Saturday, 5 March 2011

Practice with the squads

After another missed week of practice, this time due to stinking cold passed on kindly by the Mrs, I made it to Tuesday practice. The beginners we being trained separately so I gave the seniors a full session of kihon.

Lucky Young was present to take part of the class and explained maai for the kote, men and do. I have been taught this before by O'Sullivan sensei but it was good to run though it again.
  • Men - The individual's distance to be able to cut men in one step. This is usually where the tips of the shinai are just crossing each other. This of course depends on the height/reach of the two fighters.
  • Kote- The individual's distance to be able to cut Kote in one step. Because the kote is closer than the men, this means that the shinai the tips are barely crossing or separated from each other slightly. Again this of course depends on the height/reach of the two fighters, I can sometimes score a kote before the tips cross because I'm taller.
  • Do - Do is further from the other two targets so the starting distance is slightly closer than men. However, higher grades seem to be able to negate this by faking men while moving in, making me lift my arms and leaving the target wide open. This is something I'd like to learn myself.

While fighting Young during Jigeiko , he pointed out that I need to drop my hands a bit in chudan in order to generate more power in my cut. In addition, he noticed that i'm twisting my hips with the right side further forward. I need to fix this.

I was worried that my cold would have killed off my cardio. Perversely, I felt pretty sharp during this and my following practice on Thursday. I think its because I managed to shake off the downer I was having a few weeks ago!

During Thursdays practice Salmon sensei commented that he's enjoying his fights with me a little more as I'm starting to engage him with seme with fewer brainless attacks. It's still early days but this cheered me up a bit.

On Friday I drove over to Brunel University to join in with the 5 Nations Kendo comp warmup practice. This competition is designed for smaller kendo countries (i.e. not France!) to blood new squad members. It was good to see the guys putting on their new GB gi and zekken for the first time, they looked very proud. It made me wish I started kendo younger.... sadly there's little chance of me catching these guys up at my age.

The hall was filled with squads for GB, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, their team managers/sensei and us hangers on. Practice was with the senseis so the queues were long, I only managed three in the hour.

I didn't know any of the senseis so I picked at random. The first was a Finnish sensei called Salonen , as I queued I noticed how steady he was (no bobbing about), effectiveness of his seme and how explosive his cuts were. Very impressive. When it was my turn I gave it my best shot, I literally couldn't touch him! Seriously... the only time a managed a cut was with short uchikomigeiko at the end. He's the best I've ever fought against with the exception of visiting Japanese sensei. Only afterwards did I find out he'd passed 7th dan in Feb, he's a very young nanadan for a European.

Next was a Swiss sesnsi called Tsherter who's also a 7th dan. Tsherter sensei gave a few smiles as I fought him which put me a ease. He commented at the end i need to attack from a bit further out (agghhhh! I never learn).

My final fight was against a Japanese sensei who I forget the name off. We running out of time so after a short jigeiko I had a minute or so of uchikomigeiko.

I managed a few pics with my mobile phone so the quality isn't brilliant.

Long queues!

Senseis in action.

I'd like to end by saying good luck to all the GB squad today.

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