Tuesday, December 26, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

We still have a few days left until the end of the year, but I think that it's still a nice time to go over what my New Year's Resolutions are. Of course, these resolutions are meant to be broken so I see these more of as goals to achieve throughout the year. With the end of my college life coming soon, this would be a great time to improve my quality of life by changing a few things in my life for the better. Well, here they are.

My goal this year is to reduce the amount of Cs and Ds on my transcript to zero. My last two semesters haven't been all that great so I really need to step up my game so I can graduate on time. I feel like I was on the ball though by doing homework in Grissom Hall so I was able to get more homework done than if I were to stay in the dorm room. I need to get off of my lazy ass and go somewhere outside of the room to get homework done so I can reduce the thursday all-nighters and spend more time with Kendo (more on that coming soon).

The largest time waster in my life is the internet. It is so easily accessible these days as just about every computer you walk up to has internet access of some kind. I sometimes spend so much time on the internet that I run out of things to look at and then go to websites that I have already visited hoping for new information or threads to show up. I know for a fact that I could get so much more done by spending less time on the internet. I am not talking about totally cutting myself off from the internet or making a goal of only spending 30 minutes a day on the internet, but I could use the downtime to get many more useful things done in my life.

My goal is to practice more Kendo this year. I feel like I am stagnant in my training so I need to spend some extra time outside of practice doing suburi, sitting in seiza (can't do that enough), working on kata and doing footwork. I could make a goal that I could practice every day but that doesn't seem realistic enough as some aspects of my life is pretty unpredictable. As a result, I just would to at least just add more outside practice until I can find a happy medium from the rest of my life. I also want to do better in the next tournament and last a bit longer and maybe even place if I improve enough. I could go on and on about what I want to do and stuff but the stuff I typed earlier is the gist of it.

I would like to get out of my shell and spend some more time with the online gaming. I get discouraged when I am always placed against people that cheat or have years more experience than I do but I can't let that stop me. Online gaming is the future and I really need to embrace it if I plan on gaming for the rest of my life. My wish is to find a few friends that I can play against from time to time just to have some sort of "safe haven" when I need to get away from the crappy people that flood the intertubes. I also want to beat more games this year. I buy games but I hardly finish them due to waning interest and time. This will be hard if I plan on doing the above things as they can take more time, but it's a goal nonetheless.

Despite me not being in a Japanese class anymore, I still want to improve my Kanji and vocabulary knowledge in the Japanese language. Of course, I can only do this by reading stuff, contacting japanese pen pals, and participating in Japanese forums.

Job Outlook
My goal this year is to get an internship this summer. My grades might bar me from getting one, but I can't let that stop me. If I apply to 50 different companies, there has to be one that will hire me for the summer and possible permanent employment. I will just have to do some massive searching online for engineering companies and send off my stuff. I'll go pretty much anywhere though I hope that I will be within an hour's distance from a Kendo dojo.

This is really all I could think of right now, but the list might increase later. Of course, these goals aren't set in stone so anything can change. So, what are your resolutions for this year?

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Well, Christmas has come and gone so I guess I will spend this time to show off what I got and ask for a small suggestion.

Here is what I got for Christmas
- Wireless Router
- Wii carrying case
- 13 month XBOX Live Gold card
- Final Fantasy XII
- Ookami (狼 - Just wanted to have a little fun with the title :))
- Trauma Center: Second Opinion
- Rainbow Six: Vegas
- Burnout Revenge

Okay, now here's what I want to ask of you guys. It will be hard to play all 5 games at the same time so I want to choose one at a time before I move on to the next game. I am sort of going back and forth on this as to what I want to concentrate on first so I just want to ask you guys what you think I should concentrate on and why I should do so.

I have spend a little time on each game and I think that these should keep me entertained for a while, on and off line. In the case of XBL, I can't find a long ethernet cable for less than $10. Therefore, I probably won't be able to play for another two weeks. I also don't have the headset so I can't even talk to anyone if I wanted to, lol.

Update: I think I will try to settle down with Ookami first and move on from there. Though I still wouldn't mind hearing of your opinions about my choices of games, XBL challenges or whatnot.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Kendo Match Video

After months of trying, I finally was able to post my Kendo team match video on Youtube. This was during the team matches at the Midwestern Kendo Federation (MWKF) tournament in Chicago on October 28, 2006. I do lose this match and there are some glaring problems that I really want to fix by the next tournament. But contructive criticism is always appreciated. By the way, I am the one in the white tag.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

World Kendo Championships

If you haven't seen the results yet, click here to see them.

