for the future. We practiced all nine kata for this. I should remember these in order.

Day 735:

In Iaido, I was in charge as Sensei was out today. I gave advice to a beginner who has not yet received his iaito in the mail. He needs to fix his motion for the second kata turning around. His right leg is crooked. I showed him the technique to snap the body into place ready for horizontal cut.

In kendo my fellow nidan deferred to me today. I started everyone with extra kiri-kaeshi and some kihon. Then we did something fun. We did hotseat for the whole class. After a short break the class requested deam-light. I did give a short lecture about minding the maai during kote-men or else ruin it all. It was a small taste for what it is like to be a sensei. It’s a lot of responsibility.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 732-733

Day 732:

Over this past weekend, I somehow partially sprained my Achilles Tendon in my left leg/ankle. It feels really close to a big injury. Still, it’s not bad enough to not go to dojo. I’ll just be careful.

In Iaido, I just did 2 sets of kata, plus a few spare standing kata. I feel okay.

In Kendo, my student did not show up so I joined the class. I did not run or charge, just walk through class. We did kihon drills all day. We even did suburi with shinai so we could strike men-ouchi with partners stepping back and forth. I also took it easy with ji-geiko, paying attention to center and kamae.

Day 733:

Again, my student did not show up. I’m disappointed. However, I know it’s because of his job, not laziness.

In Iaido, I completed 2.25 sets of kata. My leg feels a little better, so I must be okay.

In Kendo, we spent most of the class doing kihon and men-debana-kote. We have two beginners who have gotten their uniforms but not bogu. Sensei gave a lecture about not raising the sword up with the right hand. Push it up and forward with the left hand. I need to do that more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 730-731

Day 730:

I completed 2.75 sets of Iaido. That seems to be a pattern now. My cuts seem wobbly. I guess I need to slow down again.

In Kendo, it was sensei’s turn to teach the beginner. However, he said that he needed a little more training to take his promotion exam again. He asked me to take this month. I said I would. I like teaching the beginners. I gets me to sharpen my technique rather than trying to concentrate on power.

I taught him basic rei-hou, standing, walking, seiza, suri-ashi, and men-ouchi-waza in 2-step. It’s the second week so we need to compress the learning schedule.

Day 731:

No class today as I have a family event to attend.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 728-729

Day 728:

Today I completed 2.75 sets of Iaido. It’s slow going remembering all the steps to cut correctly.

In Kendo, we had a guest sensei to help sensei train for his promotion exam. Today was better than I’ve been having. The beginners now stay with us full time. We did suburi and kihon. We did a lot of repetitions of complicated waza. Kote-men, men-kote-kote-men-men, men-kote-kote-doh-men, and kiri-kaeshi multiple times. It was tiring. We finished with the beginners watching us others in ji-geiko.

This time I was feeling better when guest sensei was here. I had much better energy to move fast and strike fast. He was the tired one this time. It’s sometimes weird how the tables turn.

Day 729:

Today I completed 2.75 sets of Iaido.

In Kendo, we had a lot of kenshi show up. We went back to rotating motodachi lines, which is how I like it. I remembered to push my left shoulder forward and it made my strikes better. After several repetitions of kihon, sensei and I stepped out for kata.

We then went through all 10 kata on both uchidachi and shidachi. I made sure to exaggerate the 5th kata for suriage. We did well. Our 9th kata the swords did not clack. That’s bad but the advice is to just continue doing it and finish well. I did forget the rei-hou for uchidachi. I was messed up because I learned a new rule about the cutting edge relative to shomen. I need to practice more and remember the rules.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 726-727

Day 726:

Today was a terrible day all day. At least spending time at the dojo ends the day.

In Iaido, I completed 2.5 sets of kata. My toe seems to have healed up completely.

In Kendo, we had a Guest Sensei arrive to practice with Sensei. He was really good at Kendo. Always a really good attack. We did suburi and kihon.

My body feels really bad. It’s tired, sore, totally lacking in energy. Still, I kept trying. My chest felt sore and I had to step out. I felt totally lacking in spirit. After a while, I stepped back in for suburi. My men-himo were slipping out of the knot. Against the Guest Sensei, my Kendo seemed slow. He leapt all around after the strikes. Still, I got a good kote in there.

After class, he gave me advice for shoving my left shoulder forward during a strike to correct my drift. There was a session of kata after class with Sensei and Guest Sensei but my body was crashing, so I went home.

Day 727:

Today was a much better day. I did 2.5 sets of kata. It seems like my speed slows down when reminding to cut with only the left arm. Sensei gave advice to the class that when sliding forward in kneeling kata, do not slide the knee into the foot. You need to slide it completely forward.

In Kendo, we did suburi, okuri-ashi, kihon, kote-men-ouchi, and the familiar step-back-step-men-ouchi. We finished with ji-geiko. Sensei asked us when we do ji-geiko, we do it like we’re testing. I tried to bring the thunder. Prying for center, moving for angle, and striking fully. After class, his advice for both of us nidans was to only strike when we feel as if we will strike instead of flailing.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 724-725

Day 724:

In Iaido, I pushed myself to do 3 sets of kata. I wanted to get back in to my rhythm. However, I felt like I kept making the same old mistakes. It does feel natural to cut with the left hand only. My 5th kata looks better.

In Kendo, we started off with suri-ashi for the beginners. We’re getting in the habit of including the beginners with the class in suburi to get them used to it. I think it’s a good idea. Takes some pressure off the instructors and gets them acclimated to the class. We then did kiri-kaeshi, kihon, and then the step-back-step-men-ouchi drill. I don’t like that drill but I see the point. It’s about seme and maai. We finished with ji-geiko. As luck would have it, I sprained my left big toe halfway through class so I could not charge forward as fast or far as I normally do, however I could bring the thunder against Sensei. After class, he confided that he hurt his leg before our ji-geiko.

