After a pretty crazy week with work last week, I was able to find the time to get some action on with Kendo and Iaido.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do Iaido for long this week since I was stuck in traffic on my way there. All we did this week was spend some time over nukitsuke and noto. The problem with my nukitsuke is that I tend to try to cut before the iaito is out of the saya. For the noto, it's all about the hand positioning to increase accuracy of getting the iaito back in the saya while making sure I'm in the position to strike again at a moment's notice.
On something kinda unrelated, there has been an increase in beginners at practice which really makes me happy. I can only hope that they find out that Kendo is something that they really like and end up sticking with it. Of course, all we can do is instruct and give advice when needed and let everyone decide for themselves. No matter the end result, I like the additional people.
Tuesday's practice was pretty standard fare with Takano sensei with the general hard work. Thursday's practice was more exciting since Morikawa sensei came down from Dayton to train with us. He led the practice in typical Dayton fare which involved nearly constant movement that can have just about anyone writhing in exhaustion near the end.
Over the past week, there were two things that I have learned about my Kendo based on the advice given by Takano sensei and Morikawa sensei.
The first piece of advice from Takano sensei is that I need to learn to keep my foot down when doing Fumikomi. When I am striking, I have a tendancy to lift my foot up a little high. The rationale behind this is that, the longer your foot is in the air, the slower your strike if your timing is correct. This isn't the first time I've heard of this sort of advice, but I do notice how hard it is to really get down, especially after not giving it much thought before.
The second piece of advice came from Morikawa sensei. He told me that I seem to hit while not fully having the center or coming off to the side when I strike, like katsugi-waza. So I need to take the center and strike from the center. I'm thinking that a lot of this is coming from me trying to do more with fighting the center which, ironically, puts me off center sometimes. I'm really trying to see how to get this right while getting the opponent to do what I want them to do.
These are two very important aspects that could help with my overall speed and accuracy. My current goal is to become more competitive in the shodan-nidan division in the next kendo tournaments and get ready for the nidan exam which can happen in the next year.
Before I go, there are two notes I'd like to mention. It is kind of late, but I did post pictures of the Cleveland tournament on Flickr, which can be found either on the side bar or just by clicking the link here. Also, I would like to do some design and name changes to the blog to make it a bit more visually appealing and hopefully be able to type better notes and articles to the point where I'm happy with it. We'll see what happens with that since I'm not that much of a web designer, but would like to pretend that I am one.