Well, the 13th World Kendo Championship (WKC) has come and gone. But there seems to have been quite a stir within the Kendo community about the results. This time around, the Japanese men's team came in third behind Korea, which took first, and the USA which took second. Before I begin the rest of this entry, I would like to hand out a congradulations to team USA for doing a fine job in representing this country. You guys have made the Kenshi here very proud.

For the uninitiated, the reason why the results are so important is because Japan didn't get first place as predicted by many people. This would be comparable to the US losing to Japan at American football. Of course, we should look at this as a learning experience and not one of those "in your face" things that occur in many competitive sports.

In the Kendo world, it is known that the Japanese have much better opportunities to be good at Kendo. There are more practices (some places might have more than one practice a day over several days of the week) and a MUCH larger pool of great people to fight against. In other places in the world, you would consider yourself lucky to be living in an area that is even a 1 hour drive from a Kendo dojo. It's considered a very special occasion when a Japanese sensei visits a dojo to the point of doing whatever is in ones power to make their stay as pleasant as possible.

The question that we all should be asking is why didn't Japan win like expected every tournament? When we put Japan and Kendo together, we think of them as being untouchable. Of course, there is no one answer to this, but the possibilities are things that we could take with us in our individual lives, inside and outside of Kendo.

There was a saying that I heard a while back. I don't remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of winning too much would cause loss in the end. What it was saying is that winning too much could cause too much confidence in oneself. When you think you are invincible, you don't train yourself as much and you lose sight of the competition who are thinking of ways to trounce the top dog. You could accuse Japan of doing this as they usually come out on top so they feel that they could get any group together and be able to trounce the competition. This reflects badly on the team in question (could be any team of course) as the overconfidence will eventually bite them in the end.

Then there is also the desire to win that has something to do with it. As we all know, if you put your mind to something, you can do just about anything that you set out to do. If you want to win and you train yourself as hard as you can, then you will eventually get to your goal. It could take 1 extra try or 100 extra tries, but it would happen eventually. For years, the USA felt inferior to the Japanese in terms of Kendo finesse. Of course, we have the desire to do the best with what we have but, compared to Japan, the Kendo opportunities are quite small. I'm not saying that Japan didn't want to win, but the drive to win might not have been as strong as other places as they have the good stuffs so to speak. The intense training of team USA and the desire to do the best they can could have had an effect on how well they did, even if Japan had the same intent.

I won't go into too much detail with this one as it's self explanitory. But sometimes, people have bad days. Unfortunately, the bad day for team Japan happened to be on the day of the competition. There really isn't much you can do about that but go along for the ride as fate takes you along.

Does this discredit the Japanese for their prowess in Kendo? Of course not. While they didn't get first place, they still ranked among the top countries in the world namely, Japan, USA and Korea. They still have the same amount of Kenshi available and the same tenacity at practicing Kendo. The only difference is that they got third this time. You must also keep in mind that Japan still did very well as this is only the men's team division that this happened to. What this does mean is that we should stop looking at Japan as the invincible person and just strive to do our best. The USA is full of good kenshi and we need to just keep our efforts to remain a strong force in the Kendo world.

Please keep in mind that I am not saying that these are actual reasonings. These are just some ideas that I came up with after the surprising results. I'm not Japanese, I don't know anyone from team Japan or USA nor am I psychic. For all I know, Japan could have chosen the best team that they had and had a very strong intent on winning. Sometimes, things happen and things turn out the way they do because of those events.

The next WKC should be set to be done in 2009. I think it's supposed to be in Brazil, but I am not sure about that. All I know is that I should make plans on being there. I will be out of college for about a year and a half and most likely settled at my future job (hopefully) so there is a good chance that I can get there with vacation time and such. One big reason why I would love to attend is that I could see this as being a very interesting tournament. Japan will be wanting to bring out the big guns to regain the title, Korea will be doing their best to keep the first place position and the US will go there knowing that they always have a chance at winning. There is always strong Kendo there as these teams represent the best in the country, but it should be especially strong knowing that everyone is in an interesting position right now.

*Note - if you want to see some of the fights, you can easily go to Youtube and look at some videos there by searching anything along the lines of World Kendo Championships 2006, or you can go to Kendo World over the next few weeks to catch some of the action.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kendo Retrospection

Now that the semester is over, I think that it is a perfect time to talk about how my Kendo has been doing over the past few months.

Practicing over the summer really helped me in getting me out of my rut and allowing me to move on and fix some glaring problems. Being able to practice with different people and going through different customs kind of gives you a jolt as you try to adjust to the way that they do things. Doing this also helped me get into the semester at Purdue in full swing with little time for readjustment.