Day 725:

In Iaido, I slowed down to remember to cut with only the left hand. I got to class later than usual so I only got to complete 2.5 sets of kata. Still, it was good. One of our beginners came back after several months of being away. I hope he stays this time.

In Kendo, we had the beginners in for suburi and then suri-ashi. Sensei is gearing up for his yandan exam. So we focused on kihon and kiri-kaeshi a lot. We also did more of that step-back-step-men-ouchi drill and ji-geiko. My toe felt better so I could move a lot. I really know to push advantages so I can score points.

At the end, we did kata. Sensei asked me to practice kata with him to prepare him and eventually myself. We did well. Our other nidan was asked to practice the bokotou-kihon-kata with the lower-ranking students to prepare them. They’ll need it. I should read up on those more in case I’m asked to instruct. After doing all 10 kata with Sensei, he said it was good, maybe even passing grade. He did remind me about being more deliberate with both sides of the 5th kata’s suriage otherwise it doesn’t work. Also, the uchidachi’s 8th kata needs to be smooth and not hesitate to make the cut.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 722-723

Day 722:

In Iaido, I made sure to try to do what my previous lesson taught me. I slowed down and only had time to do 2 sets of kata. I was able to remember to perform flat shinden-style noto. After class, I told Sensei about the comment about my left hand being open. He said he’ll try to pay attention.

In Kendo, we had a basic practice. We did kihon, kote-men, and uchikomi-geiko. We finished with ji-geiko for those who had bogu.

We stopped early for kata. I was in a group of three to practice all 10 kata. I got to practice both uchidachi and shidachi sides. I messed up the third kata and did not make the contact on the uchidachi side of the 8th kata. However, I got comments about how continuing to go forward with the kata as if no error. I need to practice the kata over and over.

Day 723:

In Iaido, I got to go 2.75 sets of kata. It’s getting easier to keep the saya flat for noto. This time I added not using my muscles but just guide the sword. The best way is to only cut with only the left arm.

In Kendo, it was Sensei’s turn to teach the beginner but he asked our shodan to teach. We got to practice okuri-ashi, kihon, kote-men, men-suriage-men, kiri-kaeshi, and ji-geiko. During the last couple of ji-geiko I really was very tired. In the last ji-geiko I nearly stopped breathing, so I had to just bait and counter-attack. I did completely dominate Sensei during our ji-geiko with three men-ari, a kote-ari, and almost a perfect doh-ari. After practice, he admitted his left leg spasmed and stopped moving. The lack of forward momentum made it easier.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 720-721

Day 720:

No class today as I am injured.

Day 721:

No class today as I am injured.

Day 721.5:

I had made an appointment to see a sword vendor to get my iaito’s saya fixed. The wooden inside was wearing uneven and even the narrow part in front of the cutting edge had worn away totally. I was worried that one unlucky draw would crack the saya.

I was actually invited to practice at his dojo with his students for a day while getting my saya repaired. I took this opportunity to practice Iaido with another dojo to see how they do things. However, some details came to light. The dojo practices Jodo as well as Muso-Shinden Ryu. I only practice Seitei-Gata. However, the sensei decided to alter class to be more accommodating to me. I felt very honored that way.

When I met the sensei, he examined my sword just as much as my saya. He then told me that my sword was a cheap knock-off sword made in China. The tsuka had even thickness in front as well as in back. That’s not supposed to be the way it’s made. The narrowing in front reflects the cutting edge which reminds you of the plane of the sword. The blade has a twist to it and the wood is not Japanese wood in the saya.

After being so very disappointed in my sword, I went to the dojo. I was given a jo and asked to follow along with the class practicing kata. The movements were so different and designed to deflect swords and then counter-strike. I could tell an amusing joke about how I was practicing anti-Kendo and feeling dirty about it. Never mind. It was still interesting and fun.

Sensei walked in and gave me my iaito, showing me my saya. He glued a piece of wood where the vacant place was. I feel more confident drawing it now.

In Iaido class, we only did two kata, but we really went in depth. Sensei talked a lot about technique and showed many examples of what to do and not to do. He also was the type to tell many jokes and make many not-serious jibes with students who were his friends. That’s different, but he’s high-ranking, so there’s no criticism at all.

We practiced the fifth and ninth katas. Sensei actually asked me for a request. I requested the ninth kata. I tried to follow sensei’s instructions as best as I could. Among other things, my flaw of using too much muscle was exposed. I do use my muscles a lot because my iaito is steel.

I should also state that the opening and closing rei-hou were slightly different. We would intentionally pull our hakama in tight to our legs and put the sword on the right side. My own rei-hou seems very abridged. Is it? Or is this just different? I guess I’ll just have to trust my sensei.

At the end of the day, I wanted to buy a new sword which was Japanese. However, sensei said he wouldn’t sell me a sword today. He wanted me to try my current sword and then shop around. I think my sword is okay for at least a little while. However, I still want a better one. Sensei did tell me not to go to aluminum. The lack of weight would give me injuries later in my career.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 718-719

Day 718:

No class today as I am injured.

Day 719:

No class today as I am injured.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 716-717

Day 716:

In Iaido class, I did 2.5 sets of kata. Things are getting smoother. The fifth kata is becoming easier to finish.

In Kendo, we had a small class. Only a few people showed up. We had a hard class today. Men, ai-ouchi-men, kote-men, ai-ouchi-kote-men, men-hiki-men, then the same drill differently. The kakarite receives a men strike, and then performed hiki-men. I’m not good at receiving it, I’m better at blocking and instantly going backwards. Then we finished by doing the entire string in a single, continuous drill. Very tiring, very breath-stealing.

