Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm still here!

I'm just letting ya know that I am still here. I just haven't had the time to type up new posts until recently.

I have had a hell of a time though. The final project for my Aircraft design class was hell up to the final minute and it's still hell wondering what grade I got. We have done all that we could in the limited time that we have, but our plane costed $9.7 Trillion and weighed 5 million pounds. Something went wrong with the calculations, and everything was correct.

On the Kendo side of things, I had to miss the last few practices due to the final project. I need to do something Kendoey or I will end up pretty rusty by time I get back to Purdue next month. I did just buy a suburito and a keikogi and hakama since I wanted to take advantage of the sale that E-bogu is having now. I'll let you guys know how it feels and stuff later since this will be my first cotton hakama and my keikogi is the special whicking layer one.

On a final note, I have decided to try better to build up my website. What I have now is nothing, and I want to get more game reviews and kendo stuff up ASAP. If you have any ideas, then let me know.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Last Practice Before the Tournament

Well, this is it. This is the last practice before the MWKF tournament in La Crosse, WI. I made sure that I gave it my all this time!

First, I made sure that I arrived early so that I could get a chance to practice some kata before practice. As said before, I think that I have ipponme and nihonme down, but it's sanbonme that I need to work on. After working a little on it, I think that I have it somewhat down...or at least to the point where any improvements would do little help on my performance.

Practice was the normal fare with the extra weight (read: double shinai) suburi at the beginning of practice. The real fun began once we were working on waza. Overall, I felt that I got some good speed this time around. With that in mind, I'd like to have that carry over to my jigeiko sometime :).

I learned a new waza today where we take the shinai and turn in clockwise or counterclockwise to get the opponent's shinai out of the way for a good attack. Of course I was confused at first since it is new to me after all. I do know that I need to work on the effectiveness of my movements by speeding up and shrinking the circle that is made. I wish I knew this before this practice so I could use it effectively in shiai.

At the end, we did some 1 minute jigeiko. I wasn't at my full potential since we were on the stage. I got some hits in, but people were able to make some multiple hits on me since I was hardly able to move without bumping into someone. Maybe if we did do it like a real shiai then I would have done better. Ah well, there is no use complaining now since practice is over and I did give it my all despite the space constraints.

Well, I am getting pretty tired now. I hope to do well at this tournament and the ranking and I wish the same for all that are participating. Good night and good luck everyone!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Very short practice

There was an extra practice today for those that are going to the tournament. I would have liked to stay for the whole thing, but school got in the way. I only stayed for the first hour, and in that hour, we did kata.

I feel that I got ipponme and nihonme down (at least for someone of unranked level). There are still a few things that I would like to work out though to make sure that everything is correct.

The main problem that all of us are having is with sanbonme. It's really easy to think about the movements outside of practice, but you have to remember while you are doing it (duh!). My main issue is remembering what foot to start off with in the uchidachi position. I know the footwork, but the other half of the battle is to tell your body to move in the way that it should.

For the uchidachi footwork, you are supposed to do a sliding step forward and then step back with the right foot first. Last Sunday, a friend of mine told me that the best way to remember is to think of being so shocked that you are getting attacked that you step back with the wrong foot. It really helps in getting me to start out with the kata. After the initial two steps, I am supposed to once again move back starting out with my left foot. This is easier to remember for me, but it's still a bit of trouble.

As for the bokken movements, I have a problem with holding the shinai too high. Because of this, I can't really parry all that well. As long as I remember to hold the shinai a little lower by the left hand, I should be able to get around the shinai easier.

I really hope that I can get this down soon. I am thinking about this every 5 minutes. I do plan on getting to practice early on Thursday so I can get some more kata practice in a wide enough space (apartments just don't do it for me). I will make sure I get this before the testing.

After working on kata, that is when I had to leave. Now I am sitting in front of a computer doing homework which is going over better than expected. At this rate, I will be able to study for my Differential Equations exam on Friday :).

Anyways, I better go now since I have to finish my Structures class Pre-lab about biaxial stress and strain (oohh, fun!...not!!!)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tough Kendo Practice

Tonight was a very tough kendo practice. As usual, I arrive early and everyone else arrives late. So to pass the time, I did kata for a few seconds and did a few suburi before I started stretching. Just before I finished the stretching, Ozan came in so now we were going to commence with practice (I would have started doing my own thing anyways since I was there for Kendo because I missed the previous week).

