With the seminar and test coming up in the next week, I am doing whatever I can to mentally prepare for this monumental event. Of course, things are going a little slow as my life has been getting busier lately. To top it all off, I pulled a muscle on my back so I have been in pain for the past couple of days. While Kendo is very important to me, it's even more important to take care of myself so I can do it for as long as possible.
Because I want to take as much time to recover as I possibly can, I had to skip out on the advanced practice today. But, I was able to do the kata since it's easier on the body. I knew that I needed some more practice with Kata since it's been forever since I even did them but it wasn't until I was doing it until I really knew how out of touch I am.
I could blame some of my problems on the floor as it didn't allow the sliding to make things easier, but that would be the easy way out. As I was doing the kata, I felt a bit shaky doing it at first with some botched and confused moments. I eventually got the hang of things after some practice and a clarification to kata #3.
In the third kata, what I learned from a sempai is that the thrust the uchidachi makes should rotate the bokken while thrusting. Meanwhile, the shidachi meets with the uchidachi's advance before pulling back and moving the bokken out of the way. With this particular kata being the hardest one that I have practiced, I will take any sort of tip I can get.
Another thing I learned was about putting more Ki into my movements. For those not in the know, Ki (also called Chi) is the life force that keeps things alive and gives all living things the ability to function in life. It is said that those that learn to manipulate it correctly can achieve some superhuman feats. With Dragonball Z being one of the most popular Anime out there, the Ki that they use is referred to as Spirit Energy which gives them the ability to shoot stuff out of their hands. Anyways, back to the kata. Whether or not you believe in Ki, one can take the tip as putting more feeling into the moves you are doing by telegraphing your intent to your opponent. Of course, I don't have the credentials to go that much further about that subject. Even if I did, I would have to make another entry just for Ki. Once I took this tip into mind, I felt that my moves were a bit more solid, though I still have some work to do. In the end, this tip is a reminder to not get caught up in just performing the movements as opposed to giving them the meaning that they were intended to have when they were created.
What was really nice is that Robinson and I went through EVERYTHING in the kata including the bowing in and out. He made a good point in saying that people concentrate on the actual kata but for get the formalities. While it's nice to be able to effectively do the moves, it's better to have the opening and closing formalities correct to give the proper respect to your opponent and judges.
After the practice, I realize how much more work I have on the Kata. I have enough confidence to perform decently for the exam but, of course, I get those doubts people get before any exam. At this point, I just need to perform some more practice and keep everything I learned today in mind and I should do okay. Right now, I'm concetrating on recovering fast so I can get back in the game by Thursday's practice by taking Tylenol (I'm alergic to Aspirin and Ibuprofen which rules out OTC anti-inflammatories).