We stopped keiko early and had a kata lesson. I did learn that for shidachi shoto kata, you practice two types of chudan. High-hanmei and middle-hanmei. The shoto is not perfectly vertical because you are one-handed. Only step forward when the uchidachi tries strikes. Also remember to lift your shoto on the right side, not the left.

Day 717:

Today we got interrupted in Iaido. The association moved us to the gym without telling us. We lost some time to practice. I could only finish 2.5 sets of kata.

In Kendo, it was a small class again. I led the class in stretches and suburi. Sensei said it was okay for everyone to strike the young student now, but only gently as she’s very small.

We had a repeat of the yandan training from last class, only this time we added men-suriage-men, including into the long string of drills. We finished with some very short ji-geiko.

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 714-715

Day 714:

Today was a better day. I did 3 full sets of kata in Iaido.

However, in Kendo I was lacking in energy. After suburi and kihon we did many men-ouchi strikes. I was really getting sluggish inside. I haven’t felt this bad since I had liver damage.

Sensei has been striking the newest young student, albeit gently. I asked if I could do so also. I hate it when I get paired with her and she doesn’t get the entire experience. Still, Sensei said it was okay if I was gentle. So, I only tap her. She seems eager to receive strikes like a full student.

At the end of class it was balloon Kendo for her birthday. She took us all on gauntlet-style. My balloon popped in 3 seconds. Sensei said it was a dojo record. Great. She did have several good strikes for someone so young.

Day 715:

Today had lousy traffic, everyone showed up late. I only got to complete 2 sets of kata in Iaido. I asked Sensei about the fifth kata in hasso-no-kamae. He said the cutting edge is off by 45 degrees, not straight ahead. The follow-up strike follows the plane of the sword from the down cut.

In Kendo, after suburi it was a beginner class. We did a lot of kihon strikes and then immediately into ji-geiko.

Afterwards, we had a class in kata. Finally! I needed lessons in shoto kata. I actually got to practice uchidachi kata. I really need more practice. I know all of the pieces for uchidachi and shidachi, but not the order to put them in. For example, the uchidachi uses left jodan, gedan, and chudan, in that order.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 712-713

Day 712:

No class today because of the holiday.

Day 713:

Today was a terrible day. I had no focus all day, even at work. I should have stayed home but I came to the dojo because it’s fun.

I did only 2 sets of kata in Iaido, all wobbly.

In Kendo, I was lacking energy. I led the class in stretches and suburi. By the time sensei led us in kihon, I was losing energy. I tried to pace myself but I kept slowing down. I just kept going with my arms and no kiai. Eventually, I had to step out. I missed ji-geiko but at least the day was over.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 710-711

Day 710:

In Iaido class, I got an e-mail from sensei. He said that in the 5th kata, you grab the koiguchi directly. He also said that he commonly does the same mistake. It’s a good thing I have the official Iaido manual now.

In kendo, we had a small class. Sensei took over as our other nidan taught the newest beginners. He asked me to lead stretches and suburi. Then he taught a simple class in kihon and harai-men. The student that I taught has to stop about three-quarters through the class, but she did rei-hou with us at the end.

Day 711:

In Iaido, we had a slower start. Time seemed to pass by faster today for some reason. I only had time for 2.5 sets of kata.

In kendo, the student\nt I taught did not show up. I hope she did not give up. Still, we had a class today. After I led warm-ups and suburi, Sensei led a class in kihon and kote-men. There were two other beginners so we had plenty of uchikomi-geiko today.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 708-709

Day 708:

In Iaido, I felt distracted and the traffic delayed me arriving. I only had time to complete 2.5 sets of kata. I keep putting my hand on my obi instead of grabbing the koichi directly. I need to ask sensei about it.

In Kendo, we reviewed suri-ashi and kihon. I taught her kiri-kaeshi. She’s not very accurate with her strikes, but no beginner is. It takes practice.

I stepped into ji-geiko and found myself flying faster on my feet than usual. I got multiple good strikes on sensei.

Day 709:

In Iaido, I completed 2.5 sets of kata. I keep forgetting to ask sensei about grabbing the koichi or obi in the 5th kata.

In Kendo, we finished the beginner regimen and finished kiri-kaeshi training. We finished with a discussion of common Japanese words such as numbers and commands.

I finished Kendo by doing some ji-geiko. I feel I’m doing well. My strikes are much sharper because of needing to do demonstration strikes with the beginner.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 706-707

Day 706:

In Iaido, it was hot and humid. I got to complete 2.75 sets of kata. Then sensei gave us a lecture about making everything smoother. No hesitation or stopping the sword. Got to string all the moves together. Act as if there are no gears to shift.

In Kendo, my student quit early today. She said she felt bad, so I made sure to talk to her parents about it.

I joined the rest of Kendo class. Kiri-kaeshi, kihon, and oji-waza were the order of the day. We practiced oji-waza for each of targets, men-nuki-men, kote-nuki, men, and doh-kiri-otoshi-men. We finished with ji-geiko. Several of those oji-waza reminded me of the kendo kihon kata that I learned at the seminar where I earned nidan.

Day 707:

I showed up early to help perform a demo for an open house that the community center showcased. We started with kata. I helped teach newer students kata 1-7 and then got to practice kata 8-10 a couple of times. We then did kiri-kaeshi and ji-geiko.

After the demo, we did Iaido class. I did 3 full sets of kata even though we started late. I tried to not hesitate between movements.