As far as practicing over the semester, it could have gone better in my eyes but I've had my highs and lows. The highlight of the semester, the MWKF tournament, while fun, could have gone better. I lost both of my matches in the first round (individual and team) so my fighting didn't really last long. I could feel the problems of me getting exhausted seconds into the match, but seeing the video allowed me to see what my problem was. I have been told over the summer that I move around too much and that I just need to worry about having those few extra inches that gives me the center. Of course, I adjusted accordingly, but there is something about actually having a visual of what you are doing that has everything come together. Who knew that one small thing could have your entire form fall apart?

There was also some other problems over the semester that I need to fix. The most important one is that I need to strengthen my wrist (or adjust my hits) because a lot of my hits have come out pretty weak. For those of you that don't know much about Kendo, you can't just bang and hit anywhere and get a point. The hits need to be strong enough to show your intent on making the hit. If the judges see that your hits are weak, then you get no score. I have ideas to fix that including buying one of those elastic bands to exercise my wrists and just doing more suburi when I can. Another problem is my reach. I can't decide who I will fight on any given day so I need to adjust my hits so that I can do correct hits based on my opponent's height. This will take some time for adjusting though but I think I will be able to do it in time. There is also a timing issue with reacting accordingly to someone's slightest movement, but I think that will just come with time, similar to being able to do faster songs and react to different patterns with time.

The practice last Thursday was an important one. We did some jigeiko that night so it was my time to try to remember all of the things that I have learned over the semester. This time around, I concentrated more on not moving so much so I can last more than 20 seconds in a match. For one, I was able to last MUCH longer this time. Instead of dying after one match, I was still going on until my right hand started hurting (I don't think I should be gripping so hard with that) which had to have been match #6 or something. Either that was a good day, or now I know just how much energy one spends just on shinai movement. After keeping my arms in a more relaxed position and not moving so much, I made what I believe were stronger and quicker hits though there are still some aspects that I need to fix in that regard.

Well, this semester was nice in regards to Kendo. Despite me talking a lot about my mistakes and stuff, I had a lot of fun during these months. I wish I could have performed better in my matches, but I can live with knowing what I need to learn. There is a tournament in April in Cleveland (maybe) that I plan on attending so I have several months to work out a lot of the kinks in my Kendo and hopefully place next time.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Feeling the educational crunch

I think that now is the time for me to rant about my educational status right now as it's kinda starting to get to me.

I am a senior now in Aerospace Enginnering and now I am starting to feel the exhaustion of all of this. After an abysmal semester last semester, I decided to try much harder this time to at least keep my GPA constant. But as a result, it's really starting to bear down on me with no end in sight.

Here are some of the things that are kinda bothering me now
- No matter how hard I try to get my homework done by Thursday night, it never happens. Whether it is my own laziness or something else dealing with school that comes my way, I always end up staying up till 4 or 5 AM on Friday morning getting homework done. The real kicker is that, as soon as I'm finished, more homework gets assigned 6 hours later.

- I've done things like reading the texts and studing a bit more and it seems like very little is coming out of it. For example, in my Aerodynamics class, no matter how hard I try with the homework, I seem to get no higher than a 30 on the homework assignments. But then, the TA does suck for the class so it probably has little to do with me other than going to the TA to see why he graded so hard.

- With each passing week comes more and more work. For example, this week, I have a test on Monday and Friday and reports due on Tuesday and Wednesday and God knows how long those will take. Keep in mind that this is on top of the stuff that I already have to do.

- Health wise seems to not be in that great of a state either. I have been needing to sleep during the day a lot more, which hasn't been an issue in the past. Even with the rest during the day, my overall tiredness is very high. My back has also been feeling very tense lately and I don't know why. I want to get a back massage, but they cost money that I don't have much of. I guess I could take more effort to ask around though for free ones. I'll take the ones with the happy endings if the girl is hot, lol. I am doing Kendo and Dance Dance Revolution, so it's not like I'm completely sedentary. I love doing these, especially Kendo, but my future outlook of skipping these for the sake of decent grades is pretty saddening.

- Family wise doesn't seem all that great either. I would love to call my family members, but it's hard to have a conversation for less than 15 minutes for anyone except for my dad. When you have this much demand for time, it causes strain in the form of not calling family for long periods of time. This also doesn't get any better when everyone is vocal about it as well.

- My friend and relationship status isn't bad, but it could be improved. Other than Kendo and DDR, there is very little time to do much else. I met some very nice people while playing fighting games with them last semester, but the constraints on time have kept me away all year. One of my goals this year was to get a girlfriend, but even time for that is short. Because of the few activities I participate in, it's hard for me to really go out and meet people all the time. There are two people that I'm interested in, but I'm not sure about one's relationship status and I haven't seen the other here all semester. You could say to just look elsewhere, but the point of this entry is just to say that I don't have time. I also get a lot of tips that my life would be better off without a girlfriend, but these are people that have had relationships. I have had 0 so it only frustrates me more to tell me stuff like that.

