I have to admit I went for the morning practice rather than the 'serious bit', which proved a bit dry to be honest (lots of budgetary talk). The most disappointing thing I heard during the meetings is that UK Kendo membership has been falling during the last two years, this comes as no surprise considering the economic conditions. However, Kendo doesn't seem visible enough in the UK compared to karate/judo where we have some of the best competitors in the world. Its a shame really.
During keiko (which was bloody hot) I managed practice with Davis Sensei (BKA Kendo Bucho). I told him that I was grading in July and could he point out some things I need to work on. He highlighted that I'm running though too far. I need to turn quickly after a few steps then step immediately forward, thus showing positive intent. Also, footwork needs to be short but fast when running though. He also picked up that I raise my hands too high after cutting and my kiai is too quiet.
During Thursday practice I asked O'Sullivan Sensei why i'm susceptible to being skewered when I attack from distance. Other than the obvious 'taking centre' problem he suggested that I might be raising my arms too early, this opening me up and takes away the threat of the kensen thrusting towards my opponent.