Today I taught doh-ouchi-waza to the student and then smoothed it out from 2-step waza into 1-step waza. When I tried to teach kiai, the student was very quiet. She needs to kiai loudly in the future.

At the end of class, I stepped in for ji-geiko to finish class. Head Sensei actually showed up this time, teaching the class about enthusiasm and deliberate action.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 704-705

Day 704:

I completed 3 full sets of kata in Iaido.

In Kendo, I continued to tech our beginner. I added a lesson on how to strike kote. We practiced our footwork and fixed our chudan-no-kamae.

At the end of class, I stepped in for ji-geiko. I did well. Moving very fast.

Day 705:

I completed 3 full sets of kata in Iaido.

In Kendo, we reviewed the lessons of men-ouchi and kote-ouchi. Smoothed out the suri-ashi. I then taught fumi-komi and added it to the men and kote strikes. We charged across the practice area over and over to add it in.

I stepped in for ji-geiko and did well. I noticed that my strikes were crisper, sharper, and faster. It was someone’s birthday, so we took turns with one-on-one ji-geiko. I brought the thunder and showed best spirit, but still I let her get a hit on me since she’s lower-ranking than I.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 702-703

Day 702:

I came back to class today. My back is still stiff and I don’t want to overdo it. I did 3 sets of kata. My first attempt at the eleventh kata was terrible. The horizontal cut was wobbly and awkward. Sensei corrected me saying that I should not step fully coming up on the third kata. I only slide my foot up to my right knee. He was right.

Next time I’ll go to Kendo class.

Day 703:

In Iaido class, I did 3.75 sets of kata. I really had a good day. There were visitors watching. It pushed me to be good.

In Kendo, Sensei asked me to teach the new beginner. It is my turn to teach. I taught her the basics of standing, holding the Sinai, chudan-no-kamae, suri-ashi, and 3-step men. She was really hesitant and timid. Hopefully this will get better.

We stopped with 15 minutes left in class. I should have stepped in for a few ji-geiko matches but I misread the clock. My back seems okay now, but really stiff.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 700-701

Day 700:

I decided not to go to class today because of back pain from my job.

Day 701:

I decided not to go to class today because of back pain from my job.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 698-699

Day 698:

In Iaido class, I completed three sets of kata. Sensei corrected me on the third kata. I was pushing my left foot too far out and then sliding my right foot to match my left foot. This makes me slide too far to the side and going out of my way.

In Kendo class, Sensei taught our beginner. Our other nidan ran the regular class. We had a day of learning to take center and using seme. Kihon drills taught the receiver to resist at first and then give an opening. In was very hot and very humid. The heat index for the day was over 100 degrees. We built in a couple of breaks so people could cool off and get water. We finished with ji-geiko and kiri-kaeshi.

Day 699:

I decided not to go to class today because of back pain from my job.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 696-697

Day 696:

The doctor gave me some medicine and I feel better. Good enough for Iaido class.

In Iaido, my reflexes are dull and my limbs are unsteady. I just barely completed three sets of kata plus a few spare kata.

I did not plan to practice Kendo so I planned to just go home. However, our other nidan did not show up. Sensei needed me to teach our new beginner. Good thing I brought my shinai to class. I took him through lessons of footwork, kihon waza, and answered questions about shinais.

Day 697:

I feel even better. Still, I’ll wait until next week for Kendo.

In Iaido class, I completed three sets of kata. Sensei gave a short lesson about drawing the sword in the third kata. You must put tension in the wrist so the blade springs up to catch the opponent’s attack.

I was told by Sensei that I wouldn’t need to teach. Our other nidan showed up. However, Sensei went to class and asked me to tech again. I repeated the last lesson, except made 2-step men into 1-step men. I also merged footwork and striking. This makes him closer to joining the class. About 2 weeks in and he’s almost ready for kiri-kaeshi.

Next week and I plan to join Kendo. I just hope I don’t overdo it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 694-695

Day 694:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 695:

No class today as I am ill.

Being sick is terrible. Maybe the doctor can help me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 692-693

Day 692:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 693:

No class today as I am ill.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 690-691

Day 690:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 691:

No class today as I am ill.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 688-689

Day 688:

In Iaido class, I completed three sets of kata. I feel better compared to during the tournament.

In Kendo class, we did kihon and then went into what sensei calls “semete” waza. Start at to-maa, kiai, step in, create the opening, and then strike. Each of men, kote, and doh have their own opening. Men-uchi uses a harai-waza of pushing the shinai aside and down. Kote-uchi uses the tricking opening of raising up after asserting sideways pressure. Doh-uchi provokes the uchidachi to strike men. During class, one of our students lodged a huge splinter in his foot. Taking it out caused a large amount of bleeding. Sensei called for a check of the floor and to tape up the problem area.

I was told sensei would be out for an Iaido seminar so I was to teach the next class using the same techniques.

Day 689:

In Iaido class, I completed three sets of kata. No sensei today, so I had to signal the end of class. It felt weird.

In Kendo, I taught the class. One of our shodans offered to lead warm-ups. That was helpful. He was really chatty since the beginners were joining us. I had to silently gesture to speed things up. Reminds me of when I was told the same thing.

In class after kihon, I started in more lecture and practice for semete. I made sure to explain why it worked. Some people were starting already at issokou-no-maai, which is counter to the stepping in. After several rounds of semete, we used it in uchikomi-geiko and kakari-geiko for active practice. Then several rounds of ji-geiko. I even called for one round of dreamlight, but then even I forgot to perform the hiki-waza portion. I guess I don’t like hiki-waza.