I have heard teachers warning us how hard college was to the point of scaring people, but no amount or any type of words can describe the experience unless you are going through it yourself. You could say that I brought this on myself by taking one of the hardest, if not the hardest, majors offered here at Purdue but I don't see it as too much of a problem. I wish I took harder courses in High school so I could have the study skills to survive here as I studied for a total of 3 hours throughout all four years there. The material may be hard, but it isn't boring me entirely so it's not TOO bad. I hope that my life improves after graduation.

Don't get me wrong because I have fun with the stuff I do and the friends I have. I just wish I could have a stress-free moment every once in a while. Everytime I do something, I have the fact that homework exists looming over my head. Christmas break better come soon cause I really don't know how much of this I can take before I go completely crazy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

2006 MWKF Tournament in Chicago

Now that I have a few minutes away from my everyday life (not really but I'm shoe-horning the time in my schedule), I can finally type a blog about the tournament this past Saturday.

The tournament was really fun. Four of us hopped into the car at around 6:15 and drove to Chicago for the tournament. We got there "on time" but the doors weren't open when we got there. As a result, the actual tournament didn't start until around 9 since the people still needed to set up. I didn't have much of a problem with it though as it gave us a little time to relax after taking the 2 hour drive there.

It wasn't just the 4 of us that went though. There was a total of 13 competing and another12 - 17 people that came to watch. This is the largest group that came to the tournament so that made me happy. It's like we had our own cheering section, lol. My parents had expressed interest in coming so they decided to fly up from Atlanta to see me fight. I was expecting them to be a little bored because there really isn't much going on, but they said that they had fun.

I expected the Mudansha division to start first as it usually is at the few tournaments I have been to. But they started from the top of the totem pole with the 3rd dan and up competitions and went down to the junior, senior and women's division. After lunch was when I finally was up.

My parents went to lunch a little early so they could be back in time to see my first match, but they ended up not making it due to lots of things going wrong with their situation. They were very disappointed, but I consoled them since I still had another match to go. Besides, I didn't do all that great either since my hits were very weak and cost me the match. I was shocked because I thought I did decently in the previous Thursday's practice in holding out well. There is something about tournaments that seem to tire me out quicker. It might have something to do with a lack of sleep and driving, but I'm not entirely sure.

After a few more hours of waiting after losing my first match, the team matches started up. Because I wasn't part of the full team, I had to pair up with Paul from Georgia Kendo Alliance and some people from Minehaha dojo in Minnesota. I always seem to have fun with this as I get to meet more people and see different styles of fighting. Our fight was against UW which Paul got the one and only point for the team. I wish that we won the fight though cause there is no better beating than getting one from Chicago Kendo Dojo team A since they are very good.

After that, the tournament run for me was over so there wasn't much to do but watch. There were some awesome matches in the final rounds so it was a nice treat to see what my potential could be if I practice for a long time. After everything was over, we did the closing ceremonies, took pictures, packed up and went home.

I was pretty dissapointed, but not surprised, about my performance. I wish that I was able to last a bit longer, but I have this thing called college that keeps me away from Kendo for a while due to having homework to finish. I have decided to do whatever I can to practice more though. Realistically, it might be a bit of trouble to bring my Kendo gear with me on the plane for the holidays so I can use that time to do some cross training with my wrist and cardiovascular system. It also wouldn't hurt to view more matches from different levels to see what to do and what not to do and to view my performance. I do have lots of video taken at the tournament, but due to lack of equipment and time to use the resources, I might have to wait until the Thanksgiving holidays to copy it to DVD and edit the video to make it pretty. I was still happy to be there though since I have met new people and put faces to the names of people on the Kendo World forums. It was also nice that my parents had fun although it didn't go as well as they wanted it to. They plan on going to the one next semester (usually in Cleveland). Hopefully I can give them a better performance by then so we'll see.

Before I go, as per a promise to myself to leave with some random stuff, I bought a heel pad which makes stomping a bit easier. My parents also bought me a hat that says Kendo on it. I have been wearing it for the past few days since it's so cold outside and I can leave and eat breakfast and go to class without fixing up my hair. My parents also bought some little Kendo hakata dolls to put around the house.

Well, I've spent long enough on this entry. For pics, if you are on facebook, they are in the pictures section on my account. For those of you that don't have facebook, I'll post a link to my flickr account as soon as I upload them there.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Big Day is Almost Here!

Today's Kendo practice was the last practice before we all head out to Chicago for the tournament. It just happened that today was the most brutal one yet as it tested our stamina more than anything.