We started the practice with suburi. Ozan let me use his suburito this time to get a feel for what it is like. It is certainly much heavier than a conventional shinai, I must say. As a replacement, he just used another shinai to get almost equal weight. Anyways, we did every suburi except for katate with the extra weight. The last suburi was the one that I was waiting for...drumroll please...haya-suburi. What we usually do is do 100 with the extra weight and then 50 more with a normal shinai. While the benefit of it feeling lighter is there, I am too exhausted after the first hundred to really get the feel for it. This time, though, we did another set of 100 with heavy weights and another 50 with the normal shinai. That sure got my blood pumping. Let's just say that I was glad that I drank water throughout the day or I would have not survived those.

After the suburi, that is when more people started to come in. We put on our bogu to procede with the rest of the practice after the others were ready to start. We spent the following 45 minutes on many different waza like men, kote-men, men hiki-dou, and some suriage.

The suriage gave me the most trouble. It's fine and dandy when you are just doing the exercise with the other person standing there, but it's another story when the other person is coming in for the strike. The timing and strength had to be there, which wasn't there in my case. Ah well, I got many many years to practise that stuff.

Also, dou is giving me trouble. I don't know if it's just bad aiming, lack of confidence, or fear of giving a missed hit on the person, but it's my worst waza. Most likely it's a combination of the three, so I'll work on the confidence first since everything else is pretty much built on that.

The last thing we did in class was keiko and kakari-geiko. I could definately use some work, but I did fight with some pretty advanced people in the Dan ranks (the highest one there was third Dan). I feel like I can get the kote more effectively, but that fact shall be realized once I go to a tournament.

Speaking of tournament, I do plan on attending the MWKF (Mid-western Kendo Federation) Kendo Tournament in LaCrosse, WI. I plan on participating and testing for ikkyu there. I can't wait to go! I'll have to check my exam schedule to make sure that none of them fall on the following Monday, but I can just study early so I am not cramming for it when I get back. I feel that I have improved enough to have some small grain of chance of doing well at the tournament (not against higher ranks of course). Either way, I am there to show my best Kendo spirit, have fun, and meet people.

Since I am testing, I do plan on making sure that I know whatever I can about shiai so I am better prepared for it. Knowing the terms, basic rules and ettiquite are really important so I just want to be able to do what is right. Besides, the examiners are most likely watching me long before the exam, so I better do the right things or else I can possibly fail before I even take the exam. Of course, they won't know me right off the bat, but because I am one of very few black people that do Kendo, I stick out like a sore thumb. They can glance at me at the tournament on Saturday and then see me the next day at the exam and remember my actions of the previous day.

Well, I bid farewell for tonight! I hope to see many people (especially Kendo World personalities) at the tournament and testing. I also wish those that are also testing for rank good luck in your studies. Well, I'm off to do more homework!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Good News!!

I saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geiko!!

Just kidding...But I do have good news though.

I was helping check tickets at the Purdue vs. Iowa game on Saturday and I accidentally left my cell phone in the jacket that I was wearing. Luckily, the guy called me back when I called my cell phone so I have it back now. I was so afraid that my parent's would kill me if I lost the cell phone!

Another good thing is now I have been paid...I just need to pick up my check. For some reason, I was skipped over when they ran the paychecks. I went to the payroll office and they had my timecard and everything so I just blame this on a clerical error. Everything has been fixed so there are no more problems...hopefully.

And now for something Kendo related. I had a dream last night that I got a cotton Hakama (although it felt more like very soft wool). I was so happy cause I really want one, but I think that I can get more time out of what I have now. But to my dissappointment, I woke up to the reality of only having a tetron one. Well, I can always just buy one when I get the money. I want to treat myself to something special once I reach ikkyu. So it shall be between a new uwagi/hakama set or a Carbon fiber shinai...any suggestions?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricane Rita

After pretty much my entire family getting displaced from Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans last month, now another hurricane is devistating the area. Now it's Rita's turn.

So far, the track is headed for Houston where my sister is located. Luckily, she has a place to go for the time being. I just hope that the hurricane doesn't delay her graduation since she is set to graduate this summer.

Also, all of my best wishes go out to those that live in the western Gulf Coast area. I hope that all of you make it out alive and are able to rebuild quickly. This has got to be the worst year on record for Hurricanes in the United States.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

More Kendo Practice stuffs

I should have posted this a long time ago, but I guess it's best to have it up here now than not to have it up at all.