At the end of class, I gave a short lecture on the dojo working because we are “Together”. Comraderie and safety were the important points.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 686-687.5

Day 686:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 687:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 687.5 Tournament:

I have arrived at our tournament. I have spent the last week sick and I’m not really recovered. Still, the dojo needs me. I was put in charge of Table A. I spent hours making sure fighters had their ribbons tied and calling out matches. Eventually I had my two matches. I lost both outright. I took my second match into encho so I was at least not useless. It must have been 12 hours since my last meal. I also was too busy setting up the courts to warm up with the others. All day we were running late.

I had a sandwich and chips at lunch with a bottled drink. That should be good enough to finish the day. In our team match, I actually won my match 1-0. We advanced to second round, where we were defeated soundly, as usual. Still, I’m happy enough to win a match today. The first men my second team opponent struck I thought was not right. It was on the very left edge of my skull, not on center. Still, you don’t argue with shinpan. I kinda know how my opponent felt at the tournament before this one. He gave the shinpan a glare but said nothing. I tried an all-or-nothing men attack from to-ma. He countered with a quick men and got me solidly. At the end of the day, I was completely exhausted.

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 684-685

Day 684:

Today I went back to class. I hope I did not push myself too hard and reinjure myself. End of next week is our tournament.

In Iaido class I completed three full sets. No pain yet.

In Kendo class, I was asked to warm up the class. I chose not to do the haya-suburi fully just to be safe. After kihon, we did some kiri-kaeshi and then sensei joined us. He had us do a class to make openings. We practiced step-men, harai-men, harai-kote, osai-men, uchi-komi-geiko (openings), kakari-geiko (no openings), and ji-geiko.

I hope I didn’t push myself too hard. Hamstrings are notorious to re-injure.

Day 685:

In Iaido class, I did 2 full sets and nine kata. Still no pain.

Our other nidan was out today, so I was asked to teach the beginners. Repeating his lessons about walking and 3-step men, I added lessons on two-step men, three-step kote, and two-step kote. I added a few Japanese words to round out the class.

One of the students looked really fatigued at the end. He said he saw black spots. I told him to relax and sit down. After a minute, he was okay.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 680-683

Day 680:

No class today as I am injured.

Day 681:

No class today as I am injured.

Day 682:

No class today because of the holiday.

Day 683:

No class today as I am injured.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 678-679

Day 678:

In Iaido class, our Sensei was ill, so our shodan ran the class. I completed three sets of kata on my own.

In Kendo class, Sensei showed up but was not well. So, he asked me to run the class. This was the perfect opportunity to try the class I designed in my spare time.

I led the stretches, suburi, and kihon. For the waza drills, I was trying to progressively teach to move to the proper maai and then strike. We then did kote-men, kote-kiri-kaeshi-with-tsuki, kote-suriage-men, step-kote, uchi-komi-geiko, men-debana-kote, ippon-shobu, and multiple ji-geiko.

After class, Sensei said he had no advice to give for the day’s lesson, which I interpret to be a good thing.

Day 679:

In Iaido class, I completed 2 sets and 8 kata before the end of class. I had a question about the tsuka-ate of the eighth kata. He said not to adjust the tsuka’s angle, just thrust directly. I guess the point is not necessarily to knock the opponent unconscious; it’s to disrupt their attack.

In Kendo class, it was one of our sensei’s last practice. He was moving away. Today’s class was all about lots of ji-geiko. We had lots of people come to practice with us to see him off.

After we did kihon, we moved right into ji-geiko. We lined up two lines and all went at the same time. That was really tight to try. Two more people stood in with us and we had to shift to having a rotating motodachi line.

I fought against our departing sensei and did very well. I scored a lot of points and felt great. I then had a fight against a visiting sensei and only did okay. I scored a couple of points because he had better center. I did pull a trick of coming to tsuba-zeriai, slowly stepping back while rolling his arms to my right. That opened up his center and I scored a hiki-men. He smiled and was pleased. Then I was asked to step into the motodachi line and I fought a lot of ji-geiko. Against people ranked shodan or lower, I seemed to have a lot of trouble finding the target. I also have trouble trying for debana-kote without dropping my sword and leaving men open.

After class, I complimented Sensei for making us better at Kendo. He complimented me by saying that I made a lot of improvement since he showed up.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 676-677

Day 676:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 677:

In Iaido class today we had no sensei. He was out sick, so our shodan ran the class. There was no group lesson. She spent her time training our lowest ranking Iaidoka. So, I completed three sets of kata and then a couple of stretching exercises to fill the time.

In Kendo class, our other sensei taught the class. Surprisingly, one of our former students showed up today to visit. Our class consisted of the lesson about taking center and then striking when you are at the proper maai. Lots of stepping in and then striking. Taking center by staying on tsuki, ai-men, step-in-men, seme-men, push aside the shinai to strike men, kote-kiri-kaeshi with tsuki, doh kiri-kaeshi-with-tsuki, and then ji-geiko.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 674-675

Day 674:

In Iaido class, we got to practice about 9 kata before Sensei called for a group exercise. As a class we crossed the floor using a vertical cut eight times. Then we did a drill when we did the turn in the sixth kata with the cut. Afterwards, I was so dizzy I almost fell over. Sensei said to lead with the head more to avoid being dizzy. We spent the rest of the class doing kata. I finished my set and half of the next.

In Kendo, our other Sensei did not show up so our other nidan taught the class. He definitely gave this some thought. He wanted a class to teach no hesitation and take center by pushing forward rather than to the side. It was more advanced than the class I would have taught.

We did kihon and lots of low-energy waza to take center. Seme drills, take-center-and-strike, making openings, kote-men, and then ji-geiko.