The practice started out very differently as we were able to select the things we wanted to work on for the moment we were with our partners. This was a nice change of pace as I got to do things like dou, hiki-men and harai waza which definately need work. There are some problems with what I was doing, but there really isn't much I can do about it in a mere 2 days. For now, I just take what I have with me and do my best to win.

Now onto the most horrible part. The attacker had to constantly hit men while the receiver counted how many we did. I was definately tired after about 15 or so because I lost breath. But I did make it to 69 if I remember correctly. Of course, I was winded after that round. The practice definately wasn't over yet either since there was more waza practice and jigeiko after that. Trust me, I was totally winded at this point so I had to gather the little remaining strength I had left in me to move that shinai where I wanted to for an effective hit. After that, there was more of the constant attacking except it was with kote-men hits. I felt only slightly better before starting that up, but I was still very tired. My stubborn side did kick in and I did a total of 60 passes before having to catch my breath. After that, practice was over and I finally had time to breathe, lol.

As far as personal reflection, I definately need to take up running or something cause I didn't last as long as I wanted to out there. Sure, I did survive giving and receiving all of those hits, but it would be nice if I could last like the Kendo masters that can last 15 minute fights without showing signs of getting tired (look it up on Youtube, you will see what I mean). I also realize that I can't give up when I am tired. If my body is tired, I need to tell my body to still make those hits as crisp as if I had just started. After all, the judges don't (or shouldn't) give sympathy points. Hopefully, I can work these things out before the next tournament that occurs next semester with some diligent practice. I have decided to at least try 20 minutes of practice alone a day. If I can't do anything Kendo related, then I need to train my mind by watching videos and reading Kendo literature (w00t Musashi no Ken!) and training my body by strengthening up things like my wrist, legs, shoulders and heart. I really hope I can stick with this though cause I really want to kick ass someday.

Before I go, I have something non-Kendo related that I would like to announce. A few days ago, I got a call from Rhino Videogames asking if I wanted to work with them over the summer. I had planned on calling myself within the next few days, but actually getting a call from them has me flattered. While it's no engineering internship, it means more money in my pocket to help avoid the money troubles that I have had over the past few months.

Well, wish me luck for the tournament! I will be wishing the same for all Kendoka who will be attending this tournament or any others in the near future.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Last Night's Practice

Yesterday was another practice in a series of practices before the big MWKF tournament on Saturday.  Because I have been skipping practices due to homework and such for the past few weeks, I thought that it would be very important for me to get whatever extra practice I can get.  Of course, there are many extra things I need to work on, but I don't think I will be able to get the kinks worked out before Saturday.  If I work really hard, then I might be able to improve on them for the next tournament in the Spring, provided I can go to that one.  All I can really do now is work on stuff a bit more to prepare for the exciting day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Musashi no Ken, etcetra...

This seems like it will be a long entry since I have a lot to say. Well, let's not wait any longer.

A few days ago, I finally got my copies of Musashi no Ken in the mail from Amazon Japan. I have been looking for this manga for over a year and the answer was pretty much under my nose. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the 5th issue in the 10 part series but I have since ordered it and it should come in soon. With the slowness of my Japanese reading, I'll get the remaining manga long before I finish the second one at this rate, lol. I am enjoying the manga a lot though. There is a lot of dialect inflection here but I am getting the gist of what I am reading, which means I have made some sort of progress. I'm trying to increase my kanji knowledge to have an easier time reading manga and video games. I hope to get some more issues of Kaze to Ken which I also found on Amazon Japan, but funds are VERY short right now.

The combination of this manga and my exploits at the dojo for the past few weeks has only made my yearn for improvement increase. First of all, I need to get off of my lazy ass and start swinging that shinai in order to get things started. But I need something more. I want to practice various waza and kata to keep my ground covered. My main problem is that I have a low ceiling so that limits what I can do inside. I could go outside but I'd have to deal with rough ground. As a result, I thought about buying some tabi though I don't know if I should invest in the outdoor variety with the rubber soles or the indoor variety that's softer. I'm looking around for the answer to that, but I'll just deal with the bare feet for now. There is so much that I want to improve on but I feel that two days a week just isn't enough for me. I've never felt this way before, but it feels kind of nice.

The strangest thing happened to me at the dojo last Saturday. I was in jigeiko and I tried to hit kote. I don't remember if I hit it or not but I sure did hit something else! My shinai got lodged in my opponent's men and it launched it off of his head. It's a good thing that he came out okay though. Some blame it on the fact that he didn't tie it on tight enough but it seemed like it was the safest thing to do then since the momentum was all in the men and not transferred to the head and caused whatever damage might have ensued. We were all able to laugh it all off in the end so everything is fine.

As far as jigeiko ability goes, I need to try harder to get my speed and strength up and not make my style predictable. I want to read that jigeiko article by one of the British kendo clubs but I don't remember the name. I can find it though so it isn't that big of an issue.

