Monday, May 26, 2008

Training Notes: Pittsburgh Joint Practice

This past weekend was another one of the ECUSKF joint practices in Pittsburgh, PA. It was a nice, kendo-filled weekend full of fun and excitement as I do my best to improve my abilities whilst staying alive during these very tough practices.

The first day was mainly for the senshu in preparation for the tournament in July. It started out like the general practice and then moved on to the practical matches. I participated in three matches and won the first two. This is pretty nice since it seems to be pretty hard to win, considering you have to get judges to vote in your favor. Of course, I didn't leave it to just those wins. I could always use some tips so I went to Nagata-sensei for some afterthoughts. These were some of the points that he left me:

1) I should concentrate on going forward as much as possible and taking advantage of the position. Overall, I did a decent job with keeping maai, but sometimes I went backwards more than I should have.

2) On the subject of getting the correct maai, the opponent was able to get the correct distancing faster than me. I need to work on not only getting the maai, but getting it quickly before the other person knows what's going on.

After the practice, we ate dinner at this restaurant that was pretty expensive, but had good beer. Then we went over to a fellow kenshi's house to watch the videos. It felt strange looking at myself after the fact, but it was a great opportunity to see what I look like in a match from a different vantage point. It was pretty uneventful as most of us were tired and concerned about staying up too late for the practice the next morning.

The next practice was the general practice for everyone. There was a lot of people there for such a tiny room. The main practice included the general men, kote and kote men before moving on to a variety of oji-waza against someone doing men and kote.

After a short break, we moved on to the free practice against the highest ranked people there. I went against some people for the free practice the day before, so I made sure I went against those that I didn't get to go against the previous time. The first person was Nagata-sensei, which is always an exercise in survival. No matter what I did, my distancing was always too close or too far for a good hit. Sigh, yet another thing I need to get straight.

The practice finished off with kakari-geiko with the Sensei there...which was 7 people for 10 seconds each. It's really hard to keep going, but it was something I had to do if I wanted to improve. After that, practice was over and I got some more pointers from Nagata-sensei.

1) He said that I have improved a lot since I first met him as I have done my best to improve each point. Now the next step is to get my footwork straight by not moving the left leg and having good weight distribution. It was the only point that he gave me that day. but you don't want TOO many pointers!

Well, the tournament is coming soon so I need to take everything for what it's worth...and dry out my uniform...


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