Day 675:

No class today as I am ill.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 672-673

Day 672:

In Iaido, I was worried about my back. I went carefully but powered through two sets and ten kata. Afterwards, Sensei wanted to have the class go over the final five kata together. That was the end of class. My back feels okay.

In Kendo class, both sensei decided that the class needed time to practice kata. It was decided that half of the class should be decided to focus on kata so I was asked to lead an intense class. To me, intense means lots of repetition. So, we did 5-7-9 of repetitions of kihon, ai-kote-men, uchikomi-geiko, and kote-men. We finished with a single kiri-kaeshi and I had to allow the student in the out spot to practice on me at the end.

I love kata. I got to practice the first seven kata as shidachi. Then we did the shoto kata. We had some trouble from not doing the kata for a while. In the eighth kata, I have to remember that I’m in an exaggerated stance. Very exaggerated like a classic gunfighter stance where my right should is very far forward. In the ninth kata, I am in chudan and must remember to step forward to close space. In the tenth kata, I am in geidan and must step forward during the uchidachi’s attack on my doh. Turning the elbow in both ninth and tenth katas in important to visually show I did it.

Day 673:

In Iaido, I performed one and a half full sets of kata before Sensei decided to have us perform stretches together as a class. We did walking lunges across the floor and then we practiced two sets of the four-way cutting drill. I did have a question to him about the horizontal cut going into the vertical cut in the eleventh kata. I mentioned that others at the seminar were whirling their blades fast, seemingly almost out of control. He mentioned that the scenario is that the opponent is constantly stepping back so you need to keeping attacking without pause. We also talked after class about waki-gamae as a stance. I have apparently been doing it wrong for years and NOBODY has been calling me out on it, not even sensei. I’ve passed three kata-based Kendo exams with wrong footwork. Ugh. You need to turn your back foot only 45 degrees off center and NOT point it backwards like I’ve been doing.

In Kendo class, the other nidan was here today, so it was his turn to teach the class. We did suri-ashi drills, kihon, the harai-kote pressure trick, kakari-geiko, and finished with rounds of ji-geiko.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 670-671

Day 670:

I felt questionable at the start of Kendo class. I was trying to decide if I should go home and not risk injury but both sensei decided I should start teaching classes. I was told to start with keeping the class in 15 minute chunks. Keep each chunk with a certain theme and then move on.

I taught the class with the schedule of suri-ashi, kihon, suriage/harai, and ji-geiko. I was given advice sporadically through class about speaking clearly and only occasionally giving demonstrations. I gave one demonstration about doing a drill on harai-kote. I was praised for the pacing today.

Day 671:

Overall, I’m healing but my left leg is sore. Still, I felt so focused today. I powered through three sets of Iaido and still had time for leftover exercises, such as cutting across the floor and the four-way Maai.

In Kendo, I was asked to teach again. This time I decided to just go right into men-tsuke. We did kihon, seme drills, suriage/harai drills, and then multiple ji-geiko. I got advice form sensei about I always make huge openings before attacking. I should be making smaller, quicker openings. He said I should believe that I can get into smaller openings.

I got positive feedback for the class. The criticisms were that I need to always demonstrate new or unfamiliar drills and also I need to always speak the proper names of the waza. That makes sense. Personally, I think I should start thinking about themes for classes instead of randomly picking waza.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 668-669

Day 668:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 669:

Back to class after being sick and injured. I feel off but I need to go back to class for exercise.

In Iaido class, I did two sets of kata and did well. Even remembered to turn my feet towards my thrusting opponent in the tenth kata. Sensei called myself and another student to show a new student the scenario for the tenth kata. Afterwards, we were done. We finished a few more spare kata and class was over.

In Kendo class, I was behind the others in class with suburi but that’s to be expected. We did several round of kiri-kaeshi and kihon waza. I could feel my strength ebbing with each new drill. After a new drills of men and then ai-men and then kote-men and then finish with ai-kote and men I got some chest pains. That’s my body’s sign for “You’re done”. I completed half of class and sat out the rest. I missed some more hard drills and ji-geiko.

I forgot to pay dues today. There’s a meeting we’ll have later this week so I’ll bring dues then.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 666-667.5

Day 666:

No class today as I am injured.

Day 667:

No class today as I am injured.

Day 667.5 Tournament:

For the tournament, I arranged a carpool with 4 other guys. Even taking into account picking everyone, we arrived on time. This tournament was arranged a little different from the regular schedule I’m used to. They push all the final matches until a long string of matches at the end of the tournament. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. However, it means that shodan-nidan division is before lunch. That’s good.

In my first match, my opponent tried to taunt me before we stepped in by mocking my dojo symbol. In the match, I matched him swing for swing, messing up his attacks, then trying to strike the openings. After a long set of exchanges, I scored a men strike and then the time was up. In my second match, my opponent tried to do some questionable tactics. He would let me try to strike men but counter by grabbing my shinai under his arm and hold it to his body. I chose to let go with the right hand and hold it above my head to block. He eventually scored two men against me.

Lunch was a beef teriyaki and it was good.

Our team went right up against a formidable team of dans that outclassed us at every turn. I fought against someone who was either sandan or yandan. I actually scored a men strike against him but lost the match 2-1. I suppose I could have just ran out the clock but I really felt I was matching him and I tried to win.

The end time of the tournament was delayed for at least an hour from waiting until shinpan were available for fighting in final matches. Ugh. I hope we don’t do that for our tournament. After the tournament was over, we all went out to a steakhouse for a meal. Good thing as I was starving. The trip back went faster than going up. One of the guys wanted to talk about tournament fighting compared to the clean waza we did in the dojo.

