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.