Saturday, September 26, 2009

Welcome back, To that same old place that you laughed about

The University of Cincinnati (UC) Kendo Club is now back in session. The first practice was actually on Tuesday but I missed that one out of my own stupidity but I did attend the Thursday practice. One thing I can say is that it's great to be back!

Usually, there is the typical shrinkage over the summer months from the people that don't return after the summer break, but that didn't really happen so much this time. That isn't to say that there will be some dropouts later as it's typical for any activity, especially a college club, but it looked good. There was a lot of energy throughout the practice which only boosted my own. I hope that this is a sign of things to come throughout the year. One thing that I can't get over is the 2 hours 45 minutes of practice time on Tuesday (and 2 hours 15 on Thursday) we have. Takano sensei made a schedule for us to follow so we have some direction on how to use said time span.

One of the things I have been working on is trying to calm down during jigeiko. This stems from the comments Matsuura sensei (and many other sensei over the years) gave me at the last national Kendo seminar. In essence, one, decisive hit will serve me better in battle than a hundred, unfocused hits. My plan is to try to loosen up my body, analyze the situation and then make my attack. My goal here is to be able to concentrate more on being a thread to the other person take advantage of their weaknesses instead of just going for something and hoping it hits.

That was the easy part. While I definitely don't have it perfect, I think I have an idea on the potential results of my actions. Unfortunately, this calming-down has yielded a few more problems of my own, mainly hesitation and over-thinking. I may be able to stand my ground, but there are some missed opportunities because I am thinking too much about the outcome and slow myself down. So now I need to bring up the aggressiveness again, but only gradually until I hit that desirable sweet spot that I can work with over time.

One big goal I have for the time being is to prepare for my nidan exam. While I'm not going to let it completely consume me, it has been in the back of my mind for a time now. I tend to get a little nervous with exams, no matter what kind of exam it is which oftentimes doesn't come out in my favor as anyone can see from my first shodan exam. I think the best thing I can do is just listen to whatever my faults may be and just fix them bit by bit. I'm pretty confident I could do well, I just don't want to crack under pressure. And even if I don't pass, the advice I get would be more relevant to my abilities for the next time I try out for it.

Now that the UC Kendo Club is back in session for the year, I am back up to 5 days of training per week. And, because of a change in hours, I may be able to bring the Iaido back up to 2 days a week at the Corryville Rec Center, though those practices happen on the same days as my Kendo practices with the Northern Kentucky club. I was able to see the results of that much practice over the past year, so we'll see what develops this year.


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