First of all I visited UCL at their temporary dojo. This is located in the university gym in Bloomsbury which has good facilities and a nice floor (with the exception of a few holes). However, the room was uberhot - combined with UCLs intense kihon and a drop in my fitness, I was left shaking by the end. That was the hardest practice i've had for a loooong time, it hurt.
The practice was enjoyable nonetheless and the only downer was a big cut on the ball of my left foot when slid into one of the holes.
I also visited Wakaba which had a good turnout of dojomates. During the motodachi-geiko section of the session I asked one of their seniors (Junji) if he could help my cutting from distance. He instructed that I need to move forward from the hips, maintaining my kensen in a central position - as if I was going to attack tsuki. I should then finish the cut with a small men.
Last night I drove over to Mumeishi after work for their Tuesday training. I was a little nervous as this was the first time I visited during the week, the practice was well attended with 10-12 people including two nanadans.
Practice turned out to be a night of 'home truths'. Training with new people meant they were able to look at me with fresh eyes, they spotted many of my old habits which I thought I'd resolved and my regular dojo-mates have become used to. These include:
- Inability to build up ki during Issoku ittō-no-maai which resulted in no 'mind contact' and pointless attacks.
- Crap Zanshin.
- Not launching fast/strong enough from back foot/leg - I suspect my weight balance isn't correct.
- Leaning forward from the shoulders when cutting from distance.
I honestly thought I was getting on top of these issues but it seems I still have a way to go. I feel a little disappointed as its the same old problems of posture and distance AGAIN.
On a more cheerful note. I received my new men and kote care of Miyako Kendogu. I tested the kote at Mumeishi which require a bit of wearing in, i'll try the new men this weekend -ahh, the joys of breaking in new armour!