Sunday, February 22, 2009

Detroit Kendo Tournament

Yeah, it's been over a week, but it's only been just now that I am not too lazy to type anything.

I participated at the Detroit Tournament for the first time about two weeks ago and, I must say, this had to be the most fun I've had at any tournament. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that I knew a large amount of people that were there through my Kendo travels over the past year. But it was fun having all the matches, making fun of each other afterwards and just generally hanging out all day.

The night before was the shinsa and seminar. Unfortunately, I didn't pass (or whatever people want to say about it if they think those words are too negative) again for Shodan, so I shall try again in Lexington and do all I can to make sure I pass next time. I felt like I did better than last time, but I guess it wasn't good enough for the testing board. After looking at the video though, I could see some places for improvement. I wasn't moving as much as I should have and did too much of that waiting stuff that has plagued my kendo for quite some time. I know one thing, maybe I might have better luck if I just stop caring about passing or failing and just show them whatever I have. Of course, that's easier said than done.

After the testing was the seminar. Takasue Sakaguchi sensei, hachidan, went over some very basic things such as how to sit in seiza and how to swing. There were a lot of points that he made, but these were the things that stood out for me the most.
  • Whenever his students get in a slump, they go right back to doing suburi. I know that when I feel like I'm in a slump, I tend to try to think about the various waza and what I am doing wrong with them. Sometimes, the simple solution is to go back to the basics to find out where your foundations are going wrong. It's definately another idea to consider on those times when you feel like your Kendo is going nowhere
  • When doing suburi, we should do better with concentrating on each individual hit. Sometimes, a lot of us tend to just go through the suburi as just a warm-up to the main event, but everything we do has some sort of purpose to our overall Kendo. I don't think there's anything wrong with the former case, but maybe we could spend more time thinking about our suburi and breaking it down, no matter what rank you are.
Afterwards, we had the joint practice which was actually an awesome experience. Because so many people were there, space was at a premium with a lot of bumping into people behind us and to the side of us. It was also a great opportunity to be able to fight with many more types of people from all over the Midwest outside of a tournament setting to get different types of Kendo. I swear that I got hit in the men from someone I wasn't fighting, which was really weird. I hope to have many more experiences like that though.

The tournament the next day went pretty well I think. I was able to make it to the third match which allowed me to fight with a fellow former Boilermaker since we happened to be in the same court. I may have lost to him this time, but I am going to make sure I put up a better fight next time. Through the tournament, I found out that my weak point seems to be defending and attacking men. I'm not really sure why, but I have a really hard time making sure I keep that center all the way through. I am most certainly going to work on that.

The team match had to be one of the more interesting kinds of matches I had. We went against Battle Creek B, which had some pretty strong players. In my match, I had tried to go for a hiki men, but tripped and almost gave myself a jougai (out of bounds). I ultimately lost to a men after trying to turn around after my dou attempt (damn that men). Otherwise, I had a lot of fun with the Cincinnati and Ohio State peeps. My only complaint was the long wait before our match. There really isn't much you can do about that though. It just happened to be us that got the short straw on that one.

I was really happy with the tournament as it was really well-organized and very fun being aroud fellow Kenshi. Of course, I go there to win and give it my all for each match but I like to have fun with it all.

If you are interested, I put the pictures I took on my flickr page. This is the first real test with my new DSLR camera, which resulted in some pictures being much better than the typical point-and-shoot digital camera. The main thing I was concentrating on was shutter speed, but I hope to learn to make use of ISO and aperture to see how they affect the pictures I take. Maybe if UC goes to Harvard this year I can concentrate more on the pictures and media due to me not being a university student (not really sure if there is that type of stipulation there). Either way, I wouldn't mind going to support the team if I can. Without further adieu, here are the pictures. I am open to any suggestions that could make my pictures better or try new things with camera features. If you happen to see this post on Facebook, there is nothing new here.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Back in the Game

Because of being sick, license plate issues and recent weather problems, my Kendo/Iaido attendance has been a little sparse. But I was able to get some good practices in once everything calmed down and the city stopped panicking.

Thursday's practice was really nice. Lately, we have been incorporating shiai geiko into the practices due to the Detroit tournament in about 2 weeks. I have been doing all I can to follow Takano sensei's instructions over the past few weeks by lowering my heel, opening up my stance and moving around to make sure I have the advantage as much as possible. The two main issues I saw was that there were times that I felt I was attacking too much with little zanshin and that I was waiting at times instead of reacting or creating the situation.

Saturday was the first time back at Miami Valley for the past few weeks, and what a practice that was. Other than the kata work at the beginning and end, it was the general practice that we always had. But each practice is extremely tough and it really exhausted me when I got home later that evening. The main thing i was working on during jigeiko was making sure I can stay on a person and trying out various waza to see how they work. Of course, going against Morikawa sensei's speed and Koizumi sensei's unreadability, that was kinda hard.

Sunday was the Iaido day. That practice, we worked a bit on basic swinging which is much different than doing kendo suburi. That is something that I have been trying to work with for a while now as I notice I always revert back to the Kendo swings. I think the only way I can really take care of that is by putting in some extra time to slowly go over things myself. Then we also spent some time working on the first part of Shi O-giri and getting that one section down. There really is a lot more than meets the eye to even the seitei kata (the only ones I've done thus far). While I would really like to experience the Shinden Ryu kata, I do realize there is a lot more for me to work on with the seitei and I'll just wait till the sensei is ready to instruct me on that.
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