I guess I should spend this time talking about my Japanese language progress. I have compeleted the last semester of Japanese that I will be taking but I don't want to stop there. I want to learn more vocabulary, but I don't want to look at lists and memorize them. As a result, I am just learining it on the way and learning Kanji compounds.

So far, I know about 300 kanji. I am going through the 3rd grade kanji list now and doing 3 kanji a day and memorizing the compounds of each. We'll see how far this will take me though. I can't wait until I get to the 6th grade ones. I don't know what I would do at that point though.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Training Epiphiny

Not sure if I spelled the word in the title correctly, but that's not the point of this post.

Over the past few days, I guess I have been having some new thoughts on my Kendo. I have known that there were glaring problems with my jigeiko for a while from people telling me and some of my own experiences.

But ever since I started at GKA, I have been having new thoughts on my Kendo. I see my problems to the point where I can see myself improving them for the rest of my life. I guess the compliments of my performance lately really helps.

For example, whenever I strike, it's too slow, not strong enough, not straight enough, not on target and stuff like that. It's not to the point of over analyzation or underconfidence, or at least I don't see it that way. I kinda see it as getting out of a plateau that I didn't know I was at.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Very hot practice

I have completed yet another practice a few hours ago. The most notable thing about it was that it was VERY hot in there. One of my friends walked out of there drenched so you can only imagine how it was with everyone in bogu. I don't remember the last time I sweated so much! It wasn't very physically demanding this time around so it wasn't too bad.

We mainly practiced a lot of waza today. I did tsuki for the second time ever today as well. I am a bit apprehensive to put any strength behind it since I am not too sure of my accuracy. The flap on the men is supposed to protect the throat from injury, but it only protects so much. For the other strikes, I need to try to finish off less "lavishly" for lack of a better term. I tend to raise my shinai high up in the air after a hit which is something that I shouldn't be doing. I have been praised for my corrections so I have an idea on what I need to do.

The practice finished off with some one-point jigeiko. I got the point for hitting men. I have noticed that I am operating a bit quicker, which is just what I want to do. But I need to take my fighing to the next level. Given I have the opening, I know I can hit the targets, but when I am fighting, I need to use harai waza and such to create openings. I need to make sure that I am faster with my hits to get the scores in. I also need to shorten my reaction time to get in a few points. I feel that I am achieving some of this in some degree, but I wouldn't consider myself totally competent in fighting. Heck, I still need to work on the agression, which should come with better endurance.

I need to make use of that suburito of mine and do some swings every day. It's supposed to be used for strength training since the feel of it and a normal shinai are completely different. But the concepts of good tenouchi still carries through. I wonder how good I would be if I did 100 suburi per day? I'll have to do it kneeling or in a horse stance since I am one of the unlucky people to not have a high ceiling.

People have been giving me good comments on my Kendo, which I am happy about. This, along with the constructive critisism during practice, is giving me more confidence in my abilities which is probably what is helping me rise to a higher level of Kendo now. Basically, whatever I am doing in practice is what I should keep on doing forever (with the necessary tweaks of course).

I wonder how good I will be when I go back to Purdue, or the next tournament for that matter. I should be able to go in with more confidence (and hopefully more agression) and get closer to my goal of placing somewhere. I also want to get my ikkyu ASAP. I was totally nervous last time, but I should be okay this time since I know the basic format of the exams.

Well, it's kinda late now so I better be getting to bed. I have a LONG day of work ahead of me!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Manga and Kendo Equipment

Well, I finally decided to make the plunge and get Musashi no Ken manga. I already have the 7th one already but I think that these are reprints so I'm getting the whole set and sell the other one on ebay. I will be missing the 5th one which is retribution for waiting so long, but I might be able to pick up the difference later. The price is pretty steep due to shipping, but this is the only way that I can get it. There are DVDs that I am interested in getting but they are well over $100 for each box set.

On the Kendo equipment side of things, I am thinking of investing in kote guards. It seems like a viable option for someone with boney wrists like mine. Pain might be part of the Kendo process but there is only so much you can take before it gets damaging. I want to do Kendo for the rest of my life and I don't want any kote hits to ruin that process. I could blame it on the kote that I own, but I don't plan on getting a new set until I graduate from college as a graduation gift to myself.

Training with GKA

It's been a week since I started with the Georgia Kendo Alliance. I must say, I am quite happy as it has breathed new life into Kendo for me. I have been training at the same dojo with the same people going over the same routine with the occasional tournament thrown in for good measure. Since I'm here, I'm going over new exercises with new people.

Doing the former isn't bad at all. But sometimes, when your Kendo feels stagnant, you just gotta go for new experiences.