Well, Kendo practice is in full swing this year. There are a LOT more people around this year than there was last year. At last week's practice, there were 11 people, 10 of us in bogu. The only person who didn't have bogu with him left his at home in Germany. I hope he is able to get a set soon so we can have a full on practice with little restriction.

For the suburi exercises, since none of us have suburito, we had to do haya-suburi 100 times with 2 shinais in our hands. After that, we did 50 more with only one. I must say, it sure took a lot out of me. It's really hard to keep up since I get tired around the 10th suburi. I have never had to swing so much weight around before in my life and here I am doing my best to keep up. After finishing the 100, and did the 50 the normal way, the shinai felt much lighter. But I was so tired from the previous 100 that it was still hard to keep up. It goes to show you that new variations on exercises can show you just how far you have to go until you can become really great at Kendo!

After the suburi, we all put on our bogu. We did exercises like kirikaeshi, kakari-geiko and variations on different hitting techniques. I am quite rusty from not doing them over the past 3 months, but I am getting better as time goes on. These exercises were done with great intensity and really forced me to keep my spirits up as I tried my best.

Then we ended in jigeiko. Due to the lack of time, I only got to fight once, but I think I did better than I have done before. The evidence in this is that I didn't get so tired all the time and I didn't stay too long in taiatari so much. I hope that I can go to practice this Thursday or I will have to skip the next two thursday practices due to classes :(.

Overall, the practice was nothing but greatness. It actually felt more like a Kendo practice since I was giving it my all the whole time and there were so many new faces there. I hope that they all stay cause it is nice to get a different experience in jigeiko (whenever I get the chance to fight against them).

Now, I just need to make sure I am ready to make ikkyu this fall...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Great News!!!!

I called my mother yesterday to ask about the remaining family members that I haven't heard from since Katrina. Well, everyone is well and accounted for. I am currently counting my blessings many times since EVERYONE made it out alive. We are one lucky family for that to have happened.

Of course, there is that air of sorrow that the city that was once known for Mardi Gras, the French Quarter and its casinos now has been changed into one of anarchy and water. My prayers go out to those that are still in the city waiting for help and those that have missing family members that they still haven't found.

My biggest hope of all is that the world doesn't think that black people are savages. Despite the scenes of looting and shootings and such, we are not all savages. Most people are just trying to get the necessary items while a greedy few are the ones looking for Jewelry, Televisions, and video game systems. Just remember that the media tends to slant things quite a bit. I know who I am and I know who my race is, we are just like any other human out there. Besides, people of other races would do the same thing if there was no acting government in the city to punish them and stores remained uninhabited.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

First Kendo Practice of the Year + Katrina

I am pretty sure that most of you have heard by now, but Hurricane Katrina has devistated the Gulf Coast to the likes of no other in the history of this country. Unfortunately, I have family that have been involved with this. The good news is that most of my family made it out before the storm. Some are staying with my parents in Georgia and others are staying in Houston with my sister as well as the astrodome.

This news really sucks cause it's tough to realize that something that your memories are being taken over by the water that has been flooding the city. All we know is that New Orleans will never be the same again.

This also brings me to another point, a lot of people have been saying that they don't feel sorry for those that live in a disaster-prone area. Well, let me say this. Some people don't have a choice where they live. Whether it's money problems, job commitments, or family concerns, people have a reason to be there. If it was so easy to up and move, many people would be moving across the country every day.

On a lighter note, I start Kendo again today! I can't wait to start up again and once again resume training. I hope to redevelop my Kendo soon cause I know I am very rusty!

Sorry I had to make it short, but I am a little short on time. I had plans to take care of all these things, but sometimes, things take longer than expected.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Future Kendo Plans

I had this in the previous post, but due to posting problems, I was only able to salvage what you see in the previous post.

I wanted to discuss me thinking about my future in Kendo. I see myself doing this until the day my body will not let me do it anymore. I know that I have found my art. I look at forums, I watch videos, and I also pay attention to my own Kendo in hopes of improvement of myself. All I know is that there is no stopping now!

I have a few cosmetic plans. They aren't too important (except for one), but it's something that I like to keep in mind once my credit limit increases and I make more money. For one thing, I would like to buy zori, but I might wait until I go to a seminar for that as sort of a traveling gift. I also have plans on getting better quality kendogi, hakama, and bogu. I can use the set I have now until they are not fit for practice or sell them second-hand to someone looking for a cheap set. I can make or buy a stand for my old bogu set and use it for suburi practice when I don't have a human person to hit on. The one cosmetic thing that is important is having a place to train. I assume that the regular rooms in my future house may not be sutible for Kendo training, so I do have plans on making an addition to the house or a seperate shed or something so I can do training there without having to worry about places to train. I want spring floors, suitible for Kendo as well as high celings and proper ventilation. As far as decoration, I guess I can get posters, wallhangers, flowers and some paint to give it the "Kendo" atmosphere. I might have other uses for this place as well, but only time will tell.

