I missed November squad so was keen to get back into it.
Unfortunately, the day didnt start well. I was late into the dojo so my mind was switched off, combined with a drop in stamina (lack of practice) resulted in me blowing after 3 rounds of kirikaeshi. I really struggled during kihon. I did manage to sort myself out for motodachigeiko at the end though.
Goodwin sensei's aim for the day was to concentrate on engaging the back leg/foot to be ready to cut at all times, while maintaining soft arms and wrists. This should present the ability to strike for ippon even if the body is bent or out of position - However, the resultant posture MUST be perfect forKi-ken-tai-ichi and zanshin. I was pretty pleased that this was our focus as i've been working footwork for the last few weeks.
During the session we performed exercises intent on engaging our back leg, sharpening our concentration and developing seme. Including basic seme-men, seme ai-me/kote and 'fighting for centre' ai-seme men. The aim was to try and cause a reaction then capitalise. Blake sensei reiterated the fact that we need to maintain centre when engaging our opponent, spinning away or running at a tangent means we are not ready to attack again.
After kihon we had an hour of motodachigeiko . This was Mano sensei's farewell visit so we had a number of sensei from around the UK turn up (including O'Sullivan and Blake sensei). I managed jigeiko against Goodwin and Starr sensei but just missed out on Mano sensei, I was next when time was called.
The second day dealt with the shiai league. I fought in five matches with varying success:
Match 1: I was against a lad who seemed pretty inexperienced. I scored a quick men then tempted him with a kote - nuki men for the second. Felt good.
Match 2 : My opponent was much wilier and my attempted seme + men attacks proved pretty ineffective. I did notice he was straying near the shiai-jo edge, so attempted to keep him penned in to worry him and maybe grab a hansoku. Didn't work... I merely switched to pushing mode which must have looked pretty shit. Bad kendo. Finished in a draw.
Match 3: The guy knew exactly how to fight taller opponents. I telegraphed and he scored two sweet degote - no complaints.
Match 4: Managed to give as much as take against a more experienced opponent. In spite of this, I switched off near the end and she moved in and took my men. Arse. My fault.
Match 5: Lost to two degote again. Strange match, dunno what to say about that one.
Overall, not a great performance again. I tried to maintain my new footwork, my left calf and arse cheek ache so I must be doing something right. Nevertheless, I found I fell back into old habits when the pressure was on. This means much more kihon before it automatically sticks.