After proving myslef in the beginner's practice, I was allowed to go into the advanced practices and it looks like that is where I will stay. There are a few things that I have to get used to though since things are done a little differently there like name conventions and differences in exercises. So far, I have done kirikaeshi with dou and learned tsuki for the first time.

I really hope that my Kendo reaches new heights because of this. New life has been put into this lovely activity and this should only make me go further in my pursuit to get better.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A few amazing things

There are several things that I would like to talk about, both personal and kendo related.

First things first. My sister finally graduated from the Baylor College of Medicine last Tuesday. There were a lot of people that went to see her cross the stage with her diploma. She is going into dermatology and doing her residency in Houston so she'll be there for a few more years. Another thing to note is that she is the first black person to be admitted to the dermatology residency at Baylor. So not only did she make our family proud, she made history!

Now onto the Kendo. For the past few days, I have been taking out my suburito and done a few swings while sitting and in the horse stance. I need to make sure that I am in tip top shape so I can endure longer for Kendo practices. I also went to my first practice at the Georgia Kendo Alliance. I joined the beginners group to show Arai sensei what I could do. After that, he allowed me to join the advanced class. I am so happy! Now I can continue on with my Kendo and not seem so rusty when I return to Purdue in the fall.

I also met someone off of the Kendo World forums that lives in my area. I finally met him yesterday at Kendo practice. I do hope that we can meet at some off times do practice some Kendo together. The biggest thing getting in the way is the fact that he's married with children so he can't just up and leave.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Georgia Kendo Alliance

I went to the Georgia Kendo Alliance yesterday to ask about training with them for the summer while I'm away from Purdue. I won't be able to join this coming saturday since I will be in Houston, but I should be out and about the following Saturday or so. I hope that things go well in that regard cause I want to start as soon as I can.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cleveland Tournament

The evening of April 22, 2006 ended yet another Kendo Tournament.

All in all, I could have done MUCH better. I blame it on the fact that I have had to miss practice for several weeks due to classes getting in the way. I went to one of the practices a few days before the tournament and I was about ready to pass out for some reason (I was sick a few days earlier). After the practice, I just simply put it behind me as a bad practice.

At the tournament, I was exhausted within seconds of my match starting. I tried to get hits in but the guy I was against was very aggressive and I just couldn't get strong hits in. I won my first match due to hantei and I lost my second match due to being too slow. I have a few months before the next scheduled tournament so I shall do what I can to find a way to combat aggressive people and increase my endurance so I can last longer than 10 seconds of my matches.

Ever since I have been to a tournament, I have told myself that I was going to by some random Kendo stuff. Well, I finally kept up with my word. I bought a tiny Kendo keychain and a kendo figurine in Jodan no Kamae. I wanted to buy the tiny shinai novelty item, but they ran out before I was ready to take the third plunge. Now I am officially happy. I may buy some more stuff at other tournaments, but I can't be for certain.

The tournament lasted a LOT longer than we had expected. Due to it being in a different area, there were 4 arenas instead of 6. This made the tournament longer, thus with a lot of downtime. It didn't end till about 10 or 10:30 and we had a long drive ahead of us. Google maps told us that it would take 7 hours, but it took us a little over 5 to get there.

All in all, it was an okay tournament. There was a lot of downtime in between so things got a little dull for everyone. By time the team matches were up, we were all tired. Aside from that, everyone, participant and spectator, came out with something positive (though now I am out $11.50 for the stuff I bought.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Kendo Update

Don't worry, I'm still alive.

Kendo has been in full swing (no pun intended) this semester. It's been great except for the fact that I have to keep missing practice due to either a last-minute group meeting or too much homework that night. I feel like I haven't improved much and I don't have too many opportunities to improve because of this. The good news is that I just found out that some members are getting together every Monday and Wednesday for a little extra practice on what we think we should work on. I couldn't make it to today's meeting because of a group meeting that didn't happen, but I do have plans on attending Wednesday's practice to make up for missing Thursday's test for an Aircraft Structrues exam that evening.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Kendo, School, Website

Kendo has finally started up again. I missed the first two practices though due to communication errors. Usually, we are sent an email for when the classes start, but didn't get them. I looked at the website and saw the schedule so I knew that I already missed a class. The second one I missed was because I was not feeling too well. I have no idea what it was, but I just felt like crap for 2 days.

The practice that I went to wasn't really a practice at all. It was the callout and I just went to go help out. I did have the task of showing suburi along with all the members of the club, doing a match, and talking about the tournament aspect of Kendo. It was kind of a sudden thing, so I didn't really perform as well as I should have. The explanation for the tournaments was horribly short, though I did do the job. There really isn't much to be expected of me if I have to come up with something on the fly like that. I should read more Kendo literature about tournaments just to make sure that I know EVERYTHING that is going on when I am there and what the signals the judges are giving mean.