Of course, I can't get better just by buying bigger and better things. I have thought beyond the clothes. I would love to bring friends over for some friendly jigeiko sometime if they accept the invitation. If I do come through with the addition to the house, then things will only get better. But I wouldn't mind going outside to do some training as well, since I also want to expand the knowledge of Kendo to others that may not be familiar with the art. My goal is to also get to a position where I can teach people Kendo. I can do a little teaching, but it wouldn't be as good due to the fact that I am still new to Kendo and I haven't seen enough great cuts to know what a good one looks like. But once I do get to the rank where it is acceptable for teaching, I shall take that opportunity to volunteer to do so. Once I retire, I could take it up full-time. Passing on my knowledge to others would be one of the greatest honors for me.

To get to that point, I would like to read more material by subscribing to Kendo World Magazine for the long haul and buying videos to study. I would also like to attend the seminars. I haven't read too much on it, but I have heard that they are really fun. If I could do it next summer, I might go for it.

I do see the bill that I would be footing for all of this, but I usually feel better if I don't think about the total price and look at them one at a time.

Edit: I see that I have repeated the first paragraph from my first post, but that shouldn't be a big issue, right?

Finally, a post about Kendo!

I did some Kendo training yesterday on my own. I wanted to write about it then, but the internet was out all night due to a terrible storm passed by that is oh so common in the south due to heat and humidity.

Anyways, during my training, I did some deeper thinking while I was doing my suburi. While I was doing katate suburi, I payed much more attention to my footwork and I noticed that my movements became stronger and my feet stayed straighter as a result. While my footwork became stronger, my suburi could use some work as it was a little wobbly. I could say that it is because I was only swinging with my left hand, but I should have it swinging straight as if my right hand was there...or at least that is my goal.

I wanted to do shomen suburi, but I ran into some trouble there. I was doing just fine but my wrist started bothering me when I was doing it. So that I wouldn't damage my wrist, I decided to stop there. But when I was doing what I could, I did make note to swing with my left hand exclusively as if my right hand wasn't there. I did a few slow practice swings before doing the exercise so that I can get the feel of it. After that I did a few swings concentrating on the feeling I got with the slow swings until my wrist started bothering me. After that, I watched the DVD that came with my Kendo World Magazine at some of the matches that were on it, then finished it off with a few episodes of Love Hina.

I have also been thinking about my future in Kendo. It is definately something that I would like to do until the day that my body tells me that I cannot practice anymore. But beyond that, I thought about how I would practice and how I would improve. There were a few material things involved like buying zori and a better kendo-gi and bogu set :), but I did think beyond that. One thing that I would like to do is make a written Kendo journal, maybe starting at shodan since it is considered the true beginning of one's Kendo journey. But I have also thought about making one now and then starting anew once I do hit shodan, that way I can look back and see myself during the kyu days. I could keep typing here, but there just seems to be less personality when I am typing stuff online. I also feel that computer information can be easily lost in the future, becoming extremely hard to find, even if you forget one letter in the url or filename in the archives hidden deep in the computer. At least a written one will allow me to easily go back to a bookcase and read it immediately.

I also have ideas for cross training. Because I have easy access to a gym, I plan on starting once I go back to school. I plan on trying out some suppliments to build about 10-20 lbs of muscle. I don't want to get too muscular cause I don't want it to impede my Kendo progress, not to mention I don't really plan on being too muscle-bound. I also have plans of running and doing more DDR to help with cardiovascular strength. I also have plans to alter my diet to make me more healthy. I want to do more research on this so I don't waste any time with no gain. If any of you have any ideas on physical training, feel free to send your suggestions my way.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Quitting Job and New Kendo Resolution

Well, as the month of comes to a close and August shows up, thoughts of going back to Purdue come up. In light of that, I have put in my two weeks notice in at Malibu. While the work can get hectic at times, I really enjoy working with the people there. We are just one crazy bunch of people! If I don't get an internship next year, then I will definately try to get in there again!