The next day, my back was sore and my guts were suffering from a mild case of food poisoning. I think I’ll skip one practice next week to make sure I recover.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 664-665

Day 664:

In Iaido, I completed 3 sets of kata. My back feels okay but I don’t want to overdo it. I remembered to ask about the footwork in the tenth kata. You don’t need to turn your front foot exactly towards the opponent. Keep your feet pointed towards the opponent but offset by about 45 degrees. They’re parallel and turn on the balls of your feet, not heels.

In Kendo class, we started class with kihon. I decided to not push myself too hard to not roll dice against ym injuries. We had a lot of mixed-up waza to keep everyone thinking. Kiri-kaeshi, kote-kiri-kaeshi-with-tsuki, doh-kiri-kaeshi-with-tsuki, men-debana-kote, and then ai-ouchi-men.

We then start a new set of drills. Sensei wanted us to fight like a kyu. So, I wound up obviously and struck men. My partners got beaten a lot until they adapted. Then sensei wanted me to fight like a “good kyu”, which I think means ikkyu. I was faster and started to swing farther away. Finally, we were told to fight normally. The students got better as we kept fighting. Then the dans fought and I pushed myself. Then we all lined up for ippon ji-geiko. I fought against sensei and I struck two good men. However, the first did not have good zanshin. I made sure to take chudan afterwards and he relented.

I hope I didn’t overdo it.

Day 665:

I overdid it.

No class today as I am injured.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 660-663

Day 660:

Today we had another structured class today. We practiced the first 5 kata together. Then we did a pair of practice tests. I got 5:52 and then 5:20. I was actually upset for getting 5:20 for a time. It feels too quick. I tried to space out the kata without being too slow. The act of tying the sageo can cause me trouble.

In Kendo class, the Head Sensei showed up. Wow, nobody saw that coming. Today was more of a day of accuracy rather than hard endurance. There were more lectures about the feel and the seme of the strike. We haven’t had a good lecture and demonstration like that in a long time.

We got lectures on clipping the shoulder of opponents when striking doh, bumping opponents during kiri-kaeshi, and take the space. Some people would find it contradictory to other sensei’s advice of not bumping or clipping your opponent. I know that for lower-ranking students, you’re trying not to hurt them.

I didn’t get any personal advice, so I guess I did okay.

Day 661:

In Iaido class, we had 2 tests. I fumbled my sageo, which gave me a time of 5:52. I decided to try to master it for the second test. Being careful gave me a time of 5:39, which is much better.

I skipped Kendo class out of caution to avoid possible injuries.

Day 661.5 – Iaido Seminar and Testing:

Today was the Iaido seminar I’ve been waiting for a year to attend. At least I didn’t get sick or injured to ruin it all. The format was supposed to be a much better version than last year. The first day was supposed to be half a day of instruction and then the second half was the promotion exam. The second day was supposed to be a half day of tournament with a jodo seminar afterwards.

The day of the seminar went very well. There were many long speeches which made us go over time, but it was very instructional. We did get out on time. I made sure to eat lunch to keep up my strength.

It turns out that a lot of things we did for the past year were wrong.

In the 4th kata, do not raise your kisaki after stabbing the opponent behind you. Just raise the tsuka and then cut. Also, the final cuts for the first 4 kata are not just a tad lower then horizontal. It’s deliberately lower than horizontal.

In the 5th kata, make sure your left hand remains in the center after the cut.

In the 7th kata, be sure you always push seme for the opponent in front of you. I’m glad to see this as I’ve been practicing this for the past year.

In the 9th kata, be sure to touch your right thumb to your hip and only thrust forward a little bit. Grip the sword halfway down the sword. You must bend your left knee, which is wrong. However, grabbing the saya to pull it back corrects you into the right position. Not messing up will not get you to the right stance.

In the 10th kata, you always must turn your feet towards your current opponent. Do not stand with feet sideways. The forward foot should face your opponent and the back foot must be about 45 degrees off.

The test went well. I really brought the seme to compensate for how sticky the floor was.

The tournament was a lot like last year. I was up early and got soundly defeated. No flags. Then I was done for the day. It’s a waste to compete. I think I may skip it next year. Although I did have a weak first cut but I brought it back by the end.

By the end of the seminar I had multiple injuries. Sprains, pulled muscles, headache, and fatigue. Even sitting down doesn’t get rid of the pain totally.

Day 662:

No class today as I am injured.

Day 663:

No class today as I am injured.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 658-659

Day 658:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 659:

In Iaido class, we started off free form. I completed 2 sets of Iaido. Afterwards, we had another test. We did 1-3-6-9-11 instead of the first 5 kata. My time was 5:32. Darn it, I tried to slow down. I got to remember to slow down more, especially after the cut.

In Kendo class, we had a hard day of kihon at first. Over and over it was kihon waza. I had decided to stop halfway through to keep myself from overburdening my health. However, I kept going.

We did some good drills, like step-seme-men as well as the step-respond-with-anything drill. We finished with several rounds of ji-geiko. Today’s lesson was getting ready for testing and promotion exams later in the year.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 656-657

Day 656:

Today was a normal, regular day of kata. I completed three sets of kata.

In Kendo, we had a hard day. We did kihon in pairs. One person does two men-ouchi and then the other person does men-ouchi. Then you repeat as many times as sensei called. I like this one. Catching breath and keeping it lively. We had more ji-geiko. Afterwards, I was told by sensei to start being more definite in my setup.

Day 657:

Today we had more testing. I completed 1.75 kata and then did 2 tests. I averaged 5:36 because I was speeding up the cutting and rei-hou. I need to slow down and not skip the 2 breaths before the first kata.

