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.