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?
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