I went to GKA last night and was allowed to practice with them. It was a really great experience because I actually felt like I was doing something with my life instead of surfing on the internet, watching TV, playing videogames and running family errands. My life is a little balanced now so I am able to move on. It was great meeting up with the people I haven't seen for a while and getting in some actual training.
In keeping with my promise of charting my Kendo progress, I will put down some things I noticed about my training.
- First of all, it has been about three weeks since I have done some very hard Kendo practice. In that respect, I felt a little rusty in the beginning, but quickly warmed up as practice began. I guess the small amounts of self practice really helped in at least keeping me in the swing (no pun intended) of things.
- During the free geiko, I noticed how I was able to react a bit better to someone's advancing attacks, or at least realize when I have an opening but not necessarily go for it.
- My hiki waza is okay when just practicing them one on one, but it's not so great when actually doing it while sparring. I either trip up going back or I don't have as much of the center as I thought I did and the person ends up blocking. The footwork is confusing enough as it is. Integrating the swing and the zanshin makes everything a bit harder to accomodate. Some ways of fixing that could be to be faster with movements and also not be concerned with missing. I also have the option of hiki-kote and hiki-do, which can also be useful for getting out of a jam.
- During the practice, I noticed that there were a few people that don't hit very hard. But the thing is, their hits were spot on and they showed zanshin. Of course, everyone's philosophy on what makes a point is different so I really can't say if one is better than the other. I'm not the strongest person in the world and I am continuously told that I need to hit harder and harder. While it is true that I could hit harder, maybe I can concentrate on getting effective hits in other areas. I can still use the suburito to do swings, but instead of specifically trying to whack the living daylights out of a person, I should work on using that strength to make my hits stronger in the form of being clear and crisp.
I am pretty sure that there are a few notes that I could be missing, but then I think I would be missing the point of charting my progress. I need to concentrate on the things I learned without being nitpicky about my Kendo so much. All it will do is cloud my mind as there are millions of things that I need to fix. I have years upon years to fix things so I just need to concentrate on a few at a time and move on to the next when I feel satisfied with how I'm doing them. Then I can go back to those techniques at a later date and do some more refinement when I gain some better insight to my techniques with increased Kendo knowledge and ability.