Today was a hard day of Kendo. One of the sensei did not show up, so I was asked to start the class with kiri-kaeshi and kihon. Afterwards, sensei had us do some oji-waza. I was out of breath and tired to the point of collapse. I had decided to step out after a few more rounds, only to have sensei want to practice hiki-waza, which is less demanding. I was able to catch my breath by the time we had ji-geiko.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 654-655

Day 654:

No class today because of the weather.

Day 655:

Today we had a structured Iaido class. We practiced the first 4 kata together. Afterwards, we had two practice tests. I nailed my standard times. First was 5:46 and then after it was 5:44. The advice from sensei was to be more swift and smooth for drawing and cutting, and then slowly on the post cut and zanshin.

In Kendo, we had a hard practice to compensate for missing practices. We did several rounds of kiri-kaeshi, kihon, and debana-waza.

We then did some Kendo kata. I paired with my fellow nidan. We practiced the first seven kata and I was uchidachi. We both messed up the sixth kata. It’s been forever since we practiced. Then we tried to practice the shoto kata. We completely forgot the katas. We even forgot the rei-hou for having both swords. We need to read up on the kata and try again.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 652-653

Day 652:

No class today as I am ill.

Day 653:

We had another structured Iaido class today. I did a full set of kata by myself, then we practiced the first three kata as a class. I like doing that. We also did that stretch where you mimic the first kata without sliding forward. Front, right, behind, left, repeat. Then I did a set of kata by myself.

I wasn’t feeling well since last practice, so I stopped for the day.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 650-651

Day 650:

Today I was distracted again. My mind kept wandering. Still, I completed three sets of kata just in time. Sensei was right about Iaido makes your mind wander.

In Kendo, we worked on kihon and then some bokutou-kihon-waza. We pracied the first four kata with bokken and then moved itno performing the same thing with shinai and bogu. Kihon, kote-men, harai-men, and the men-tai-atari-hiki-doh.

Day 651:

Iaido had one of our rare structured classes! We worked on the first three kata together as a group. It was great. I liked practicing together instead of individually. After several iterations, I finished a full set by myself.

Today was a hard day in Kendo. I didn’t feel well all day. My chest felt tight all morning and even at practice. Still, I pushed on. After kihon, we had a lecture about good footwork. We then had a hard day of practice. Kiri-kaeshi, men-kote-doh-ouchi, kote-men-ouchi, harai-men-ouchi, kote-kote-men-ouchi.

Then we had a rare open-ji-geiko. We had to fight at least four different people before finishing. After a while, I felt like one of the sensei in free practice after a tournament. Students would line up to fight me. I finished fighting four students and then received kakari-geiko from a beginner with no bogu.

The entire second half of practice today was done on the ragged edge of health. I could feel how close to collapse I was but I managed my energy well and finished class. I should relax this weekend.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 648-649

Day 648:

No class today because of the weather.

Day 649:

Today we showed up to the dojo to see it already occupied by some other group. They had chairs and a projector like a class was going to happen. After calling our club president to talk to the association, we got the space. We lost enough time that Iaido class was only long enough for 1.5 sets of kata.

In kendo class, we did suburi and kihon. Lots of kihon. We did men-ouchi, kote-ouchi, and doh-ouchi over and over. After that, we moved into harai-men and choose-you-own-waza drills. We practiced several rounds of kakari-geiko and ji-geiko to finish.

I feel well now. Much better than last week. The rest I got recharged my energy. The practice tasked me just enough for a workout.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 646-647

Day 647:

I got to Iaido class very early. Still, I was really distracted. It got all balanced out since I completed 3 sets of Iaido by the end.

In Kendo, we had an easy class. Our new student joined us today. We did a lot of fumi-komi drills to work up to basic men drills. We also did a few drills to sync up our arms and legs, including the ogami-men drill where you bend your elbows to raise your shinai up to your face and then try for quick men.

We finished with multiple rounds of ji-geiko and kiri-kaeshi.

Day 648:

No class today because I am ill.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 644-645

Day 644:

In Iaido, my thumb is a little better. Stretching it works slowly but surely. Sensei has started training with a new student. I accomplished 3 sets of kata without any real pain.

In Kendo class, after suburi I noticed that my left big toe is sprained. It really hurts when I turn either left or right. I spent the practice not using any real powerful footwork. We practiced a lot of suriage waza. We need to begin moving sooner to strike better. During ji-geiko, I got struck by students on the right arm and elbow several times. The joys of being higher ranking, I suppose.

Day 645:

No class today as I am injured.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Beginner's Point of View 642-643

Day 642:

Well, it’s back to practice. My thumb is stiff but not painful. Time to work it back into shape. For Iaido class, I got 3 sets of kata done but I was really wobbly on the draw for the first three kata. My thumb isn’t used to the weight of the sword.

In Kendo class I had no problems. I could do suburi and kihon just fine. When pushing myself during higher waza suach as kote-suriage-men, I kinda partially-sprained my left big toe, but not very much. It’ll be fine by the end of the week.

I had a good time with keiko with the dojo. The students really needed to recover from the holiday break by striking openings and I like to be able to try the advanced techniques such as men-kaeshi-doh. I nearly tripped on the stair again. Tapping my heel against the step gave me a sensory flashback to the pain of the original injury. That shook me for the rest of class.

Day 643:

Today was better for Iaido. My thumb is slowly getting better from the exercise. I completed 3 sets of kata and was not quite as wobbly.

In kendo class, we started by doing the first 6 kata of the bokutou kinhon kata. The senseis said we were going to dedicate 2 nights per months to include the kata so lower-ranking students could be prepared for the promotion exams that will start by the end of the year. The rest of class went well. We practiced men0nuk-doh and my toe is getting better, too.