First week back after my holiday and it was hard. Thought i'd try and burn though my dip in fitness so attended the usual three training sessions during the week, with two days squad in Cardiff at the weekend.
This was the first time i've attended squad outside the southeast area so it required a night in a hotel on Saturday. We all had an evening meal together which allowed me to meet and get to know kendoka from other parts of the UK.
The theme of the weekend was kakarigeiko. Mano sensei explained that the ability to strike an open target automatically is helped by practicing kakarigeiko with full spirit, this can make all the difference during competition as it improves awareness, continuous attacking skills and fitness.
We also had practice shiai matches. I only fought once and lost to a lad 1-0 with a quick kote-men..... i'm still having trouble scoring in competition situations. However, speaking to Mano and Starr sensei afterward they explained that my main problem is poor kiai. A senior grade told me that I cut a certain ippon with good ki ken tai ichi and distance, but a feeble kiai let me down.
This made me wonder and I self analysed my kiai during my next jigeiko. The penny dropped.... I found that when I *think* I've scored ippon I kiai properly, but if I'm interrupted or feel the cut didn't connect then my kiai is weak. The problem is I'm to pessimistic when judging my success so there's always a chance I will produce a feeble kiai when i've actually scored. Mano sensei instructed that I should kiai loudly for every attack, successful or not. This will help score ippon, improve my spirit and could even persuade a shinpan to score a cut if they are 50/50 about its success during competition.
Mano sensei also warned me about my use of harai waza. I'm not using sharp movements which leaves my kensen off centre, this leaves my kote wide open for my opponent.
Overall, I found training was great. Mano sensei kept us at a high tempo throughout both days, managing to avoid us burning out too early. I practiced with some new people and was pretty happy with my performance over the two days. It was an enjoyable weekend.