As far as Kendo goes, I have made a resolution. In light of the Chicago Taikai that will be happening in October (I think), I have decided to work harder on increasing my Kendo competency. I plan on doing this by practicing harder once I get back to school and reading up on the books that I have so I will be more knowledgeable about Kendo and shiai. I also want to make sure that I am ready to take my ikkyu exam if things go nicely. If any of you have any tips on preparing for the ikkyu exam, or any promotion exam in general, you can send them my way. I just want to make sure that I am ready for anything that will happen and adapt to things that I don't expect.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Being Organized is Great!

I finally got a book case to put all of my books and games on. I put it up last night. There is nothing like a bit of organization to see how much stuff you really have, huh?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Kendo World Magazine!

I finally got my Kendo World magazine in the mail a few days ago. I haven't read too much of the book yet, but from what I have read, I am quite impressed by it. The articles are well written and the ads that they do have in there are few, small, and relevent to the topic at hand...Kendo. I might put up a more full review after I finish it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Kendo Training

Today, I have decided to do 2 remarkable things (at least in my eyes).

1. I have read the Kendo World forums about "freedom kendo." For those that don't know what that is, it is when you wear the dogi without wearing any undergarments. Some say it's more comfortable, some do it because of tradition.

As a result, I decided to give it a try. I must say, it does feel different, but not much probably because I am wearing a tetron hakama. That material isn't very breathable. I wouldn't mind doing it again, or from now on though since the air I did feel was pretty refreshing. I have yet to try it with real practice though, but I plan on doing it soon.

For those that haven't tried it, I suggest you give it a shot as well. As they always say, you never know until you try. For those that are a bit on the shy side, you can always just do it at home and make your own personal preferences there.

2. I decided to practice on my own outside today. I did 50 of each of the basic suburi and I also worked a bit on kirikaeshi and fumikomi and the small men strike (I should mention that all of these are a bit harder without a partner).

All I gotta say is that I need to do some more practicing to build up my strength after about a month of not doing Kendo. I also need to do some running or something to build up cardiovascular strength since the haya-suburi was quite difficult.

For the specifics on what I need to work on, I definately need a more stable left wrist. I did katate suburi and my shinai was all over the place. I'd count footwork, but I was on a slope in the grass so I really don't know what to say about that. I also need to relax more. Cause exhaustion comes easier when you are tense when doing suburi.

As far as joining Kendo, I couldn't go last saturday cause I just happened to have to work at that time. I guess I'll just have to try calling in again to see what I need to do. I want to join as soon as possible.

Friday, June 10, 2005

New Job plus Kendo dojo hopeful

After 2 days of orientation, I finally begin my job at Malibu Grand Prix. I will be working in the game room with the arcade machines...and the children. I wonder how this job will be once the fact that I am working starts to settle in.

Also, I went to the Georgia Kendo Alliance last night. I sat in for a while then asked one of the people there about joining. Although they told me to come back tomorrow to talk to the person who could get me in, it wasn't a total loss. Seeing people practice after weeks of downtime just got the Kendo spirit flowing in me again. I plan on going tomorrow if I don't have to work at that time. If not, then I should be able to go next week.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Quiet returns to the house

It has been an interesting end to the week. The dog is finally quiet. She'll periodically get up and start barking again, but she sounds very hoarse and she would just sit down and go to sleep a few minutes later. It's surprising how much more sweet she gets when she is quiet.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to practice Kendo today per se since the dog's barking throughout the day was nonstop. I eventually went to the Mall of Georgia to get a Cinnabon just to get out of the house and away from the barking. I also looked for some more Kendo books to buy, but haven't found any that I didn't already have. I guess the internet will have to be the best source for now.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

First blog post, yay!

This is my first post on this blog. But I at least have something to write about today.

After turning in countless applications over the past month after school ended, I finally have a job! It's at Malibu Grand Prix which is an amusement place with an arcade, miniature golf, and go-carts. What is surprising is that my interview was less than 9 hours ago. Either way, I am happy to be part of the work force and getting money. I start next week.

I have also done some changes to my website. It's still up an coming and this is my first website so it isn't really much of anything at all. For now, you can access it here here. If you have any criticisms, feel free to send them my way. I can always use the advice of experiences web designers.

As far as Kendo, I still haven't been able to go down to the Georgia Kendo Alliance. I blame it on my laziness and utter lack of using an organizer of sorts. I just don't feel my life is busy enough to warrant that now. Anyways, until I join the GKA, I will practice what I know on my own and train my body so I can be better prepared for the challenges that await me.
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