I am not sure if this is a problem for most people, but I seemed to gravitate towards my opponent in jigeiko to get into constant taiatari. It seemed like watching a bad movie at the theater. You want to stop watching it, but you paid the money to see it so you stay and weather the repeated tourment. I was a little more agressive, but not to the point that I want to be.

I do need to go do some cross training ASAP so I can survive training and be able to perform well in the matches for the upcoming tournament. We'll see how my studies go and such, and my roomate and I have plans (yeah, right) about going to the co-rec together as motivation for getting some exercise. For now, I am riding my bike more so at least I am not just sitting around doing nothing.

On the academic side of things, I am doing a better job at keeping up with my schoolwork this time around. I am doing homework early and making sure that I don't have to do any horrible all-nighters and understanding the material by reading the book. It's a lot tougher than I thought to do this since I am taking 17 credit hours and 13 of them are all engineering/math courses.

I am also working on my website which I invite you to visit on the sidebar. It isn't much...at all. My limited CSS and HTML knowledge prevents me from making a stellar page, but I am working on that too. Maybe if I have time around summer, I can get a professional-looking page up. For now, everyone will have to deal with the yellow background/black text thing unless I decide to change it for fun.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

New Happenings

Just posting several updates to my life situation.

-My mom was laid off from work last week. She has been trying really hard to find a job years ago after she didn't like the place and felt that she was going to be laid off, yet no offers have come by. I really hope that something comes through in the next few weeks or there will be some big strains.

-Kendo hasn't started up yet, but I did set the dye. I plan on trying it on again since it should be dry after sitting in air for several days. I can't wait for practice to start up again. I really want to earn the fact that I got this new equipment!

-I just got back from a fighting game party today. There was Capcom vs. SNK 2, Guilty Gear XX, Tekken 5, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and some Street Fighter Anneversary Collection going on there. At about 11:30 some of us left to go to the bars. I got wasted yet again, but I kept my limits since I want to remember the previous night the next morning.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Back to the grind

Tomorrow, I leave the great weather of Georgia to go back to the cold weather of Indiana. More homework, more studying but most of all, more Kendo!

I do have an idea on things I can do to improve. I want to make sure that I am competetive for the next tournament in Cleveland (if I can go) and totally ready for the test.

First of all, I need to make more frequent visits to the co-rec. I am pretty sure if I run for 15 minutes or so (might just make it a mile to a mile and a half) and lift weights, I should be able to actually last in jigeiko and kakarigeiko no problem by the end of the semester. I do have plans on building a little muscle mass. I am 5'7" and 125 lbs and I would like to add a little muscle mass to it. I don't want to do too much or my kendo might suffer per what the nice folks at Kendo World has said.

There are some things technique wise that I would like to work more on. There is the hikiwaza that I want to work on. It's really hard because you have to stomp hit and kiai at the same time while moving away. The footwork is pretty hard to deal with but it's something that is extrememly necessary. I also need to work more on the do strikes. For some reason, we haven't worked too much on that particular strike and that is the one I need the most work on, clearly. But after the last tournament, we should have some more varied practices that might improve on the quality of instruction. I also need to work on keeping my back straight. It's especially the case when I go to do a hit or go backwards as a result of a hiki-waza. It's really hard to break a bad habit, but the only way that I can solve this problem is to keep that in mind as I am practicing waza. I can do it with jigeiko as well, but it would be hard.

On the kata side of things, I need to just keep doing them. For now, I can memorize the movements but I need a plan beyond that. The only way to do that is to research the meaning of each kata and clean up some technical problems along the way. I also need to learn to loosen up. Even I can feel the stiffness in my body as I carry out each kata. It might be just the fear of losing control so I stay stiff to keep my bokken from making extra movements, but it just impedes it more than it should help.

For the informational side of things, I would like to do some research on Kendo history, names, techniques, and shiai rules so I know exactly what is going on in Kendo and will be able to spout out the information to whoever wants to know it.

I got my #8000 hakama and whicking layer keikogi and suburito in the mail and it's sitting in my dorm now. I can't wait to try them on to see if they fit and use them in hard practice. For my other set, I might just sell them on ebay or to a fellow Kendo World member since I only need one set really.

For some reason, buying the new equipment makes me feel non-worthy since I don't think that my abilities don't fit with the quality of the stuff I have. The bujin bogu bag plus the equipment that I have now seems like something that someone of a more advanced or better nature would have. All I can do now is earn them by improving a great deal by improving on the things stated above as well as some smaller things that might have not popped in my head just yet.
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